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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