Business event recovery a year away and to be driven by younger attendees

The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) has released its Business Events Compass outlining a framework of insights and strategies for the recovery of the business events sector following the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the key insights of the report are that the best case economic recovery scenario for business events is currently estimated to be in the third quarter of 2021, with the speed of business events recovery varying significantly by global region, industry economic sector and event experience type.

Smaller locally focused business events will thrive in the initial recovery, driven by organisational business meetings and conferences, while incentive experiences and exhibitions will recover much more slowly.

While all agree that face-to-face events cannot be fully replaced by digital alternatives, the return of face to face meetings will be driven by a younger demographic, with 39 per cent of business event participants 25-49 years old expect to attend the same or more business events in 2021 than they did in 2019. This compares to 17 per cent for participants 50-plus years old.

“In the Spring I stated that our industry needs to be a part of the solution and not exacerbate the health crisis,” said PCMA president and CEO Sherrif Karamat.

“Since then our industry has been shattered by COVID-19. And if we are going to play a role in bringing people together during the pandemic and through the induced economic and social crises, we are going to have to do it within a whole new paradigm.

“Business Events Compass is about understanding that paradigm and how careers and businesses in our global business events industry can evolve to thrive and continue to deliver the human connections our world so badly needs.”