According to the 2021 Global Meetings and Events Forecast from American Express Meetings & Events, a division of American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), hybrid meetings are the first step in the return of in-person meetings, and Asia Pacific professionals are embracing new platforms and technology to enhance meetings experiences and networking opportunities.
Despite a steep learning curve, meeting planners have learned to implement new safety and security protocols and accelerated the use of existing technologies across virtual, hybrid and in-person formats. Web conference platforms have revealed both their benefits and limitations, as planners seek out engagement strategies to combat virtual meeting fatigue.
But everything comes at a cost: survey respondents indicated that 35% of virtual and hybrid events would require the services of a full-service agency. With the recovery of travel volumes expected to vary by geography in 2021, hybrid meetings will be a stepping stone towards meeting in-person.
Looking ahead to 2021, planners must reconcile pent-up demand for in-person events with tightening and shifting budgets. As airfares and hotel rates still somewhat in flux, there is still hesitancy around advance booking. To combat this uncertainty, suppliers are shifting to more lenient cancellation or change policies, often at no cost.
Across the globe, planners expect small and simple meetings, taking place closer to home at local or regional destinations to return faster than other meeting types at 21% globally, followed by internal meetings at 18%.
For Asia Pacific respondents, positive sentiment around the remainder of 2020 exists nearly half, or 47%, expect to resume operating at least some in-person meetings and events before the end of 2020, while 16% of respondents say they have already resumed in-person meetings. Overall, 60% of Asia Pacific respondents indicated that they have in-person events booked or contracted for 2020.
Respondents in China and Hong Kong expect to see increases across the board of every type of meeting. Four in 10 meetings and events planners in Asia Pacific, or 43%, expect to see an increase in client/customer advisory board meetings, and nearly half, or 49%, anticipate that there will be an increase in internal team meetings in 2021.
American Express Meetings & Events client meeting data from the Meetings Insight platform was also used to identify the top five meeting destinations in APAC:
1. Tokyo, Japan
3. Sydney, Australia
4. Shanghai, China
5. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The 2021 Forecast is based on a survey of more than 560 meetings and events professionals and interviews with 16 industry experts. The survey and interviews took place in August and September of 2020. Respondents represent corporations, associations, buyers, and suppliers on five continents and in 37 countries.
To download the full report and access more content about the 2021 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, click here.