Many event planners choose to stay closer to home for business events: latest PCMA research

Event organisers

Planners are struggling to budget for hybrid events as they try to find the balance between taking an event online and managing face-to-face attendee’s expectations, and 61% of planners and 47% of suppliers are only willing to travel within their country for a business event according to research conducted by the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA).

Forty-one per cent of planners believe smaller and regional events will come back sooner than larger international events, while 27% believe small in-person events will need to go hybrid, and large events wholly digital.

The survey discovered that many event organisers would prefer to travel domestically for now, while China will probably recover the fastest in APAC

The survey revealed most business event planners have no intention of travelling any time soon with almost two-thirds (60%) of planners saying they would only travel within their own country for a business event in 2020, while 10% would travel to another country in Asia Pacific.

The suppliers reported being more willing to travel; with 48% saying they would only travel in their own country, 17% would travel within Asia Pacific and 22% would go anywhere, “if it was worth it”.

Karen Bolinger, managing director of PCMA Asia Pacific, said this survey provides insights from the region, from which planners and suppliers can start devising their plans.

“Some of the results were as predicted, but the real impact Covid-19 has had on business revenue for 2020 was distressing. The suppliers have taken a bigger financial hit, with 66% of suppliers noting a decline greater than 75% in revenue, compared to 52% of planners. This is a massive impact and shows the vulnerability of many of the companies that deliver events.

“The recovery in China is a major indicator for business events post-Covid. The research reveals that the Chinese are expecting a ‘pent-up demand’ for face-to-face events, hence predicting a stronger recovery in 2021 compared to the rest of Asia Pacific.

“Not surprisingly, both planners and suppliers need new skills to survive in a post-Covid economy. The survey revealed the educational and skills-based training needed right now, and these results are helping to shape the educational program PCMA is rolling out across APAC.

“It is clear that the hybrid delivery of events, both large and small, will be with us for a long time however, we need to ensure the entire event ecosystem is taken along for the journey,” said Bolinger.

The research, a regional first, is the largest multicountry business event research conducted since the onset of Covid-19 and included 531 event industry professional participants – 342 planners and 189 suppliers. PCMA conducted its Covid-19 Recovery Dashboard survey in the Asia Pacific between July 7-15, 2020, across Australia, New Zealand, South-east Asia, China, Korea and Japan.

PCMA will conduct further research in the Asia-Pacific region over the coming months.

The survey executive summary can be viewed here.

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