Subvention and Bid Support Practices 2016

Our latest research looks at Subvention and Bid Support Practices, principally in the UK, but with valuable information from other destinations throughout the world. Key findings are:

Conference organisers

  • Subvention is an important influence on choice of destination for international associations and charity organisations.
  • The most common form of subvention received by organisers was direct (cash) subsidies followed by discounts on venue hire costs.
  • Assistance with venue hire costs was identified as the most useful form of bid support by organisers although all agreed that they need to feel a destination is ‘hungry’ for the conference and will go out of the way to help it be a success
  • 18% of organisers who had been involved in bids to win conferences for the UK had lost events to other countries due to greater offers of subvention/in kind support being made.


  • 84% said event and bid support was important in preparation for international conferences
  • They look most often for help with funding of site visits and contribution to funding of the conference including civic receptions
  • Subsidies on venue hire and direct cash funding are also frequently sought
  • They noted an upward trend in requests fro subvention from international associations over the past five years
  • They also confirmed loss of events to non UK destinations due to lack of subvention funding in the UK


  • Destinations reported that requests for subvention funding from international associations had increased over the last five years
  • Average subvention budgets were higher for overseas destinations than UK.
  • Budgets varied hugely from £20K to over £1 million.
  • Overseas destinations supported an average of 54 events with subvention in the last year compared to 14 events for UK destinations
  • Factors of importance in addition to availability of funding were a partnership approach (using a varied range of assistance with help from local partners) and working with ambassadors.

International associations (through CAT Publications research)

  • 68% had positive overall impressions of the UK
  • Hotel rates were the main barrier to holding a conference in the UK
  • 55% said the UK excelled at knowledge and research and 49% said accessibility.
  • This reduced to 33% for service levels and only 6% said value for money
  • 79% said subvention was important when selecting a destination for a conference
  • 78% prefer discounts on venue costs, 59% direct financial subsidies, 53% free delegate public transport
  • 71% said convention bureaus in the UK were good or excellent, 28% said average.
  • 19% thought UK bureaus were better than bureaus in other countries, 66% the same and 15% worse
  • 49% would recommend the UK as a place to hold meetings, a further 44% said maybe.

To view the full report, please fill in the form below and we will send a copy by return.

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