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Travel restrictions and reduced face-to-face top concerns, says survey

Business travel restrictions and reduced demand for in person meetings and events are the biggest concerns for event planners working in the UK and Europe, according to Northstar Meetings Group research.

The survey, carried out among 410 planners this month, found 90 per cent of respondents were very or somewhat concerned about travel policy updates restricting business travel, while 84 per cent of respondents were very or somewhat concerned about reduced demand for in person meetings and events.

82 per cent of respondents were very or somewhat concerned about reduced meeting and event budgets.

Looking ahead, 35 per cent of planners think they will be planning fewer events in the 12-18 months following Covid-19, while 34 per cent say it’s too soon to know. Just 5 per cent think they will be planning more events during the period.

Generally, planners are looking at smaller meetings in the aftermath of Covid-19. No planners thought they would be booking more events for more than 5,000 people in the 12-18 months following the crisis, compared to 65 per cent of planners who thought they would be booking fewer such events. Conversely, 27 per cent of respondents thought they would be booking more events for fewer than 15 attendees in the same period, compared to 24 per cent who thought they would be booking fewer of these events.

Planners are also set to turn to virtual in a big way: 86 per cent of respondents think they will use more virtual event platforms, while 80 per cent think they will use more virtual site visits.

Other findings from the survey include:

– 71 per cent of event planners are working remotely, with just 9 per cent working in a business location.

– 39 per cent are researching for future meetings but not booking. Just 29 per cent of respondents were booking and sourcing new meetings.

– Working with suppliers is currently “more difficult” or “very difficult” for 64 per cent of planners.

– Q4 is the earliest events are being rescheduled for 47 per cent of planners.

– For new meetings, 43 per cent of planners are looking to Q1 2021.

– 56 per cent of planners expect to organise fewer international events as a result of Covid-19.

Of the different types of events being planned, festivals/fairs look set to see the greatest hit, with 68 per cent of those that plan them expecting to do fewer such events over the 12-18 months following Covid-19. 58 per cent of trade show and exhibition planners are expecting to see a reduction in the same period.

The research was based on the responses of 410 planners over the period of May 6-19. Northstar Meetings Group’s pulse survey looks to ascertain how meeting and event planners have been managing the Covid-19 crisis. To take part in the next edition, click here.