Accelerated use of AI in business events not matched by industry education

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New research has found that 63 per cent of associations and not-for-profits are already utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI) in event organisation, but almost three quarters are not being educated in its application.

The ongoing research by The Hague & Partners Convention Bureau and Ottawa Tourism found that with 72 per cent were not engaging in AI education while 85 per cent have no budget for AI training.

“The inevitability of AI in our sector is clear from our research. However, it’s not just about adoption; it’s about understanding and skilfully leveraging AI to enhance our industry,” said Lesley Pincombe, Ottawa Tourism’s Vice President, Meeting and Major Events.

“This upskilling is not just desirable; it’s essential for the sustainable growth and innovation in our sector.  The research also highlighted the fact that there shouldn’t be fear associated with AI and the knowledge needed for its use.

“Ultimately, it is not for organisers to understand how to build or create AI tools, instead they should be working with technology partners and AI experts to see how AI can be integrated into the work they are already undertaking.”

The white paper emphasises the importance of ethical AI use, especially in data management and privacy.

Bas Schot, Head of The Hague & Partners Convention Bureau, said AI is rapidly becoming a key technology across many different industries, including events.

“Our industry must adapt swiftly to stay ahead, and this means investing in knowledge and skills that align with these technological advancements,” Schot said.

“However, we must be careful to protect our delegates and ourselves as we make the most of what AI has to offer. We already need to consider both the pros and the cons before we entrust vital information and data to third parties – AI usage is no different.”

In December, initial highlights from the research showed that 63 per cent of global association buyers are either very concerned or slightly concerned about the ethical implications of using AI in event organising.

In response, although 63 per cent think governments should legislate on the use of AI, 65 per cent also think those same governments lack the required knowledge to be able to legislate effectively.