IBTM Insights: The latest events industry trends and news

IBTM Insights: The latest events industry trends and news

As our industry begins to rebuild and recover from the pandemic, here we take a look at some the key trends and insights that reveal how our industry has changed and how we’re adapting for the future.

Virtual events not yet a silver bullet for the industry

While many events planners have successfully pivoted to organising virtual events during the pandemic, new research has found that the virtual format falls short in one key area compared to face to face – audience engagement.

According to research by EventMB, 31% of #eventprofs cited engagement as their biggest hurdle when organising virtual events. This was followed by a lack of tech knowledge at 21%, sponsorship at 14%, attendance at 13%, budget at 11% and tech sourcing at 10%.

Attention span is one issue; attendees can much more easily tune out, or simply leave, compared to live events. Another challenge is creating opportunities for networking between attendees when they’re not all in the same room. Finding ways around these issues, such as introducing gamification elements to keep attendees interested, or creating smaller breakout networking sessions, will be vital if this format is to succeed and become an integral part of the events industry of the future.

Hotels take the initiative to attract live meetings and events

Many hotel groups, including Hilton and Accor, are announcing comprehensive health and safety initiatives, designed to give planners the confidence to begin thinking about hotels as venues for their live events once more.

Hilton’s EventReady with CleanStay aims to deliver “innovative solutions for the entire event experience — from flexibility in planning and physical distancing protocols to transparency in cleanliness policies and inspiring catering options,” according to CEO Christopher Nassetta. While Accor launched its own health and safety initiative, All Meet Well, aimed at meetings and events planners, earlier this summer.

Hilton stresses that its EventReady programme is a constantly evolving set of measures, but with business travel accounting for a large proportion of hotel occupancy, programmes like these are a positive step in the right direction.

Open for business

July has seen tentative signs that many countries are starting to re-open for meetings and events. Dubai received its first group of international tourists earlier this month, and much of Europe re-opened its borders to tourists from a restricted number of countries. Several tourist attractions in Singapore began welcoming guests earlier this month, and Spain, which has been under strict lockdown since March 14, has seen restaurants, hotels and shops re-open, with capacity limits and maximums on gatherings varying by region. For more on this, see Northstar’s handy country guide.

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