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2021 Meetings Today Trends Survey

February 2, 2021
2021 Meetings Today Trends Survey

What a wholly unprecedented, roller coaster of a year it’s been since the last Meetings Today Trends Survey—a roller coaster ride that basically went down, down, down…

It goes without saying that we massively retooled our annual Meetings Today Trends Survey to gauge the fallout from COVID-19 and its crippling effect on the MICE industry.

Following are graphics reflecting highlights of this year’s survey, which reflect a mixed bag as we look forward to vaccines that will inch us toward that ever-elusive “herd immunity,” even as at the time of publication infection and mortality rates had grown to record levels and a new, more-transferable variant of the virus has raised alarm globally.

A true recovery still seems only a possibility in the second half of 2021, but that means the booking window is open now.

Look for coverage of all of these important issues in the months ahead. See the full survey in the Jan/Feb digital magazine.

Results of the 2021 Meetings Today Trends Survey

Drum roll please. Following are the results of the 2021 Meetings Today Trends Survey:

1. How many in-person meetings did you cancel/postpone in 2020?

It was a close call between those canceling/postponing 1-5 events and those who had to do more than 20. Only 2.62% of responders didn’t have to cancel or postpone any events.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 1-5: 29.84%
  • 6-10: 22.3%
  • 11-20: 14.75%
  • More than 20: 30.49%
  • None: 2.62%

How many in-person meetings did you cancel/postpone in 2020?

2. Are you female or male?

  • Female: 84.79%
  • Male: 14.89%
  • Prefer not to say: > 1%

3. Have you been laid off/furloughed in the last year?

  • No: 87.7%
  • Yes: 12.3%

4. Have your attendees, or prospective attendees expressed a reluctance to travel until a COVID-19 vaccine is readily available, or the pandemic lessens significantly?

  • Yes: 83.33%
  • No: 3.92%
  • I don’t know: 12.75%

5. If you were laid-off/furloughed in the last year, have you returned to your previous organization or another organization in the MICE industry?

  • I have returned to my previous organization: 65.06%
  • I have returned to the MICE industry at another organization: 2.41%
  • I am still looking for employment in the MICE industry: 13.25%
  • I am considering leaving the MICE industry: 13.25%
  • I have left the MICE industry: 6.02%

Hybrid6. Are you generally confident in the hotel/facility/destination COVID-19 protocol/safety efforts?

  • Yes: 69.81%
  • No: 5.84%
  • Undecided: 24.35%

7. Do you plan to offer hybrid meetings in the future?

  • Considering it: 37.7%
  • Yes: 55.08%
  • No: 7.21%

8. Have you thought about changing your career as a meeting/event planner in the last year?

  • Yes: 31.7%
  • No: 68.3%

Career Change

9. How satisfied are you in your career choice as a meeting planner?

  • Very satisfied: 57.52%
  • Somewhat satisfied: 27.78%
  • Content: 10.13%
  • Not very satisfied: 3.59%
  • Not satisfied at all: 0.98%
How Satisfied Are You in Your Career Choice as a Meeting/Event Planner?

10. What safety protocols are you implementing?

  • Social distancing: 79.05%
  • Requiring masks: 74.32%
  • Offering hybrid meeting components: 63.51%
  • Eliminating or reducing networking/social events: 45.61%
  • Attendee onsite temperature checks: 39.86%
  • Splitting meetings into smaller sizes, aka, “multi-location connected meetings”: 25%
  • Other: 20.95%
  • Moving to drive-to/regional meetings: 14.53%

[Related: Tap This Rapid Onsite COVID Testing Service]

11. What is the expected attendance at the in-person meetings and events you plan in 2021 (not including virtual)?

  • 1-50: 18%
  • 101-200: 14%
  • 201-300: 11%
  • 301-500: 10%
  • 501-750: 5%
  • 750-1,000: 7%
  • 1,000+: 13%

Expected in-person attendance

12. In the wake of COVID-19, what is your biggest challenge when planning meetings in the coming year?

In the Wake of COVID-19, What Is Your Biggest Challenge When Planning Meetings in the Coming Year?

When do You Expect to Offer In-Person Meetings Again?13. How important is bandwidth, technology and other hybrid event capabilities to your selection of facilities?

  • Critically important: 37.91%
  • Very important: 40.52%
  • Somewhat important: 19.61%
  • Not at all: 1.96%

14. When do you expect to offer in-person meetings again?

  • We are offering them now: 4.85%
  • Q1 2021: 3.24%
  • Q2 2021: 21.36%
  • Q3 2021: 34.95%
  • Q4 2021: 18.12%
  • After 2021: 17.48%

Download Our Free eHandbook: The New Normal eHandbook

Read next: How Hotels and Convention Centers Are Stepping Up to Meet Hybrid Event Needs