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Significant Growth Forecast for North American Conference Center Industry; PKF Consulting's Conference
Center Trends Report Sees Turnaround


Philadelphia.  May 24, 2004  -  PKF Consulting and the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) forecast growth in occupancy and RevPAR for North American Conference Centers through 2004 and into 2005.  The findings are contained in the 2004 North American edition of the recently released Trends in the Conference Center Industry, a Statistical and Financial Profile for 2003, produced by PKF Consulting and the IACC.
"The level of booking activity for most markets in the fourth quarter of 2003 was substantially greater than in the prior year and greater than in any other quarter of the year, and early returns for 2004 indicate that this increased level of activity is being sustained," according to PKF Consulting Executive Vice President David E. Arnold, who oversaw the study. 
The 80-page Conference Center Trends report deals with both residential and non-residential centers   Sections within the report cover rates, occupancy, market segmentation, human resources, sales and marketing, and measures of meeting space utilization.  The report presents revenue and expense details for each of the four major center types: executive, corporate, resort, and university conference centers.

In his introduction to the report, Arnold makes a number of key points about the current state of the conference center industry, among them

  • 2004 will have significant growth in occupancy and, once achieved, subsequent rate growth in 2005, to where an average growth in RevPAR of 3-4 percent will occur over the next few years,
  • Although centers are not likely to achieve the margins of 1999 for several more years, we are still far ahead of the average NOI percent of total revenue for the last 20 years.
  • The recovery thus far appears to be more "coastal" than nationwide, but the Central States should not be far behind.
  • A few high value asset sales occurred during 2003, which indicates that investors and the capital markets are experiencing a revived confidence in the conference center business.
  • GDS on-line discounting has started to affect the conference center business in a variety of ways, although not as severely as for hotels.
"Most importantly," Arnold says, "the recovery has taken hold and most meeting planners that we have spoken with recently believe that their activity will increase this year due to both improvement in the economy and pent-up demand for training and management development meetings."

Copies of the IACC/PKF Consulting Trends in the Conference Center Industry, a Statistical and Financial Profile for 2003 can be obtained by contacting Claude Vargo (404) 842-1150 ext. 237, or  Cost is $300 for IACC members, $350 for non-members.

PKF Consulting is an international consulting and real estate firm specializing in the hospitality industry.  PKF Consulting affiliates are the Hospitality Research Group and the PKF Capital Markets Group. The firm has offices in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.


David E. Arnold
Executive Vice President
PKF Consulting
8 Penn Center Plaza
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 563-5300

Robert Mandelbaum
Director of Research Information Services
The Hospitality Research Group
3340 Peachtree Road, Suite 580
Atlanta, GA 30326
(404) 842-1150, ext 223

Also See: Hotel Appraisals Becoming More Difficult in Face of Demands to Value Intangible Assets / Lawrence E. Henry, MAI / May 2004
2003 U.S. Hotel Profit Loss To Be Reversed in 2004; Expense Creep and Control Influence Profitability / May 2004
PKF Consulting/HRG Survey Forecasts Banner Year for Hotel Transactions; Investors Favoring the Full-service Segment / May 2004
Hotel Utility Costs; Surge Protection Is Needed / PKF Consulting / March 2004
Managing Hotel Labor Costs / PKF Consulting / February 2004
Demand in the Full-service Hotel Sector is Expected to Increase by 6.3% in 2004; Best and Worst Hotel Markets in Terms of RevPAR Growth / PKF Consulting / January 2004
First Uptick for Hotel Industry in Three Years; Full-Service Hotels Lead the Way In U.S. Hotel Profits for 2004 / Hospitality Research Group / March 2004

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