Hotel Online  Special Report



Strong Rebound in Both Demand for Convention Center Space
and Convention Center Event Attendance Since 9/11 
TAMPA, Florida, October 13, 2006 – According to the results of its annual survey of North American convention centers, PricewaterhouseCoopers reports that demand from conventions and trade shows continues to rebound following industry-wide declines from 2000 through 2002.  

Convention center events experienced an increase of over 2 percent from 2005 to 2006, following a significantly higher increase of 16 percent in the prior year.  Smaller convention centers (those with less than 100,000 square feet of exhibit space) led other size categories, with a 17 percent increase, while demand at medium centers (100,000 to 500,000 square feet) added 6 percent, and the largest halls (greater than 500,000 square feet) were stable, following a significant 19 percent increase in the prior year.  Convention and trade show occupancy rates at the largest halls remained strong, at 44.4 percent, topping last year's 43.9 percent rate, with other size centers also showing improvement.

Growth in attendance at conventions and trade shows outperformed the demand for space, with all centers reporting a combined 3.2 percent increase over the prior year.   The largest centers had the strongest attendance growth, with nearly a 9 percent increase over the prior year.  

Convention Center Occupancy Rates
From Conventions & Trade Shows
(Public/Consumer Shows Excluded)
“The increase in convention center performance over the past three years reflects a positive outlook in the industry for events and attendance,” said Robert Canton, a director in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Hospitality and Leisure practice.  "Our research continues to show that, despite rising energy prices and continued concerns about travel, the industry has experienced a strong rebound in both demand for space and event attendance since 9/11, and this turnaround is expected to continue.”

Following nearly two decades of growth, the period between 2000 and 2002 saw significant declines in demand for convention centers.  During that time, several large technology events associated with the “dot-com” era ceased to exist and many others downsized as a result of general economic conditions and the reduction in travel following the events of 9/11.

“It appears that many convention centers are already generating demand at or above their pre-9/11 levels.  A review of convention centers that responded to both our 2000 and 2006 survey indicates that over 60 percent are currently generating greater levels of demand for exhibit space than they did in 1999-2000,” said Canton.

Please note:  the Year referenced in the chart corresponds to the most recent 12-month period as reported by centers.  Therefore, the PwC 2006 Convention Center Report presents information for some centers as of 12/31/05 and others as of 6/30/06.

About PricewaterhouseCoopers
PricewaterhouseCoopers ( provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its clients and their stakeholders.  More than 130,000 people in 148 countries across our network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice. “PricewaterhouseCoopers” refers to the network of member firms of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited, each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.

Also See: Conference Centers in the U.S. Saw Financial Fortunes Turn Around in 2004 after Three Consecutive Years of Declining Revenues; Estimating 9% Increase in Conference Attendance in 2005 / PKF / May 2005
Planners to Arrange More Meetings, Have Increased Budgets in 2006 / HSMAI Survey / March 2006

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