Public Events Hit 5-Year Highs

Along with trade shows, public events are seeing stability and modest growth, according to a recent survey from IAEE’s Public Events Council.

“[The report] demonstrates a dramatic positive reversal in many areas from the benchmark report of 2009,” says David DuBois, IAEE president, in a statement. “And, when looking at the responses to the predictive questions, show producers’ expectations for continued growth through 2016 are high.”

Many enjoyed stable to positive bottom lines in 2013 as 95 percent of respondents say revenue increased (73 percent) or stayed flat (22 percent). Just 5 percent claimed losses, with most reporting declines of less than 15 percent. The results continue a positive trend—the percentage of respondents with revenue declines has gone down each year since 2009.

The results in attendance and net square footage were more mixed—about half of the respondents reported year-over-year gains, while another half reported the same results as the prior year—but those experiencing declines has trended downward steadily over the last five years. Only 2 percent and 6 percent suffered losses in attendance and net square footage in 2013, respectively.

Organizers continue to have to wait to fill that exhibit space however. More than 60 percent of respondents indicate that they have to wait “somewhat” (31 percent) or “substantially” (also 31 percent) longer for exhibitors to commit.

Despite the revenue gains, the number of shows reducing their workforce actually increased from 2012 (5 percent) to 2013 (9 percent). The news isn’t all bad though—45 percent of respondents did say they were able to add staff last year.

Looking ahead, about a third of the organizers surveyed believe they’ll be adding events in 2014 and 2015, with sponsorship revenue opportunities improving as the industry continues to recover.

A lot of that still hinges on consumer confidence and the general state of the economy though—in fact, it’s the No. 1 concern for respondents moving forward.

Posted by Michael Rondon

Michael Rondon is a senior editor for Expo. Reach him @Mike_Rondon or View all articles by Michael Rondon →