Global stakeholder research from industry association PCMA’s Business Events Compass finds that Asia Pacific (APAC) is leading the way to recovery and short-term pivots to digital events are fuelling long-term innovation. These are two of the conclusions from the Compass update, which forms an actionable framework of insights and strategies for businesses during the pandemic and beyond.
The best case for economic recovery of the business events sector to pre-Covid levels, the report says, is likely to take place in Q3 2022 or later.
The effectiveness of Covid-19 containment measures across APAC is a reason for optimism and 45% of APAC survey respondents are expecting to attend local events in 2021, with 20% expecting to attend regional or national events. This compares to 22% and 15%, respectively, for US/Canada.
“Compass continues to point to the APAC region as leading the global recovery for business events,” said PCMA president and CEO Sherrif Karamat. “PCMA is holding the inaugural Convening Asia Pacific: The Global Recovery Forum next month to identify compelling insights and best practices for managing face-to-face and digital events.”
The new edition of the PCMA Foundation – funded report features ongoing global event participant survey insights obtained in July and September, along with recent real-life examples of business event experimentation, new business models and reskilling.
Compass now projects continued sluggish demand for face-to-face business events through 2021, with 39% of survey respondents expecting a 50% or greater decline in their 2021 face-to-face business event participation compared to 2019 levels. Pent-up demand will manifest, particularly in some key industry sectors such as healthcare, in the form of increases in internal and local face-to-face event participation in 2021.
Business events participants, event professionals, and Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) are finding that their recent short-term pivots to omnichannel and digital events have had unexpected and positive consequences – specifically, such pivots are paving the way for long-term innovations in how events are marketed, executed and monetised.
Multichannel and digital events present organisations with such opportunities as:
- Varying event length – a previously three-day event can now be spread over three weeks for improved engagement.
- Global reach – organisations can cost-effectively draw audience members from around the world.
- Leveraging artificial intelligence to assess user profiles and customise participants’ experience in a way that directly drives relevant information to them.
- Providing participants with a polished, well-produced broadcast that is as engaging as watching a television programme.
“Compass is all about bringing theoretical strategies to life,” said Karamat. “To paint a picture of how organisations, brands, and communities are experimenting, elevating, rethinking, and reimagining business events in the Next Normal, we interviewed luminaries with varied viewpoints from an array of entities – Accenture, Storycraft Lab, American Society for Nutrition, Realcomm and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, to name a few. With the pandemic continuing to impact economies, travel demand and health and safety regulations around the world, Compass provides the data, the expert perspectives and the case studies that will enable businesses to intelligently invest so they can continue to thrive.”
Supported by a PCMA Foundation investment, PCMA Insights – PCMA’s global consulting practice – assembled the global data and perspectives needed to develop the insights and strategies in Compass. This included six PCMA Think Tanks with over 130 global business event leaders, business sentiment surveys from thousands of PCMA members and global stakeholders, surveys of frequent business event participants, surveys with chief human resource officers, and interviews with global brand and association leaders. Learnings were supplemented with reviews of regional pandemic health policies and analysis of global econometric recovery models. The October 2020 report features global business event participant survey insights obtained in July and September 2020 that represent more than 1,700 business event experiences. In addition, industry leaders contributed best-in-class examples of business event experimentation, new business models, and reskilling.