Latest Global DMC Partners Survey Finds Hybrid Format Most Popular Choice for 2021 

November 19, 2020

Nearly three-quarters of the meeting professionals surveyed in the most recent Meetings & Events Pulse Survey conducted by Global DMC Partners (GDP) expect their events to be held in a virtual or hybrid format in 2021. The surveyed planners also see having a vaccine in place as the most important factor in bringing back face-to-face events. 

Conducted Sept. 14-30, the Q3 survey polled 447 people in the meetings and events industry. Respondents included third-party/independent planners and those from the pharmaceutical industry, associations, technology, finance, insurance and law.

More than 90 percent of those surveyed indicated that some or all of their 2020 events have been postponed, with 72 percent indicating they expected to move their face-to-face events to virtual or hybrid in 2021. Even those respondents that thought their events might return to a face-to-face format in 2021 said they planned to include a virtual option, making the hybrid model a popular choice. 

In terms of what it will take to bring face-to-face events back, 82 percent of the respondents indicated that a vaccine was the most important factor and that financial and budget constraints and safety and security issues were among their top concerns.

“While the majority of the industry feels that a COVID-19 vaccine is the key to being able to resume hosting in-person events and meetings, there are a lot of health protocols that can be put into place to ensure a safe, successful event in the meantime,” said Catherine Chaulet, president and CEO of Global DMC Partners. 

According to those surveyed, many companies are still not allowing employees to freely travel for business, with 47 percent of U.S. companies and 40 percent of non-U.S. companies not allowing travel. Some — 16-18 percent — indicated that their C-level executives and other select personnel were traveling, with 55 percent stating they believed their companies would start to allow employee travel in Q1 or Q2 of 2021. 

More than half of those surveyed also thought that their companies and/or clients will host in-person meetings in the first half of 2021, providing that travel markets are open, flights are available and health protocols are in place.

“Once travel resumes more broadly, I am confident that we can tackle any new challenges as an industry to resume hosting and attending in-person meetings and incentive programs,” said Chaulet. “I look forward to the innovative solutions and creative approaches that planners around the world will no doubt implement as we fully rebound.” 

See the full results of GDP’s Meetings & Events Pulse Survey here

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