MPI research reveals delegate spend worth £40bn to industry

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MPIThe Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Foundation revealed the latest findings from the UK Economic Impact Study (UKEIS) at International Confex this week, highlighting that over 1,301,600 meetings took place in the UK and attracted 116.1 million attendees who spent just under £40 billion. Over half of the attendees came to consumer shows and exhibitions, nearly 40 per cent attended conferences.

The project is led by the MPI Foundation, whilst the research has been undertaken by researchers at the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality (ICRETH) at Leeds Metropolitan University on behalf of the UK meetings industry. The research team from the ICRETH reviewed published reports and other secondary data from 2011 and analysed over 3,460 survey responses.

The research found that meetings took place in 10,127 meeting venues across the UK – 27.7 per cent were large hotels (more than 50 rooms) with meeting facilities. Almost 20 per cent were classed as unusual, unique or special event venues and 14.2 per cent were purpose built convention or exhibition centres.

On average meeting organisations staged 147 events in the year. Over 81 per cent of meetings were held for the corporate sector, 6.3 per cent of meetings were for associations, 5.2 per cent for non-Government and not-for-profit organisations and four per cent for Government and public service organisations.

Sixty-four per cent of meetings were classed as small meetings with fewer than 100 attendees; nearly 30 per cent were for between 100-500 attendees and six per cent attracted more than 500 attendees.

The average length of a meeting was two days. Over half (53.8 per cent) of meetings in the UK in 2011 were a single day or less in length. Most meetings happened in March and April (272,926) while far fewer meetings happened in December (46,346). Within England, the Greater London region hosted the most meetings (362,500) followed by the South East (163,349) and the West Midlands (143,210). In other home countries, Scotland hosted most meetings (86,524), Wales hosted 75,802 and Northern Ireland hosted 20,447 meetings over the year.7

The findings were introduced by MPI Foundation International Board member and MCI Group vice president – industry relations, Patrick Delaney who commented: “The level of detail provided by this research is truly fantastic, particularly the regional and city specific information, which allows us to develop a clear picture of the sector within this country.  Ours is a growing industry, these figures show its current scale and set the benchmark for the future.”