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Introduction

ICCA has been monitoring and analysing trends in international association meetings for the past 30 years. Each year, ICCA produces two statistics reports on the international association meetings market, one for the current year and another is the ten year report.

The report gives a comprehensive breakdown of global and regional meetings. It also gives an indication on trends on international association meetings as well as the organisers. It includes figures illustrating the global scene, such as the top convention countries and cities according to number of meetings held and further comparison based on other parameters.

We strongly encourage all ICCA members to submit their ‘calendars’, meetings held at their destination or have utilized their services to ICCA Research Department to enable us to get a more accurate picture on international association meetings. Submission can be done annually, half yearly or quarterly.

Please view the statistics submission criteria hereunder for further information. You may want to contact the ICCA Head Office research department for further clarification at marco.i@iccaworld.org

Criteria

The ICCA database is not designed to contain all meetings happening worldwide, it is a sales and marketing resource which allows our members to search for association meetings that are likely to come to their destination.

This is why all association meetings must:
a) rotate between at least 3 countries
b) attract at least 50 participants
c) be held with a certain frequency (we do not register ad hoc meetings)

Our information comes from a number of sources. First of all the ICCA Members who send in their overviews and calendars for the previous year. We also are in close contact with the International Organisations who inform us of their past and future activities. We do our own Internet research on a daily basis, monitor newspapers and social networksites. We look at resources such as the Union of International Association (UIA), etc.

Sole exhibitions/tradeshows, corporate meetings, games & championships may be loaded onto the database in case they have a regular rotation but they do not count for statistical purposes. Governmental/political meetings are not accepted. When we make our final selection events are filtered out based on the line in the subject matter: ‘General/Rotate’. Other filters look at ‘Corporate’ and ‘Governmental’. Events marked ‘General’, ‘Corporate’ and/or ‘Governmental’ could be included in the database because they are valuable pieces for our members, but they are given low-priority by our research department.

In case a meeting is held several times a year, the member needs to give a clear indication on whether or not a bidding process is involved. This means written proof from the International Organisation/Local Committee, etc. Very often we find that these meetings are not next editions of a meeting - rather they appear to be editions held next to each other, comparable to a road show. In principle we do not accept series that have more than 4 editions per year as they do not meet one of our criteria: 'Meetings must be organised on a regular basis'.

In case of a meeting that takes pace more than 4, there is no clear pattern to be detected to enable our members to make informed decisions whether or not to bid for a next edition, for instance.

Assigning an event to a destination: our aim is to be geographically correct, so if a meeting is held outside let's say Amsterdam in principle the city will not get the credit, even though they probably were influential in getting the meeting there in the first place. Each year we ask the national convention bureaus to have a look at the cities we have identified and to come up with suggestions. Feel free to let us know which places you think we should reconsider and we will be happy to research this further, using Geonames, Wikipedia, etc.

In case a meeting was held for the first time, the member needs to give a clear indication on whether or not it will rotate in the future. Also, any first edition needs to have an indication of attendance.

In case the first mention of attendance figures does not exceed 60, a delegate list is necessary to provide additional proof.

In case a meeting was held twice (or more) in the same country in a row the member needs to give a clear indication on whether or not it will rotate or return to the same country in the future. In principle we reject those meetings with the same country twice in a row when the history line does not contain 3 different countries, including the one that keeps returning.

So-called projects will be removed from the system as soon as the last event has taken place. In some cases therefore, these will not count in our statistics, depending on the date of the individual events.

An event series has to move between at least three countries, so that the data is relevant from a marketing point of view for many ICCA members. Until we can verify rotation we won't include a series, and, crucially, where we subsequently discover that a previously-accepted series does not really rotate then we need to remove that series from the database to avoid misleading our members that this is something they can bid for.

Why the UN and EU meetings aren't included in the database.

Essentially, it's to do with the decision-making process and the fact that meeting professionals aren't able to bid for future editions of meetings to come to specific countries except in exceptional circumstances. The meetings can be divided into three sorts: ones which are located in a very specific location or locations (which is why Brussels and Geneva receive so many, for example); ones which are part of a cycle of such meetings (eg all the many meetings which take place in a country because of the rotating 6-month EU Presidency); and ones where individual governments decide to offer to host it, where decisions on country are decided in closed rooms by the politicians and officials.

Tracking the past business rotation therefore doesn't enable members to anticipate future business; the best way to do this is by keeping close to the politicians and officials who are involved, and to compete at the national level once a country is selected or comes up in its usual rotation pattern.

Because this is so fundamentally different from association meetings, this is why we don't include the data on the association database. However, we recognise that the issue is a very important one for many members, which is why we try to regularly include it in the education programme of the Congress and other events, and why we will continue to do this in future, so that members understand clearly the differences in these types of meetings.

A final reason for not including such meetings is that if we did then there would be pressure to include them in the statistics, which would disproportionately benefit those locations which are home to institutional meetings on a regular basis, and would favour each country which hosts the EU Presidency in turn.

We hope this explains the rationale for why we follow this policy!

The fact that a meeting does not qualify for our database does not diminish the value of the business that took place in your destination! Also, we know that we're not infallible, and that in any case the stats are just a snapshot of a limited range of events at a specific time. We therefore always advise our members that the real key to long term positive PR is to have solid internal statistics that reflect the total impact of effort and business won across all market segments, so that the ICCA statistics can be seen in their proper context.

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