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New APAC research from PCMA finds planners intending to stay close to home for events

Results from global industry association Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) first APAC research post Covid outbreak finds planners are struggling to budget for hybrid events as they try to find the balance between taking an event online and managing face-to-face attendee’s expectations.

The research finds 61% of planners and 47% of suppliers are only willing to travel within their country for a business event according to the PCMA research.

The Covid-19 Dashboard Recovery research included replies from 531 event industry professionals – 342 planners and 189 suppliers and was conducted across the APAC region, 7–15 July 2020.

Forty-one percent of planners believe smaller and regional events will come back sooner than larger international events, while 27% believe small in-person events will need to go hybrid, and large events wholly digital.

The survey revealed most business event planners have no intention of travelling any time soon with almost two-thirds (60%) saying they would only travel within their own country for a business event in 2020, while 10% would travel to another country in APAC.

The suppliers reported being more willing to travel; with 48% saying they would only travel in their own country, 17% would travel within APAC and 22% would go anywhere, ‘if it was worth it’.

Karen Bolinger (pictured), managing director of PCMA APAC, said: “Some of the results were as predicted, but the real impact Covid-19 has had on business revenue for 2020 was distressing. The suppliers have taken a bigger financial hit, with 66% of them noting a decline greater than 75% in revenue, compared to 52% of planners. This is a massive impact and shows the vulnerability of many of the companies that deliver events.

“The recovery in China is a major indicator for business events post Covid. The research reveals that the Chinese are expecting a ‘pent-up demand’ for face-to-face events, hence predicting a stronger recovery in 2021 compared to the rest of APAC.

“Not surprisingly, both planners and suppliers need new skills to survive in a post-Covid economy. The survey revealed the educational and skills-based training needed right now, and these results are helping to shape the educational programme PCMA is rolling out across APAC.

“It is clear that the hybrid delivery of events, both large and small, will be with us for a long time, however, and we need to ensure the entire event ecosystem is taken along for the journey,” Bolinger added.

PCMA will conduct further research in the APAC region over the coming months.

The survey executive summary can be viewed here.