'COVID-19 crisis is lasting longer and has more effect on the meetings industry' | Conference Matters
The Future of Global Association Meetings - four months down the line

‘COVID-19 crisis is lasting longer and has more effect on the meetings industry’

In 2021, 15 percent of the associations plan to cancel or postpone their largest in-person meeting, and 42 percent plan to go hybrid or virtual. That is one of the key findings from the ICCA Global Association Follow Up Survey: ‘The future of global association meetings – four months down the line’.

Research conducted by ICCA during May 2020, in collaboration with AfSAE (African Society of Association Executives), APFAO (Asia Pacific Federation of Association Organizations) and ESAE (European Society of Association Executives) examined the post COVID-19 strategies and plans of almost two hundred associations around the world. In September 2020, ICCA sent a short follow up survey to see how associations progressed in adapting to the new reality.

Key findings

ICCA Global Association follow up research reveals importance of face to face meetings and flexibility of associations and suppliers in a post-COVID world. Amongst other results, key findings in the research include:

• 82% of respondents indicated that their largest in-person meeting in 2020 was affected by COVID-19, with 43% having to cancel or postpone their meeting and 17% going virtual or hybrid.
• In 2021, 15% of respondents plan to cancel or postpone their largest in-person meeting, and 42% plan to go hybrid or virtual. 61% expect smaller attendance figures for their in-person meetings.
• 81% of respondents believe that there are limitations to networking discussions during virtual events compared to face to face.
• 88% of respondents indicated that technology has changed the way they conduct their meetings, with 51% using only low-cost solutions to support virtual/hybrid elements of their meetings.

COVID-19 crisis is lasting longer

The report concludes by highlighting the fact that ‘the COVID-19 crisis is lasting longer and has more effect on the meetings industry than originally anticipated by many association executives. The survey results also suggest that the demand for live meetings will not be fully satisfied by virtual alternatives, and face to face meetings are viewed as highly important to the international association community.’

Report

The report of the ICCA-research ‘The future of global association meetings – four months down the line’ is available to ICCA members and the ICCA Association Community and the members of the partner associations.