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European meetings increasing, but becoming shorter and smaller

Meetings in Europe are increasing in number, but becoming shorter and smaller, according to a new report by European Cities Marketing.

The ninth edition of ECM Meetings Statistics Report reveals that European cities hosted more meetings in 2018, but with fewer participants and shorter duration. With statistics drawn from a sample of 41 cities, ECM’s new report is recorded more than 56,000 meetings in 2018.

Overall, there is a growth of 2.9 per cent in the number of meetings between 2017 and 2018. However, the number of participants decreases by 3 per cent and number of participant days goes down by 5 per cent. This implies that, in average, there were more meetings in 2018, but welcoming fewer participants and lasting less time.

This year’s report shows a similar division of national and international events among the two segments (corporate and non-corporate). Compared to 2017, there is a slight decrease in the number of corporate meetings and a 12 per cent decrease in terms of participants whereas the non-corporate segment demonstrates an increase in number of meetings (10 per cent) and participants (5 per cent). Trends this year also show that smaller corporate meetings are increasing and unusual venues are becoming more popular.

Petra Stusek, European Cities Marketing President, said: “In the bigger picture, international meetings and events have become instrumental for destinations – cities and nations – to manifest their business clusters, their science and research communities and their cultural scene for global audiences. Meetings do give much more to our cities and the greatest value arising from meetings is not only numbers but also the benefits beyond simply spending-based impacts: the quality of the professional, business, academic outcomes they deliver. It is no longer just about the hotel bednights that the meetings generate. It is about hosting the meetings with purpose and legacy. It is about connecting the destination to the world.”

The ECM Meetings Statistics Report 2018-2019 is the culmination of the collective effort of industry representatives who have pooled resources, collected data, shared information and provided case studies during conferences, meetings and through ECM research newsletters. Some cities started to collect meetings statistics as a direct result of this ECM initiative. ECM and its Research & Statistics Knowledge Group is committed to using this project as a way of continuously improving the collection and analysis of meetings statistics.

Published yearly, the report is a result of the cooperation between European Cities Marketing and its member cities. The main goal of the study is to go further than the current rankings published by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and the Union of International Associations (UIA), which focus only on international non-corporate meetings with specific criteria. The ECM Meetings Statistics Report presents figures on corporate and non-corporate meetings whether they are national or international events.