CHICAGO — Conference venues are doing good business, according to the 2016 edition of an IACC report, Trends in the Conference Venue Industry, released in late September.
“The industry growth theme of the last four years continues. This comprehensive trends report, the only one that focuses on small meetings-focused venues industry-wide, indicates that IACC members have improved revenue, occupancy, rate and profit over the previous year. For the second year running, significant strong performance was seen from IACC’s corporate meeting venue operators,” said IACC CEO Mark Cooper.
“Corporate conference venues delivered the strongest results, which suggests a return to investing in training and meetings for large organizations operating their own conference venue for internal meetings. We see this as an encouraging trend that will benefit the wider industry, suggesting greater business confidence and future growth with commercial venues,” said Cooper.
“Complete Meeting Packages (CMP) are a key differentiator between IACC venues and non-IACC meeting venues and like ADR, the CMP rates are continuing to improve, as they have done consistently and steadily over the last four years. As well, college/university meeting venues reported modest growth.”
Participation from day meeting venues is providing valuable data on what is a growing member category for IACC. The Average Daily Rate (ADR) for Corporate Conference Venues rose 4.5% to $108.23.
Last year, IACC members predicted positive occupancy growth and this was born out with a 1.7% occupancy growth year over year, and university/college properties reported a 7.5% increase in annual occupancy year on year.
Reporting on direct and third-party business mix was a new feature in last year’s trends research, with this year’s report being the first full year of reporting with a year over year comparison. Direct bookings vs. third party-initiated bookings were slightly higher at 86.5% vs. 83.3% reported last year.
“As the meetings industry continues its recovery for the fourth year, IACC is seeing increased investment in new-build, meetings-focused venues as well as capital investment in existing venues looking to be at the forefront of meetings innovation,” said Cooper.
The trends research showed through the distribution of occupied rooms by market segmentation, that aggregate conference business increased from 59.6% to 69.9%, with the meeting industry recovery displacing commercial transient business and other types of business taken to fill inventory during periods of lower conference demand. Digital marketing and online marketing were the most productive sources of qualified leads for IACC venues.