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PCMA research reveals impact of Covid-19 on APAC events

China shows pent-up demand for live events, while planners across APAC prefer to stay close to home for business events, according to recent PCMA survey.

PCMA survey revealed almost two-thirds (60 per cent) of planners will only travel within their own country for a business event in 2020, while 10 per cent would travel to another country in APAC.
PCMA survey revealed almost two-thirds (60 per cent) of planners will only travel within their own country for a business event in 2020, while 10 per cent would travel to another country in APAC. Photo Credit:Getty

SINGAPORE — Event planners across APAC are struggling to monetise hybrid events amid ongoing travel restrictions, according to a recent survey conducted by the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA).

The research, conducted in July, surveyed 531 event industry professionals — 342 planners and 189 suppliers — across Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, China, Korea and Japan.

Forty-one per cent of planners believe smaller and regional events will come back sooner than larger international events, while 27 per cent 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 per cent) of planners saying they would only travel within their own country for a business event in 2020, while 10 per cent would travel to another country in APAC.

Suppliers, meanwhile, seem more willing to travel, with 48 per cent saying they would only travel in their own country, 17 per cent would travel within APAC and 22 per cent would go anywhere, "if it was worth it".

PCMA APAC managing director, Karen Bolinger, said while some results were predicted, the real impact of Covid-19 on business revenue is "distressing".

"The suppliers have taken a bigger financial hit, with 66 per cent of suppliers noting a decline greater than 75 per cent in revenue, compared to 52 per cent of planners. This is a massive impact and shows the vulnerability of many of the companies that deliver events," she said.

Nevertheless, the recovery in China is a major indicator for the future growth of business events in the region. "The research reveals that the Chinese are expecting ‘pent-up demand’ for face-to-face events, hence predicting a stronger recovery in 2021 compared to the rest of APAC," Bolinger said.

“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, we need to ensure the entire event ecosystem is taken along for the journey,” she said.

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

The survey executive summary can be viewed here: https://www.pcma.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/APAC-Recovery-Dashboard-Survey.pdf?utm_source=pardot&utm_medium=email&utm_term=organic&utm_content=apac-survey&utm_campaign=covid-19