HRS Survey of European Corporate Meetings Leaders Finds Optimism via Technology and 2021 Recovery Plans
The corporate meetings industry is taking the hardest direct hit from COVID-19. Europe’s largest events were among the first to be cancelled due to the pandemic – perhaps the most dramatic postponement was ITB in Berlin back in March. By the end of the first quarter, more than half of all corporate events scheduled for Germany in 2020 were cancelled. As the fourth quarter reaches the midway point, we know the majority of meetings in the DACH region were cancelled or postponed until 2021.
The post-COVID-19 meetings industry
Despite 2020’s challenges, HRS’ October survey of DACH-based event planners reveals an optimistic outlook for the year ahead. More than half (57%) of the 200+ respondents indicated that they anticipate planning the same level of events next year as before the pandemic hit – albeit on a smaller scale. This figure speaks to pent-up demand, and the need for colleagues, clients and prospects to visit in person to accelerate business beyond today’s reality of online video meetings and phone calls.
In another interesting finding, planners – most of whom spent this year’s downtime recalibrating their meeting programs – shared their wish list items for the post-COVID-19 meetings industry. More than one-quarter (26%) noted their preference for using more green hotels and sustainable processes. The second most popular change – increased use of automation and digital tools in meeting planning and event analysis – was highlighted by 23% of respondents.
Industry Recovery in 2021
Given the pace of change, COVID-driven ramifications for both companies and hotels, and smaller meetings budgets, DACH respondents also noted their appreciation for HRS’ consistent service and support during this unprecedented year. Nine of ten respondents (91%) reported that HRS helps simplify their meetings program, while 74% shared that HRS’ service levels met their expectations.
As the meetings industry begins to recover in 2021, the continuity of the HRS relationship – from local expertise and data analysis to contract management and everyday hotel engagement – will be vital as employees, partners and prospects meet again. Head over to our Meetings as a Service page or talk to your HRS representative to learn more about how HRS Meetings as a Service can best serve your organization in 2021 and beyond.