Conference centers weathered the economic downturn due in large part to their business-focused, budget-friendly model. And now that the economy is on the upswing, the corporate demand for conference centers is rising right along with it. The International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) estimates that 70 percent of conference center business is derived from corporate meetings and events, according to its CEO, Mark Cooper.
This proportion of overall conference center bookings has been consistent, even indicating a new resiliency as the economy and the meetings industry as a whole continues its recovery. What the past 18 months have shown is a small but notable uptick in business, reversing trends of corporate meeting sluggishness and meeting budget cutbacks that had stymied the corporate meeting conference center business since 2008, the beginning of the economic downtown.
“In 2012,” Cooper observes, “members reported a 7.3 percent increase in occupancy, a clear sign that meetings and conference business was improving. Rates improved marginally as well, showing 5 percent increases on 2011 rates, supporting the view that the meetings industry has turned a corner. The improvement in top-line sales and bottom-line profitability is a clear sign that the industry is benefiting from the wider economic recovery and returning to a stable and improving global economy.”