What: Pandemic-Era Concerns Are Top-of-Mind for Event Planners
The live events industry is not in the clear yet, according to a new study from Development Counsellors International (DCI). The new edition of “Winning Strategies iIn Destination Marketing: A View From Meeting Planners” — which surveyed more than 300 North American meeting planners — finds that pandemic-era concerns are still top of mind.
The meetings industry has hit potholes in the road before, but COVID-19 was a sinkhole that swallowed all of us.
Seventy-three percent of respondents are concerned about cancellation policies, making it the most pressing issue for respondents. The pandemic has also changed how planners perceive destinations; now, they’re opting for areas where local government proactively responds to COVID-19 cases.
Why It Matters: The Live Events Landscape Will Be Different Moving Forward
Many travel advisors are looking forward to resuming business meetings in person at live events this year — but they shouldn’t expect the same kind of tradeshow as in years past. For one, destination choice might change with some past favorites — such as Florida — ranking as one of the least-desirable choices for a meeting, thanks to the government’s handling of COVID-19. Also, expect more attention paid to cancellation policies, as it’s a top concern among meeting planners.
What They Are Saying: Meeting Planners Must Implement Innovative Solutions and New Strategies
“The meetings industry has hit potholes in the road before, but COVID-19 was a sinkhole that swallowed all of us,” said Daniella Middleton, senior vice president of tourism for DCI. “As we dig out and rebuild, the strategies that destinations relied on before to win new business won’t cut it.
- The top three destinations for meeting events in North America were San Diego in California and Montreal and Vancouver in Canada.
- In Europe, the top three destinations are London, Dublin and Barcelona.
- In Asia and the South Pacific, the top three destinations are Singapore; Sydney; and Auckland, New Zealand.
- In Latin and South America, the top three destinations are Cancun, Mexico; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Mexico City.
- The least-desirable U.S. cities for meetings are Florida (14%) and Texas (11%). According to the report, “respondents cited the lack of state mask mandates, high COVID-19 cases and general pandemic responses in both states as barriers to planning meetings in these states.”
Development Counsellors International