AMI: Pandemic forces planners to work harder to attract delegates

AMI Magazine recently reported on a study that found since the Covid-19 pandemic, nine out of 10 meeting planners were having to spend more time encouraging people to register.

Read the full article below or online at AMI Magazine.

The Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the meetings industry supply chain is making it harder for planners to attract delegates to their events, a study has found.

Nine out of ten meeting planners were having to spend more time encouraging people to register, according to research by conference matchmaking platform, Conferli.

Flexible cancellation policies, partnering with destinations to actively attract delegates and increasing market awareness were listed as remedies to the problem.

However, the study revealed that delegate decision making when it comes to attending a conference has changed since the pandemic. The ‘Insider’s Perspective’ survey showed that in most cases (42 per cent), delegates only decide whether to attend a conference one to three months before it takes place. Yet, for 42 per cent of delegate respondents said they only book transport and accommodation to the conference one month before.

Reflecting the pandemic, 72 per cent of delegate respondents said the health and safety developments of the conference destination were a major factor in deciding whether to attend. The sustainability credentials of the host destination and the legacy-building of the conference destination came joint second in priority.

Respondents alluded to what they now seek from a conference, with a shorter conference format and a strong educational programme named as top priorities.

One respondent said: “Knowledge transfer is easy via Zoom, but exchange is important and that only happens when you meet in person.”

Networking opportunities and knowledge sharing were also listed as important factors in deciding whether to attend a conference, more so than whether the destination is easy to travel to.

However, 70 per cent of the event planners that responded to the survey revealed that travel distance from the airport to the conference venue was the most important aspect for them when choosing a destination.

Budgets continue to present a barrier for both prospective conference attendees and conference planners. Nearly 90 per cent of delegate respondents said they have become more budget-conscious over the last two years.

One planner respondent said, “We are looking even more at the budget after not having had an in-person conference for two years.” While another said that a reluctance from delegates to travel to the conference comes, in part, from budgets not being approved.

You can read the full report here: