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February 10 2014

Calculating The Real Value Of The Meetings Industry

By Carolyn Clark



As the meetings industry works to articulate the true value of face-to-face conferences, the Convention Industry Council has released a new study that highlights just how much meetings mean to the United States economy. “The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy” offers a comprehensive look at what all those attendees, sessions and hotel rooms mean to the public. Spoiler alert: the findings are very impressive.

PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted the research as a follow-up to the first-ever economic impact study, which relied on data from the industry in 2009. The updated report uses 2012 figures, and it shows just how much the post-recession climate has helped the industry. Participant volume increased by 10 percent, and meetings’ contribution to the overall GDP increased by nearly nine percent. As spending has increased, employment has picked up, too. The meetings industry gave nearly 1.8 million people jobs in 2012.

SEE ALSO: Why The Meetings Industry Is Stepping Up To Bat

“These numbers paint the real portrait of what meeting professionals mean to the bigger picture,” Deborah Sexton, President and CEO, PCMA, says. “As we bring attendees together to learn, network and share ideas, we’re also delivering real bottom-line impact for the rest of the country.”

“The meetings industry stretches well beyond the four walls of a convention center ballroom or a hotel,” Sexton adds. “This report shows that our industry is absolutely vital to the continued recovery of the U.S. economy.”

More People Favor Face-to-Face

In addition to the dollars and sense behind the report, the dramatic increase in the number of attendees is great news for planners who worry that virtual technology may create stumbling blocks for their face-to-face registration numbers. Digital meeting tools are making great strides, but it’s clear that business professionals crave in-person connections. In 2012, there were nearly 225 million participants at meetings. That’s approximately 20 million more than 2009.

Adding Up The Impact

The full report includes quite a few numbers. To help you respond the next time your friends or family can’t fully understand what being in the meetings industry means, here’s a look at some of the most compelling statistics:

  • 1.83 million - the number of meetings held
  • $280 billion - the direct spending the industry spurred
  • $115 billion - how much meetings contributed to the U.S. GDP
  • $28 billion - what meetings meant for federal, state and local taxes
  • $164 billion - how much participants spent due to meetings

SEE ALSO: Scientific Proof For The Power Of Face-To-Face

Interested in learning more about how much your meeting means to the economy? Click here to read the complete executive summary from CIC.

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