Understanding the international associations meetings industry

An estimated 24,000 association meetings are organised on a regular basis. The ICCA Association Database has collected information on approximately 80% of them.

The association market covers a wide range of meeting types and categories: 


In terms of size, budget, duration and complexity there are massive variations between, and also within, categories.

However, our data has been able to identify similarities between them all. For instance, almost every ‘speciality’ has an association which holds one or more meetings. These meetings typically take place at regular intervals (i.e. annual, biennial etc.). In addition, these meetings tend to have a very long lead-time; it is not unusual to find lead times of 5 years or more.

The destinations for these meetings rotate. Organisations rarely return to the same destination within a short time-span.

The initiative to host a meeting often comes from the local counterpart, e.g. the national association. An estimated 25-30% of the decision-making processes no longer includes an official bidding procedure. A “central initiator” selects the location and venues based on pre-determined and strict criteria.