Intelligence, Data & Research

Business Tourism For Scotland


Business Event Tourism in Scotland 2013.

This report was commissioned by BTfS from Tony Rogers and TEAM Consulting, a Scotland supplement to the UK Conference and Meetings Survey (UKCAMS)  survey. It refers to 2013 data and has useful information relating to the structure and value of the business events sector. The estimated value of business events to Scotland in 2013 was £1.27bn.

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So, what’s happening in Scotland’s business events industry? Our report reveals:
-  Most events (61%) were of 50 delegates or fewer.  Just 6% of events had more than 200 delegates.

- There are just over 400 primary business tourism venues in Scotland: 21% are in Edinburgh and Lothians, 19% in Greater Glasgow, 8% in Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire.

- 57% of Scottish venues are hotels.
- 7% of Scottish venues are purpose-built either for conference and training centres or larger conference and exhibition centres. However, some hotels provide purpose-designed meeting facilities.
- In 2013 an estimated £1.27 billion was spent in business tourism.
- Approximately 118,000 business events happened at Scottish venues, equating to an estimated 7 million delegates.
- 64% of delegates attended day meetings and 25% stayed at their meeting venue. 11% stayed elsewhere.

UKCAMS 2015 (2014 data) was published in June 2015 below.  There is no Scotland specific data but previous reports have shown that Scotland does not differ significantly from the rest of the UK.

VisitScotland: Scottish Business Travel and Tourism – Facts & Insights, 2014

This is a summary of the tourism performance of Scotland’s Business Travel and Tourism sector based on official statistics. It includes data on Business Travel of all types including individual, non-discretionary corporate or business travel and so is not a report on the value of “Business Tourism”. (Meetings, Incentive, Conference & Exhibitions)

Further details here

Business Tourism For Scotland


British Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP), Events are Great Britain report, March 2014

BVEP produced the “Events are GREAT Britain Report” compiled by Tony Rogers in 2014, a successor to that published in 2010. It gives a total spend figure for attendees and delegates to events of £39.1bn, up from £36.1bn, representing 35% of the total value of the UK visitor economy. The report looks at more than 'value', addressing additional spend, GDP contribution, employment, tax revenues and trade transacted and unquantifiable benefits from knowledge and experiences gained.

Further details here

Business Tourism For Scotland

The British Meetings & Events Industry Survey 2015/2016 [BMEIS] Cost from £195

The 2015/16 edition was published late 2015.   Demand-side data based on interviews with 500 event organisers (250 corporate, 250 association). BMEIS is commissioned by CAT Publications and carried out by The Right Solution London covering buying patterns, experiences and expectations; includes editorial articles from leading industry figures.   Data was summer 2015.

Highlights include: The volume of association events increased by 27% over the last 12 months while the volume of corporate events reduced by 8%.   Numbers of attendees were slightly down at associations' events with 434 (436 last year) at their main annual conference and 136 (145) for other events.  However, corporates had much lower numbers of attendees with 317 (378) at their annual event and 90 (127) at other events.

More highlights and further details re purchase here

UK Conference and Meetings Survey, June 2015 (UKCAMS) Cost £145

Supply-side data on the size, value, trends and characteristics of the UK conference, meetings and business events market – based on a survey of over 400 event venues across the UK.  Authored by Tony Rogers of Tony Rogers Conference & Event Services and Richard Smith of RJS Associates.

The research findings reveal that the overall number of UK business events in 2014 (an estimated 1.28 million) was similar to 2013 and values the UK sector at an estimated £21.6 billion in venue and destination direct spend in 2014. The total represents an increase of some £2 billion compared with the previous year, due mainly to an increase in event size from around 75 to 81 delegates. 

Highlights and further details here

Conference & Incentive Travel (C & IT) State of the Industry Report, 2015

For C&IT’s annual State of the Industry Report, they survey and carry out in-depth interviews with more than 200 UK-based corporates and agencies about their event activity in 2014, general trends and challenges and the outlook for 2015 and beyond.  Encouragingly,  81% of agencies expect growth in turnover, profits or both in 2015.    

Highlights and further details here and download pdf document here

MPI's UK Economic Impact Study (UKEIS) Leeds Met (July 2013) Free

Commissioned by the MPI Foundation to determine the economic value of the meetings sector using internationally-recognised methods. Reveals that the meetings industry is worth £58.4 billion to the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP), After England, Scotland took the lead in hosting the largest number of meetings. Scotland's GVA impact was £1.9bn.

Free download and further details here

‘Exhibitions and Conferences: Market Report’ – Key Note Ltd. £575

An annual overview of the UK exhibitions and conference market, with assessments of market size, trends, competition, economic forecasts, and including some exhibition company profiles.

Further details here

Executive Summary, 2012

In spite of the ongoing economic crisis within the UK and across Europe, Key Note estimates the exhibitions and conferences market to have grown by 2.1% in 2012, helped in part by a number of high-profile events held in the country during the year, including the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. These events, along with improvements within rail infrastructure and the development of new transport links, such as the Emirates Air Line cable car over the River Thames, which provides a direct connection between The O2 arena and the ExCeL London exhibition centre, have served to boost international and domestic trade within the UK’s exhibition and conferences market. Nevertheless, the unstable economic conditions experienced within the UK have had an impact, with recent figures from Eventia showing that conference delegate fees fell in 2011, while the number of conferences held in the country has reduced year-on-year between 2009 and 2011.

Meetings Industry Association “The MIA Pathfinder Research” £125 or free to members

Quarterly trend reports which combine results from corporate and association buyers with booking agents, venues and suppliers to give a snap-shot of the industry. A useful and up to date tool – but only available to download by MIA members.

Further details here

MeetingsMetrix – BDRC Continental (September)

A major ongoing annual research programme from BDRC, a commercial research agency which is syndicated to subscribers: various public agencies and major international players. The Core Annual Report summarising meetings industry trends, market dynamics and brand performance is equivalent to the former UK Meetings Market Survey. Cost appears to be upwards of £6,500.

Further details here

Business Tourism For Scotland


The "Beyond Tourism" benefits of business events

In January 2016, BTfS put together a short summary of the  current thinking and research on the impact of business events not only in tourism and hospitality, but to sectoral economic growth.    Positive benefits are generated in terms of investment, innovation, and knowledge transfer in the relevant sectors as well as helping to develop academic and professional capability.   Download here.

The academic research which first identified evidence of these effects is: 

 Beyond Tourism Benefits - measuring the social legacies of business events. University of Technology, Sydney, 2010.

American Express: Global Meetings & Events Forecast 2016.

Looking into 2016, meeting professionals have an optimistic view of the global meetings market. Meetings of all types are expected to increase, with training and internal team meetings seeing big increases as organizations continue to expand globally. Meeting attendees and budgets will still be tightly managed to maximize effectiveness.

Rather US oriented views, but valuable and authoritative research - download here

IBTM World, Trends Watch Report, Rob Davidson. Free.

An evaluation of global trends impacting meetings and incentives, and analysis of the BT trends in key sectors such as pharma, financial services, ICT. Compiled by Rob Davidson of Greenwich Uni and launched at the IBTM World exhibition in November of each year.

2015 is available and can be downloaded here - free.

Meeting Professionals International, MPI

Produces a range of research and useful tools e.g. from their (free) 2014 winter edition:
“The latest research predicts increasing attention to meeting design, hybrid face to face/virtual meetings (integrating onsite and remote meeting elements, social media, tech innovations and the overall health of the meeting and event industry.”

Some reports are free; others are chargeable, but free to members.

VisitBritain Inbound visitor statistics

International Passenger Survey (IPS) is carried out by the Office for National Statistics and gives data on inbound trips by business visitors into the UK, providing volume and value for business tourism (conferences, exhibitions etc.) as well as corporate travel. The VisitBritain website gives insights and access to the detailed Excel pivot tables.

Further details here


Business Tourism For Scotland



Reports and publications produced on a one-off basis

IACC Reveals Top 10 Conference Food Trends for 2015

Chicago, Illinois, April 2015 … Following extensive research among the 400 members of the International Association of Conference Centres, the association released its Top 10 Conference Foods Trends for 2015, which are influencing meeting planners across the globe.

A couple of headlines:

1. Local is Everything The importance of adding a local feel to meetings has been identified as a major trend by IACC members. Attendees want to experience as much as they can about the destination they are going to for their meeting or event--and this includes locally-sourced ingredients for food & beverage consumed during their conference.

2. In with Flavour, Out with Fats! Healthy choices don't need to resemble rabbit food. IACC member chefs are working with exciting new ingredients increasingly popular with conferees--including protein alternatives (quinoa, amaranth, tofu, beans), whole grains, leafy green vegetables (especially kale and spinach), low fat selections and low sugar substitutions. The result: healthy cuisine that sustains conferees through the meeting experience, appeals to the eye and satisfies the palate.

Further details | Food & Drink | Good Ideas

Hotels 2020, Grant Thornton.  Welcoming tomorrow's guests

The hotel industry has lagged behind other sectors in adopting technology to meet customer led demand, according to a new report (March 2015)  from Grant Thornton. As a result, hotels must now put mobile technology at the centre of their customer experience as they race to catch up and compete in the ‘sharing economy’, where services such as AirBnB are challenging the traditional business model. However, the report cautions against de-humanising the hotel experience, stressing that the most successful companies will be those that master the balance between using technology to respond to customer preferences and keeping the personal touch.

Further details

‘Delegate Expenditure Survey’ – UK National Tourist Boards (September 2006).

Provides multipliers to enable estimates of delegate and organiser expenditure to be made for different types of conference and incentive trip. Although some years old, the metrics and work involved in this report has not been updated, although more recently, the figures have been adjusted for inflation.

Further details here