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Trends® in the Conference Center Industry 

The International Association of Conference Centres (IACC) has released the 2015 edition of "Trends® in the Conference Center Industry." According to IACC CEO Mark Cooper, "For the third year running, this comprehensive trends report, the only one which focuses on small meetings-focused venues industry wide, indicates that IACC members have improved occupancy and rates are stronger than the previous year, significantly so for IACC’s corporate meeting venue operators."

Cooper continued, "Corporate meeting venues lead the recovery with the highest Average Daily Rate (ADR) and Revenue per Occupied Room (RevPOR). Given the package plan represents 90% of this group of IACC-members’ business, it can be assumed that corporate customers are investing significantly in training and meetings and in their use of member venues.”  

Participation from day meeting venues in this survey has increased and is providing valuable data on what is a growing member category for IACC.  The average External Day Meeting Rate rose significantly to $105.  

Last year, IACC members predicted a bumpy ride, business wise, and this proved to be the case with the economy experiencing some setbacks and earlier improved earnings faltering later in the year.  This year, all venue types have predicted positive occupancy growth, with corporate venues forecasting the greatest improvements by year-end. Conference Centres with over 200 guest rooms are projecting +6.5% in annual occupancy over last year.  

Cooper highlights developments to this year’s trends report, with the addition of a 9-year trends analysis for key metrics, including ADR, occupancy and net operating incomes (NOI).   

Reporting on direct and third party business mix was also among the new features in this year’s trends research.  Cooper also explains how the 2015 trends report includes a high-level overview with an infographic style presentation, which can easily be reviewed with and quickly understood by venue department heads and associates.  

"It is encouraging to see another year of improved performance and we are seeing clear signs that this important sector of the meetings industry is being invested in by member customers. We are also seeing a greater number of our members attending learning events and conferences, as they invest in education and innovation, which will result in a skill-enhanced workforce to prepare for increased demand within the small meetings segment in the coming year," said Cooper.  

The trends research showed that resort meeting venues achieved the greatest increase in Complete Meeting Package (CMP) rates, showing a 2.6% increase over the previous year.  Executive conference venues had forecasted a 5.9% increase in conference package rates in 2015 and resort venues a 3.4% in CMP rates. 

Day meeting venues reported a 12% increase in package rates, which include room hire, technology and food and beverage.  IACC conference hotel venues with 200 or more guestrooms have reported, so far this year, a 6.5% increase in occupancy, outperforming their comparable resort member properties.   

In this survey IACC members reported that digital marketing accounted for the same number of qualified sales leads as for personal sales calls. 

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