Stats: Digital Gatherings on the Rise, Commercial Effects to Rebound

Per a new report from BIZDEV: The International Association for Business Development and Strategic Partnerships, online and digital gatherings are on the rise, with seven in 10 event professionals already having rebooted face-to-face programs as virtual events, according to industry leaders. Moreover, fall 2020 is when most meeting professionals expect to resume live programs, even as they anticipate that online programming will increasingly live side-by-side alongside, rather than detract from, in-person events going forward. Smaller meetings and get-togethers of 50 or fewer people are also predicted to gain at the expense of large-scale gatherings, such as conventions and trade shows in coming months.

Meeting and event planners worldwide are already feeling significant effects of COVID-19 on their business, with eight in 10 having been forced to cancel live and in-person gatherings as a result of related complications. However, while many expect a continuing steep drop in the number of face-to-face events being held in coming months, and face a growing push to embrace streaming technology, a large portion still have yet to make the shift to digital—and shift sales strategies in turn.

Some good news: Commercial effects of the current industry downswing may be less permanent and lasting than you might expect. While the overwhelming majority of event professionals expect to take a business hit from COVID-19 in the near future, nearly half say that the coronavirus will have little to moderate impact on their finances within 24 months.

In fact, event pros remain optimistic, with 70 percent noting that they expect COVID-19’s effect on the industry’s fortunes to last between one and six months; however, nearly one in five anticipate a longer haul ahead for working pros in the field, predicting that coronavirus will continue to affect the shape of the business through the end of 2020 and beyond.


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