We have compiled data on four areas for the corporate events industry. These are general data on the industry, data on the recovery from the 2003 SARS epidemic, data on recovery from the Great Recession, and forecasts for recovery from the COVID pandemic.
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- When research found limited publicly available data on the corporate events’ industry, different terminology was used in order to drill down to the specific industry of interest. This research led us to the acronym MICE, which stands for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions. The definitions provided by theplanner.guru for these different types of events indicates that this is primarily focused on business events, and was therefore a good alternative to “corporate events.” It was also mentioned that there has been a push in the industry to use the term “meetings industry” rather than “MICE market,” so that was also encompassed into our research.
- In 2018, the global MICE market was estimated to be $860 billion, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of between 7 and 8% through 2023. This report was published in 2019 and therefore all projections were based on pre-COVID conditions.
- The estimates and projections above were very similar to those in another report which estimated the MICE market size to be $805 billion in 2007, with CAGR of 7.6% from 2018 through 2025.
SARS 2003 Recovery
- During the 2003 SARS epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not recommend canceling meetings and events that included “travelers from areas affected by SARS.”
- Beginning in 1993, the Covention Industry Council, renamed the Events Industry Council in 2017, began publishing the Economic Impact Study for the meetings and events industry in the U.S.
- According to the 2004 report, the MICE industry in the U.S. “generated $122.31 billion in total direct spending in 2004.” Although we could not find the 2003 report online, an article from Hospitality Trends stated that the direct spending for the industry in 2003 was $119.09 billion, which seems to indicate there was very little impact on the industry due to SARS, at least in the U.S. The increase in direct spending from 2003 to 2004 was 2.7% [(122.31–119.09)/119.09*100].
- An article published in 2008 shared data on the historical annual exhibition demand growth in the U.S. and Canada from 1972 through 2007. In 2001, after about a decade of growth, demand for net square feet (NSF) of exhibition space decreased by 1.5%, the number of exhibiting companies decreased by 2.7%, and the number of attendees decreased by 5.8%. This trend continued in 2002 with decreases in all three areas. However, in 2003, while NSF decreased by 0.4%, both exhibiting companies and attendees increased, which could indicate that SARS did not have a significant impact on the industry.
- According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), there were 8,422 cases of SARS worldwide, with 916 deaths. The countries most impacted were China (5,327 cases), Hong Kong (1,755), Taiwan (665), Canada (251), and Singapore (238). The relatively low number of cases worldwide may explain why there appeared to be little impact on the events’ industry. However, although this number is not specific to the events’ industry, Hong Kong did have many hotels with a 10% or below occupancy rate in March and April 2003, compared to the more typical 86% usually seen at that time.
2008 Recession Recovery
- In 2009, the Conventions Industry Council moved from producing the Economic Impact Study to periodically producing the Economic Significance Study. This new format contained primary survey research for the first time.
- Data for 2009 indicated that direct spending in the industry that year in the U.S. was $263.44 billion. Of this amount, $150.67 billion was related to meetings and other commodities, while the remaining $112.78 billion was for travel and tourism related to the events.
- In early 2017, Convene Magazine published their Annual Meetings Market Survey. This was the 26th such report, and in it they looked at data from 2007, just prior to the U.S. recession, to 2016. This provided some data points to determine how the meetings’ industry was impacted by the recession. Of note, this survey is U.S. based and 59% of respondents work for associations, while only 20% work for corporations.
- In 2007, the yearly average convention/meeting budget of respondents was $1.1 million, which increased to $1.7 million in 2008, and then decreased in both 2009 and 2010 to $1.3 million and $1.2 million, respectively.
- Average attendance was also compared in the survey, and it went from 4,400 in 2007 to 3,744 in 2008; 4,409 in 2009; and 4,409 in 2010. This does show a dip in attendance in 2008 but there is no analysis of the reason.
- There was no significant difference in the number of exhibitors from 2007 to 2010 for events that had an exhibition.
- A report from Phocuswright published in 2011 reported that, in the U.S., spending in the corporate groups and meetings industry declined almost 30% in 2009. The majority of this report is behind a paywall. However, an extensive highlight report can be accessed with registration.
- Finally, although we were not able to access the report in its entirety (the link was broken), the International Association of Conference Centres (IACC) reported in the 2015 edition of “Trends in the Conference Center Industry,” that the corporate meeting industry had finally recovered from the Great Recession. Based on this reporting, it appears to have taken several years for the industry to fully recover.
- The Incentive Research Foundation reported that pre-recession revenues in the U.S. were not reached until 2011.
- Prior to the pandemic, Allied Market Research estimated that the U.S. corporate event market would grow by a CAGR of 18.5% from 2019 through 2026. Allied conducted an analysis of the impact of COVID on the industry, but it was, unfortunately, behind a paywall.
- A report from SpendEdge, published in September 2020 and including impacts from COVID, estimated that the CAGR over the next five years in the global meetings and events industry would be 6.34%.
- In 2019, the U.S. B2B trade show market was valued at $15.58 billion dollars, and is projected to drop to $5.56 billion in 2020. Projections through 2024 show that the industry will not recover to 2019 numbers by then. Although this only represents the trade show market, and not the corporate meetings market in its entirety, it is instructive to see the impact on this segment.
- According to a report by McKinsey, business travel related to “industry conferences, trade shows, exhibitions, and events” will be the slowest to recover after the pandemic. The availability of a vaccine will likely bolster confidence in attending these types of events.
- A report from the Incentive Research Foundation indicates that they don’t expect the MICE industry to fully recover for a minimum of 18-24 months. Based on the importance of a widely available vaccine to the industry getting back to normal, some experts predict pre-COVID revenues will be reached in late 2022 or early 2023. The impact of COVID on the travel industry, part of which is due to corporate events, has exceeded the impact from 9/11 and the Great Recession.
- Many events that were postponed due to COVID were originally rescheduled for the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2020, but now have been pushed to 2021 and 2022.
- A survey conducted in June 2020 of meeting and event planners, not necessarily those only in the corporate meeting space, found that 35% of them, the largest percentage, said they would be ready to attend events with 100 or more people in the 1st or 2nd quarter of 2021.