Global DMC Partners, a global network of independently owned destination management companies (DMCs) and creative event experts, has concluded its seventh annual, and first virtual, Connection event.
Nearly 400 attendees, including approximately 300 meeting planners, international and domestic DMCs, convened online on November 9 and 10 to discuss current issues pertaining to the pandemic, identify ways for the industry to overcome challenges together as it rebounds, and experience virtual activities organised by GDP DMCs.
Global DMC Partners’ president and CEO, Catherine Chaulet, kicked off the event with a keynote address that highlighted insights from Global DMC Partnersâ€™ most recent Meetings & Events Pulse Survey.
There were 447 respondents from the meetings and events industry, with 90 per cent being meeting planners. Key highlights of the findings included:
- Over 90 per cent reported that some or all of their 2020 events have been postponed to 2021.
- Nearly three-quarters of planners are moving their face-to-face events to virtual or hybrid in 2021. While most respondents predict that their face-to-face events will resume in the first half of 2021, many are planning to include a virtual option with their live event, indicating that 2021 will be a hybrid year.
- 82 per cent believe a vaccine is the most important factor in bringing back face-to-face events.
The conference agenda also included general sessions with a panel composed of industry leaders discussing the continued impact of the global pandemic on this trillion-dollar industry. Experts shared innovative strategies and ideas that MICE planners should consider as the industry continues to adapt and embrace more virtual and hybrid events as it moves into 2021.
There were also peer-to-peer breakout discussions to reconnect and share best practices in todayâ€™s Covid-19 world. Discussion topics included best practices for virtual events and for hybrid/in-person events, contracting with vendors, new cancellation/force majeure terms, event technology, and creating unique attendee experiences in a virtual world.
Attendees also heard from several inspiring and motivational speakers, including Lucy Bloom, an award-winning businesswoman, consultant and author from Australia.
Unique to this yearâ€™s conference were all-new virtual destination experiences. These interactive online activities brought a taste of the respective destinations into participantsâ€™ homes while showcasing how DMCs are successfully pivoting for virtual and hybrid events.
Highlights included a Parisian art tour, a yoga city tour through Vienna, a world-class illusionist from Budapest, live music from a Texas musician and song writer, samba and salsa dancing lessons from South America, Polish pierogi making, an undercover, and at-home spy experience from Washington, DC.
Planners also had the opportunity to visit live with over 60 global DMCs and sponsors in the Connection Exhibit Hub. At each booth, attendees could learn more about each DMC and their destinations by viewing resources like destination overview videos and informational brochures.
For those who wanted to connect further, they could speak directly with each Exhibitor through instant chat messaging or live video call.