The DMC Global Partners Survey, a biennial survey of the global meeting and event industry, was released today with eye-popping stats about the state of the industry and the future of meetings and events. The survey found that:
Events and meetings have changed dramatically in the last few years. The “Meeting Managers” of the past have been replaced by the “Meeting Executives” of today. These people are expected to oversee the entire event from planning to execution, and not just be a meeting planner. They must be proficient at handling “all aspects of the event”, not just the planning phase. This means that an event leader must be able to identify and implement new strategies for staying ahead of the competition.
Global DMC Partners (GDP) recently released the results of its meetings and events poll for the second quarter. This shows that the industry is facing new challenges as in-person events are on the rise again.
The results were presented during GDP’s quarterly webinar, presented by President and CEO Catherine Cholet. During the webinar, industry experts provided feedback on key findings, discussed their own perspectives, and shared best practices in the field.
Panelists included Helen Capelin of Ashfield Event Experiences, Becky Cavanaugh of Syneos Health, Danene Dustin of Morris Meetings & Incentives, Tom Edelen of Thrivent Financial, Megan Griggs of the Intellectual Property Owners Association, Cindy Grove of Morley Meetings & Incentives, Catherine Kirk of Chicago Is…LLC, A Global DMC Partner and Kuba Piotrowski of Oriflame.
The study found that travel restrictions and vaccines were a problem. Forty-six percent of respondents cited travel restrictions and vaccine distribution as the main barriers to resuming personal activities. The GDP showed that the difficulty in applying health and hygiene protocols had decreased significantly, by almost 20 points compared to the results of the first survey.
In a survey conducted during the webinar, participants indicated that travel and flight restrictions are one of the biggest challenges they face at in-person meetings and events.
Rising costs were also a major concern for planners. Thirty-two percent indicated that program budgets have not changed significantly, which is an additional challenge due to the rising cost of hotel rooms, airfare and other related expenses. This may only be a temporary problem, as 26% of planners say their budgets for meetings and events are now increasing.
Only 23% of planners said they would reduce their budgets in the second quarter.
Staff and facilities are another problem. Survey respondents and panelists pointed to this problem, noting that hotels, venues, decorators, and audiovisual vendors are understaffed. Sixty-two percent of webinar participants cited hotel/lodging costs as the top budget concern, followed by higher airfare (25%).
Many places are also full. Syneos Health American panelist Becky Cavanaugh said that during a recent inspection in Nashville, Tennessee, she had found that most hotels and halls were full. Room rates are particularly high, but many hotels still offer limited services. She added that some hotels have not yet resumed room service and daily cleaning.
Some companies still don’t allow in-person events. Kuba Piotrowski of Oriflame stated that all of their programs for 2020 and 2021 have gone virtual. However, in 2022, they are returning to in-person programs and splitting incentive programs into smaller regional groups rather than large global events.
Hybrid event models are also popular. Megan Griggs of the Intellectual Property Owners Association hopes personal participation in the association’s programs will be 25 to 50 percent of total participation by 2021. She also talked about the new version of the hybrid model, with two separate meetings: one in person and one virtually the following week.
Market demand is also subject to change. According to Global DMC Partners, planners are considering more regions outside their home market for 2022 programs. This was also confirmed by the second quarter survey results, particularly in Europe, which gained momentum compared to the first quarter survey results.