An economic survey of delegates attending the American Bus Association
’s (ABA) 2013 Marketplace in Charlotte, N.C., shows that Marketplace generated $108.3 million in booked and future business for show participants.
The report, conducted by the New York economic consulting firm John Dunham and Associates, duplicates a study following Marketplace 2012 in Grapevine, Texas, with the $108.3 million figure representing a $30 million increase from 2012 to 2013, or a 28% growth over the total amount of business generated in 2012.
“The numbers are quite startling,” said ABA President/CEO Peter J. Pantuso. “We’ve always said it’s a must attend show, and this number clearly points out that you’ve got to be there to get that business.
Five categories of Marketplace attendees — receptive operators, lodging representatives, destination marketing organizations (DMOs), attractions and associates — were surveyed. Respondents were asked to list the amount of business generated in three categories: business booked at Marketplace 2013, business booked following Marketplace 2013, and the total amount of business that respondents expected to generate from Marketplace 2013 contacts. The survey sample is statistically significant to within +/- 3.3%.
The average business booked per firm due to Marketplace in 2013 was $78,440, according to the report.
“If you went through and looked at the cost for an attendee, their out of pocket cost to attend Marketplace is somewhere in the neighborhood of about $2,500, so that $78,000 represents about a 31 to 1 return on investment,” said Pantuso.
While the results of the study provide an excellent marketing tool for ABA, Pantuso said the greatest benefit could be for possible Marketplace attendees.
“It is a bit of marketing tool for the organization, but most importantly, the reason we did it first last year was because members were asking us for the information,” he explained. “Many times an individual who is interested in coming to Marketplace has got to convince somebody else in the organization that it’s good value, so they are able to take this study and show there is a more than 30 to 1 return on their investment.”
ABA’s 2014 Marketplace will be held Jan. 11 to 15 in Nashville, Tenn., in the new Music City Center. Registration opens April 10 for motorcoach and tour operators, DMOs, receptive operators and associates. It opens April 11 for hoteliers and attractions. Complete information can be found on ABA’s website.