Convention Center Market Insights

About this article


Capability , Market Research
Market Insights

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Offering clients the level of certainty they need to make critical, real-time decisions to ensure the commercial success of their convention center projects.

Our convention center market insights document lets industry leaders and clients know what factors to keep an eye on, whether that be trends across the sector, how to navigate a post-pandemic industry, and top considerations before engaging in your convention center project.

Things to watch out for


Post-pandemic conditions may have taught us one thing in particular: that we are human and that the rebound of demand for in-person interaction is strong; that the desire for human connection is what we, as a customer, are ultimately looking for. Undoubtedly, we do also see a significant lean towards providing maximum flexibility and adaptability, including the need for hosting ‘hybrid’ events, a combination of remote and in-person interaction. Flexibility is also extending itself to trends in events being hosted, from traditional trade shows to esports and drone racing, and the adaptability to be able to scale-up and scale-down on a whim. A recent renewal in our own human desire for wellness and connection has also driven momentum for more open-space, a connection to the outdoors, room to collaborate and interact, and the need to provide a connection between the venue and the local community as a whole.


While the data shows a gradual rebound of activity in FY2021/22, the return is expected to ramp up considerably over the next two years. Airport passenger traffic around the country has been rapidly returning to pre-pandemic figures, highlighting that the fear of travel is over, and hospitality occupancy is following a similar trend. We may see challenges with convincing attendees to forego the, perhaps, more cost-effective approach of “connecting remotely”, however current signs are indicating a strong return of activity and a strong desire to connect “face-to-face”.

Project Considerations
  • Flexibility & Adaptability – Major shift in types of events, demographics, and medium: Consider Operability (walls) and Futureproofing (connectivity, broadcast, streaming).
  • Wellness – Connectivity to the outdoors: Consider Natural light/ventilation, Outdoor decks, rooftops, and parks, Operability (“bring the outdoors in”).
  • Sustainability – Balance with affordability: Consider Solar/Green Roofs, Geothermal, Low-Carbon Materiality, potential Offsets in reduced energy costs and greater resiliency.
About the charts

The first chart represents the value of the pipeline of major convention center projects from the ‘study’ phase to those ‘recently completed’; the chart below that represents the total gross square-footage of that same collection of major projects.

What this means for you

It comes as no surprise that there is a healthy pipeline of major convention center redevelopment, predominantly in the South/Mid West. Interestingly, the value of work currently in the study/underway phases (c.$8.3B over 9.0M GSF) greatly exceeds that of the work that is currently under construction (c.$3.7B over 6.7M GSF). This could be due to current economic conditions, dramatic inflation since 2020, a shift in the function and form of convention center design – or, likely, a combination thereof. What remains constant, however, if the need for robust cost, scope, and schedule management, and the earlier appropriate controls can be established on the project, the higher the chance for a successful outcome.