With an exclusive focus on COVID-19, the FICP Spring 2020 Pulse Survey saw high participation from both the meetings professionals and hospitality partners who have been impacted by the global pandemic. The survey is intended to provide a point-in-time look at plans and reactions as of late April 2020.
As expected, this survey found significant disruptions to planned meetings and events and suppliers' business starting in the second quarter of the year. Questions explored the number of meetings originally planned for 2020 by type and quarter, and overall what the outcomes of those meetings were at that time, how virtual meetings had been employed thus far and how suppliers were responding to all of these changes to meetings and events.
Download the full Spring 2020 Pulse Survey report or view highlights for each audience below.
Meetings Professional Findings – Spring 2020 Pulse Survey
Prior to the pandemic, the majority of respondents were planning between 1-5 incentive programs and 6-10 corporate/business meetings for each quarter of 2020. Approximately 10% of respondents were planning 25+ corporate meetings (presumably road-show type events) in each quarter of the year.
Impacts of the Pandemic on Meetings/Events
In April 2020, meetings and events that were noted as to be determined were more likely to be those in the third and fourth quarters of the year. Due to the nature of those programs (and the inability to host those virtually), incentive programs were more likely than corporate/business and "other" meeting types to be cancelled or rescheduled.
For 67% of respondents, availability was the top challenge experienced in April 2020 by meetings professionals when attempting to reschedule a meeting or event. A small proportion of respondents (16%) noted they were forced to move their meeting to a new destination altogether or a new location within a destination, primarily as a result of these challenges with availability.
Virtual Meeting Activity
- Nearly half (45%) of respondents indicated they were not holding cancelled or rescheduled meetings virtually.
- Virtual meetings were used by more respondents for smaller groups (fewer meeting participants), and the use of virtual meetings was similar across financial services and insurance companies.
- The top challenges noted by both meetings professionals and hospitality partners in the use of virtual meetings for their own or their clients' events was participant comfort with the platform (ex. Individual technical skills.
Hospitality Partner Findings – Spring 2020 Pulse Survey
In April 2020, the average percentage of business impacted by all hospitality partner respondents was 75%. As a result of these impacts, the majority of suppliers experienced employee layoffs or furloughs, reduced work schedules and executive pay reductions at their companies as a result.
About their Clients’ Meetings
Most hospitality partners (89%) indicated they are working with clients on a case-by-case basis on responses to meetings and events that have been cancelled or rescheduled. They emphasized the importance of long-term relationships in open-end feedback about these responses. A similar number (89%) indicated they had already assisted clients with rescheduling a meeting or event venue, with roughly one-third of respondents indicating they had added value for their clients by also helping them identify new evening/off-site activities, speakers or entertainment, or virtual event solutions.
As of April 2020, most hospitality partner respondents (85%) indicated that at least some of their clients had agreed to forfeit all or part of their deposits in recognition of work performed to date. Those at DMCs noted a higher proportion of clients willing to forfeit deposits than their counterparts at hotels.
About the Spring Pulse Survey
In April 2020, meetings professionals and hospitality partners were invited to take the Spring 2020 Pulse Survey to document the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to meetings and events and their businesses. Download your full copy of the Spring 2020 Survey report for additional insight from your peers, and stay tuned for future Pulse Survey invitations.