News

Business Events to go digital for success

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The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), the world’s largest platform for business events planners, released results of its first ever APAC research post-COVID outbreak.

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 per cent of planners and 47 per cent of suppliers are only willing to travel within their country for a business event according to the research.

The research, a regional first, is the largest multi-country 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 APAC region between 7 – 15 July 2020, across Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, China, Korea and Japan.

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

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

The suppliers reported being more willing to travel; with 48 per cent saying they would only travel in their own country, 17 per cent would travel within APAC and 22 per cent would go anywhere, ‘if it was worth it’. 

Karen Bolinger, Managing Director of PCMA APAC, said this survey was important as it gives us 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 per cent of suppliers noting a decline greater than 75 per cent in revenue, compared to 52 per cent 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 APAC. 

“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.

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