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2023 Member Economic Impact

Research: Over half of ABPCO members organise events with turnover exceeding £1 Million

The Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO), the UK’s only professional body for association conference and not-for-profit event organisers has revealed the success of its members through the release of an Impact Survey.

The survey results highlight the fact that 57% of ABPCO members have a portfolio of events generating turnover in excess of £1 million, underscoring the substantial economic impact and leadership of ABPCO members in the association events industry.

In a year marked by activity and growth, ABPCO's membership has demonstrated exceptional results across the board. The survey, which achieved a response rate of over 50%, has been instrumental in capturing the collective voice of ABPCO’s member activity throughout 2023 and provides insights into trends for 2024.

Key Highlights from the ABPCO Impact Survey include:

  • Economic Contribution: ABPCO members have significantly contributed to the UK's growth agenda, with 85% generating turnover in excess of £500k. Their activities have supported a broad range of skilled employment opportunities, and substantial investments in the supply chain.
  • Exhibition and Sponsorship: In 2023, members purchased £23.2 million in exhibition space and generated £43.2 million of sponsorships, enhancing the professionalism and reach of their events.
  • Event Engagement: With 3,280 events organised in 2023, attracting 610,000 participants, and an impressive 82% of these events being held in-person, ABPCO members have showcased the importance of events and their ability to engage audiences across many sectors.
  • Industry Sector Impact: The events organised touched upon critical sectors such as health sciences and med tech (34%); science, engineering and manufacturing (20%); professional services, finance and tech (17%); and government (14%). This illustrates the diverse and strategic focus of ABPCO’s members.
  • National and International Reach: ABPCO's members hosted 318 national meetings with over 500 delegates, 346 inbound international meetings, and submitted 158 international meeting bids, reinforcing the global influence and connectivity of the UK association events industry.
  • Looking Forward to 2024: With 2,360 confirmed event bookings and over 6,800 provisional bookings, ABPCO members are poised for continued growth and success, demonstrating confidence in the industry and their ability to foster connections across sectors.

Heather Lishman, ABPCO’s Association Director commented: “ABPCO remains dedicated to supporting its members through training, development, and community engagement, aiming to meet the evolving needs of event professionals. The survey’s findings not only reflect the exceptional contributions of our members to the UK's economic and professional landscape but also highlight the vibrant future of the events industry.”

Dr James Musgrave, Head of UK Centre for Events Management, who led the research adds:  "We are thrilled with the outstanding response rate to our inaugural survey. The results underscore the significant economic impact and leadership role our members play in the broader association conference and events industry. It is clear that our members are not just organising events; they are creating substantial economic value, driving innovation, and fostering professional growth across the UK. This data not only highlights the achievements of our members but also sets the stage for how we can collectively support the sector's ongoing development and resilience.”

Lishman concludes: “ABPCO looks forward to another year of empowering event professionals, fostering innovation, and supporting our members as they contribute to the UK economy as well as our own sector’s growth. ABPCO's continued commitment to excellence and support for our members ensures that we remain at the forefront of the industry, setting benchmarks for success and professionalism.”

The research was conducted by Dr James Musgrave on behalf of ABPCO.  Responses were received from 50 in-house and agency PCO members of ABPCO.  Only one response was submitted by each organisation.  This represents 50% of ABPCO member organisations.  The final figures were extrapolated from this data.