The Economic Value of Face-to-Face Meetings

Last week, I had the pleasure to attend a MPI meeting where Roger Rickard was the keynote speaker. He spent most of his talk relaying the findings of a landmark study called "The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy" which was commissioned by PricewaterhouseCoopers and made possible through the help of 14 Convention Industry Council members, including MPI. This blog is dedicated to the findings of the study, of which Roger shared should have a positive impact on meeting venue marketing efforts as long as we continue to promote the message.

It is estimated that 1.8 million meetings, trade shows, conventions, congresses, and incentive events take place in the United States each year, of which: 

  • 72% are corporate or business meetings
  • 21% are conventions or conferences
  • 5% are incentive meetings and
  • 2% are trade shows
  • 85% of these meetings are conducted at venues with lodging
  • They generate 250 million room nights per year
  • 205 million people attend these meetings
    • 79% are attendees
    • 12% are event staff, media, or other providers
    • 9% are exhibitors 
  • The average meeting size is 114
  • 117 million people or 57% travel more than 50 miles or stay overnight
  • 83 million people or 40% travel less than 50 miles or do not stay overnight
  • 5 million people or 3% are international travelers

These 1.8 million meetings, generate $263 billion in direct spending of which attendees, meeting staff, and exhibitors spend:

  • 46% on registration fees
  • 17% on accommodations
  • 13% on food and beverage
  • 9% on air transportation and
  • 3% on gasoline

The 1.8 million meetings, create directly 1.7 million Jobs, which generate

  • $60 billion in labor income
  • $14.3 billion in federal tax revenue
  • $11.3 billion in state and local tax revenue

"As the nation grapples with effective ways to work its way out of a recession, the meetings industry plays a critical role in supporting jobs in communities across America, creating environments that foster innovation, consensus, and business success, said Karen Kotowski, Executive Director, Convention Industry Council.

"The results of our comprehensive research demonstrate the significance of the meeting industry as a major contributor to the U.S. economy," said Robert Canton, Director of Convention & Tourism Practice, PwC US. 

In summary, meetings mean:

  • Hospitality-Related Jobs, including for Destination Marketing Organizations
  • Education for the attendee that cannot be completed over the Internet
  • Revenue for venues, associations, and the government
  • Spending by corporations, attendees, and exhibitors
  • Networking among attendees
  • Booking hotel group business to increase occupancy rates, ensure a stable labor force, and give the client the best possible rate.

"Meetings are how business gets done in virtually every state, city, and town in America," said Kotowski. "They represent the definition of working together and are essential to help win our (the meeting industry's) future."

Download the Cvent Hospitality whitepaper, for  tips on earning meeting planner's group business and win the opportunity to meet them face to face!

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