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With three years of extensive input from AIPC members all over the world and a new approach that enabled a comparison of both regional perspectives on key issues with those held by the global group as a whole, the AIPC Annual Member Survey has delivered a highly detailed insight into convention centre issues and prospects world-wide. The report, carried out in collaboration with Michael Hughes of Red 7 Communications, was previewed at the AIPC Annual Conference in Amsterdam earlier this year and is now available in final form to AIPC member centres.

“The industry is not yet where most of us had hoped it would be even a year ago, and this is largely due to on-going global economic challenges that are beyond our control”, said AIPC President Edgar Hirt “At the same time, we are showing reasonable progress under what for many are adverse conditions, which is a testament to the resilience of the industry and the creativity that many centres have shown in adapting to new conditions and exploring alternate business models”.

Entitled “The Road to Recovery”, this year’s survey presentation took an additional step forward with the inclusion of results from surveys by other industry sectors which provided a “reality check” for the AIPC data which is gathered entirely from AIPC member centres. What this comparison showed was that the insights and predictions of centres are largely consistent with those of other parts of the industry although they vary based on the mix of business for any centre and the regional variations seen in the results as a whole.

Key findings from this year’s survey included;
That while the general sense in most parts of the world was that prospects for economic recovery were still elusive (and actually declining in some areas), centres were still achieving reasonable growth with an average 5.7% growth in gross revenue achieved in 2011 and a further 4.7% anticipated for 2012;
That in terms of economic recovery, there were essentially “two worlds” with just over half of respondents (56%) referencing a “moderate to strong” recovery and just less than half (44%) seeing “weak to no recovery” or actual recession;
That while just over two thirds of centres were reporting strengthening pricing for space vs. five years ago, that same number were acknowledging that they were engaging in more subvention activities to retain business;
That more centres are now engaged in renovations of existing facilities than pursuing expansions or new builds, reversing a multi-year trend and illustrating the challenges of finding major project funding in many areas.