A number of events industry bodies are joining forces for a major new research project, designed to measure the overall volume and dimensions of the exhibitions and live events sector.

The Association of Event Organisers (AEO), Association of Event Venues (AEV) and the Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) are embarking on the three-year project with a view to providing benchmarking and quality metrics.

The SASiE (size and scale index for events) research programme will see data collected on a regular basis from event organisers and venues on their major trade shows, conference-related exhibitions, live music events and outdoor events.

A purpose-designed online questionnaire will be used to provide the information sought by the AEO, AEV and ESSA.

Results will be published in an annual report, while all participating companies - event organisers and venues - will receive quarterly personalised summaries.

Nick Marshall, executive chairman of Global Experience Specialists and ESSA research champion, welcomed the launch of the project.

He said SASiE is "the culmination of a focused, cross-association effort to gain a deeper and more detailed understanding of our industry".

Mr Marshall claimed the project is "unprecedented in terms of scale and scope".

"The importance of reliable, comprehensive data collection and analysis to our industry cannot be overestimated," he added.

Paul Byrom, managing director of Upper Street Events and AEO research champion, said it has been apparent for some time that there are "substantial gaps" in events market intelligence, not least in understanding the overall size of the market.

"We are delighted to see the commissioning of this new research and are confident that it will provide the information and insights that the industry and our members require," he stated.

Nigel Nathan, managing director for Olympia London and AEV research champion, explained that "robust data" on the events sector is needed in order for organisations to benchmark their performance.

This information can also help understand the opportunities for growth and identify future and emerging trends, he claimed.