(Bloomberg)—The US convention business recovered further in the second quarter after getting hit during the pandemic, according to a report from a research group.
The Center for Exhibition Industry Research’s CEIR Total Index, a measure of convention business activity, was in the second quarter about 25.5% below 2019 levels, according to a forthcoming report the group shared with Bloomberg. In the first quarter, it was 37.9% below pre-pandemic levels, and in the second quarter of 2020, it was 100% below.
The figures bode well for cities and states that are pouring money into convention centers now in an effort to attract more exhibition business. At least 35 of these projects are underway, Bloomberg reported in March, and they are attractive to local governments because they can bring in revenue tied to areas like hotel taxes and sales taxes.
The group now expects its Total index in 2023 to be about 10% below 2019 levels, and in 2024, to be about 3.5% above 2019. The CEIR Total index tracks how much space conventions are using, how many people attend, the number of companies exhibiting and revenue. It focuses on business-to-business events.
In addition to volume having picked up this year, the cancellation rate is falling, reaching 2.0% in the second quarter from 9.2% in the first.
“Easing inflation and moderate economic growth ahead should lay a firm foundation of support to the [business-to-business] exhibition industry,” said CEIR economist Allen Shaw in a statement. “The B2B exhibition cancellation rate should remain extremely low, and the performance of completed events will continue to improve.”
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