This Just In

Rising Costs Continue to Impact Trade Show Industry, According to Global DMC Partners


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Global DMC Partners (GDP) releases a Meetings & Events Pulse Survey twice a year focused on what is driving decisions in the global meetings and events industry. Now that the first quarter of 2024 is a wrap, where do these predictions stand?

Rising costs were a concern the survey mentioned, and organizers are employing different strategies to offset this.

“With nearly all aspects, from airfares to F&B, increasingly getting more expensive, planners are required to be more creative with the ways they spend their budget,” Global DMC Partners President and CEO Catherine Chaulet said.

Approximately 37% report that they frequently opt for different destinations based on price.

Second-Tier Cities on the Rise

This trend continues. ​​According to data services provider Knowland, second-tier cities continue to dominate. Take Louisville, KY. Its events business grew by 67.2% in February compared to last year. This high year-over-year event volume growth was common to two more regions, which Knowland considers secondary markets. Colorado Springs, CO, experienced 66.8% growth, and Greensboro-Winston Salem, N.C., grew 65.7%.

Another finding stated that some planners are struggling with event attendance with only 36% reporting more attendees at their in-person events.

Emerald doesn’t fall into that percentage. “We are pleased to report that Emerald’s events in the first quarter of 2024 have performed exceptionally well, with many of our events exceeding attendance targets year-over-year and some even breaking pre-pandemic records, which demonstrates the resilience and growing enthusiasm of our audiences,” Hervé Sedky, President & CEO, Emerald, said.

“Despite industry challenges, highlighted in the Q2/Q3 2023 Meetings & Events Pulse Survey, Emerald’s success in the early months of this year reflects positive trends observed across the exhibition industry. We remain deeply optimistic about the opportunities in 2024, with our team dedicated to delivering exceptional experiences that cater to our attendees and exhibitors’ evolving needs and interests,” Sedky added.

Related. CEIR Q4 2023 Index Shows Continuing Strong Improvement 

Sustainability Takes on Added Importance

Compared to the report from one year ago, 20% more organizations are now building sustainability goals into their travel, meetings and event programs. Seventy-eight percent of international respondents report that they build sustainability into their programs with 44% of U.S./Canadian respondents reporting the same. Reducing plastic usage and waste is reported as the top sustainability goal for most organizations’ meetings and events, followed by using locally sourced food options and carbon tracking and offsetting.

Sustainability can also be a factor in determining the destination for a meeting or event with 50% reporting that sustainability can sometimes be a factor and 30% reporting that it is a factor in choosing a destination for upcoming programs.

“The exhibition industry is an excellent platform for showcasing our commitment to sustainability, and in line with the evolving priorities of the industry, Emerald has made sustainability a key element in all our events. As a proud participant in the Net Zero Carbon Events pledge, Emerald is committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, with an interim goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030,” Sedky said.

“In addition to environmental benefits, sustainability also makes good business sense. Our customers and stakeholders increasingly expect us to be environmentally responsible. Embracing sustainable practices can enhance our brand reputation, attract top talent, and drive long-term growth and profitability.”

Chatbots All The Rage

Chatbots dominate the industry’s adoption of AI tools. While 25% in the U.S./Canada use AI tools, 38% internationally indicate active usage.

For a copy of the entire report, click here.

Reach Hervé Sedky at

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