The future of global meetings

Jul 31, 2020

The value of face to face meetings are still considered most valuable, but digital elements lead to increased attendance.

ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association), examined the strategies and plans of almost 200 associations around the world. ICCA is a global association community and knowledge hub for the international association meetings industry.  

The value of face-to-face meetings

The research highlights the fact that 60% of the respondents felt that virtual meetings have limitations to the networking discussions they can facilitate when compared to face-to-face.

When added to other key findings about the value of meetings it is easy to believe that less global meetings will impact many sectors due to decreased networking, knowledge sharing and business growth.

What the members saying about the value of face to face meetings? What do they miss about face to face?

Virtual meetings have limitations to the networking discussions that face to face meetings offer 60%

  • At face to face meetings you meet new people and make newcontacts in the field 66%
  • The ability to meet a wide range of people from across the globe in one place 52
  • Face to face offers a sense of community 55%
  • To enjoy the personality of the host destination 39%
  • Face to face offers the opportunity to immerse into the subject, away from daily tasks 36%
  • To gain a better understanding of the subject matter and specialists from the host location 31%

Future Plans for congresses

One of the most significant figures revealed in the research is the fact that 66% of the responding associations believe that the impact of the COVID-19 crisis will fundamentally change how associations and their members operate in future.

Close scrutiny of the responses shows that many people feel that events are seen as essential. However, due to relatively positive experiences of digital solutions it is expected that audiences will demand more of this in the future.

It is a simple fact that COVID-19 has forced everyone to realise that most events will in the future include an option not to physically attend. The obvious extension of that premise is an increase in hybrid events. For some this is seen as a challenge, however it should in reality be considered an opportunity that could actually deliver increased attendance, if handled correctly.

What was historically a conceptand a nice-to-have has become a necessity. In this respect, at the very least, COVID-19

It is clear that the COVID-19 situation is dynamic and fast moving – creating challenges for all sectors.