CEIR Index Year-end Results Indicate Trade Show Industry Growth Slowdown

March 18, 2013

The trade show industry started off last year with strong numbers, as tracked by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research’s Index, with continued growth of 2.4 percent in the first two quarters of the year, but the third and fourth quarters saw a slowdown, with 2012 ending with overall 1.5-percent growth.

The numbers missed CEIR’s initial projections of 2.9-percent year-over-year growth for 2012, compared with 2011. Even though the last two quarter’s numbers were down, they still marked 10 consecutive quarters of growth for the trade show industry.

While the results were positive, the numbers lagged behind the U.S. government GDP estimate of 2.2 percent growth for 2012.

"We had a positive outlook during the first and second quarters of 2012, however, the exhibition industry began to slump in the third quarter and continued through the end of the year,” said CEIR Economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., Chief Economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates.

He added, “We attribute this to the well-publicized prospect of the "fiscal cliff" which substantially hurt business sentiment and willingness to incur travel expenses and ultimately hurt the exhibition industry."

All four indices that are tracked in the CEIR Index were down in the fourth quarter, compared with the third quarter.

-       Attendance, the leading indicator, slowed from 1.3 percent to 1.0 percent.

-       Net Square Feet was down from 1.2 percent in the third quarter to 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter.

-       Exhibitors slowed from 0.5 percent to 0.2 percent.

-       Revenues, which were adjusted for inflation, slowed from 1.6 percent to 1.3 percent.

Some of the sectors that the CEIR Index predicted would perform well exceeded expectations, while other sectors that were expected to struggle had lower results than expected.

The Discretionary Consumer Services and Sporting Goods, Travel and Entertainment sectors had upticks, which both rely on consumer confidence, according to CEIR officials.

The state of the economy in the U.S. and worldwide will be a main topic of discussion when trade show industry professionals gather Sept. 12 in New York City for Predict: CEIR's Annual Outlook Conference 2013.

"Inspiring confidence in an unpredictable time will guide this year’s Predict conference," said CEIR CEO and President Doug Ducate, CEM, CMP.

He added, "As the key forecasting event in the exhibition industry, the data presented at Predict will provide the industry’s decision-makers with real-time and reliable information upon which to strategize in the coming year."

Executives will discuss operating strategies including projected event growth, merger and acquisition strategies and planned launches.

New this year will be special discussion session called, "Association Nation" that examines the unique challenges leading and up-and-coming associations are facing and what they are doing to be effective and relevant for their membership in an increasingly complex and changing world.

The co-chairs for the 2014 CEIR Predict are David Audrain, CEM, president and CEO Clarion Events, North America, and Dennis Slater, president, Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

The application to attend the high-level conference and registration process is now open at www.ceir.org/predict.


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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.