The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) – the world’s largest business travel association and worldwide leader in education, research, networking, and advocacy for the industry, today publishes the findings from a study into organizations corporate meetings and events strategy as a result of the pandemic.
The study, made possible by Cvent, examines how US and Canada-based travel meetings and events planners are managing their corporate meetings in the year ahead, the impact of COVID-19 on their events and the use of technology to enhance the delegate experience.
Key Findings Include:
- Number of hybrid meetings set to double in 2021.
The workplace in 2020 will be remembered for virtual meetings, but into 2021, the trend moves towards hybrid meetings, which offer both in-person and virtual experiences.
Prior to the pandemic, approximately seven in 10 respondents (71%) did not hold any hybrid meetings. This figure remained unchanged in 2020.
As restrictions ease and business meetings resume, hybrid meetings could be on the rise to better accommodate both in-person and virtual attendees and reach a broader audience. Three in five respondents (60%) expect their company will hold at least one hybrid meeting in 2021. In addition, two-thirds of respondents (65%) are interested in holding more hybrid meetings as a result of the pandemic.
- Simple meetings will be first to recover.
Approximately half of respondents (52%) expect the number of in-person simple meetings held by their company—with 50 attendees or fewer—to return to the pre-pandemic level within a year.
- For most companies, C-suite executives play a central role in approving requests to hold meetings in the current environment.
Three-quarters of respondents (75%) say C-suite executives are involved with deciding if it is safe to hold a meeting or event in the current COVID-19 environment. Half say these executives (49%) have the mostinfluence over the decision, while 17 percent say their company’s security/risk department has the most influence over the decision. While a number of other stakeholders—including HR, legal/compliance, travel managers/meeting planners and budget owners/business units—are commonly involved when deciding if it is safe to hold a meeting or event, they rarely make the final decision.
- Few companies have central visibility of all of their meetings.Only 30% of respondents say “most” or “all” of their company’s meetings are visible on a central calendar. A larger number say “few meetings” (19%) or “no meetings” (20%) are available on a central calendar. In some cases, different departments or regional offices plan and track meetings in different ways. This can make it difficult to quickly locate all scheduled meetings in an emergency situation. In addition, without this visibility, organizations risk over-spending and improperly managing their events.
- Respondents find value in virtual meetings as part of a more robust event program.
The nearly complete shift to virtual events in 2020 led to a positive change in respondents’ views towards their effectiveness as part of their overall marketing strategy.
- Respondents want to use technology to enhance the virtual experience.
A large majority are “interested” or “very interested” in adding various technology components to virtual meetings in order to deliver a more engaging and immersive online event. These include virtual conferencing(79%), online registration(76%), post-event attendee surveys (74%), attendee tracking/lead tracking(70%), live polling(70%), and mobile event apps (66%).
While these are common staples of in-personmeetings, respondents want to use them for virtual meetingsas well to increase engagement and maximize virtual event ROI.
“The pandemic has had a significant impact on how organizations plan and manage their corporate meetings and events,” said Cvent CMO, Patrick Smith. “A smart mix of virtual, in-person, and hybrid events is the future; and these three event delivery models will enable companies to reach and engage bigger audiences and gain deeper insight into attendee interests. The use of technology will help to lead the way in this new environment where we expect events to be more numerous and impactful than ever.”
GBTA and Cvent will be hosting a webinar to discuss the findings in more detail, including the operational changes required. The webinar will take place on June 22 at 11am (ET). To register please go to GBTA.org.
Cvent is a leading meetings, events, and hospitality software company with nearly 4,000 employees and more than 230,000 users worldwide. The comprehensive Cvent event marketing and management platform offers software solutions to event organizers and marketers for online event registration, venue selection, event marketing and management, virtual and onsite solutions, and attendee engagement. Cvent’s suite of products automate and simplify the entire event management process and maximize the impact of in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. Hotels and venues use Cvent’s supplier and venue solutions to win more group and corporate travel business through Cvent’s sourcing platforms and to service their customers directly, efficiently and profitably – helping them grow their business. Cvent solutions optimize the entire event management value chain and have enabled clients around the world to manage millions of meetings and events. For more information, please visit Cvent.com, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
About the Global Business Travel Association
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world's premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA's members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA delivers world-class education, events, research, advocacy, and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts.
About the GBTA Foundation
The mission of the GBTA Foundation, the US 501c3 charitable arm of GBTA, is to help the global business travel industry create a positive impact and a better future for people and the planet. The GBTA Foundation focuses on the strategy and execution of GBTA's global sustainability programs, supporting initiatives related to climate action; diversity, equity and inclusion; and other talent-related topics via education, research and advocacy.