- Many events did not move to virtual, but were postponed: 44% of meetings were postponed in 2020, showing some reluctance of the industry to move the magic of a big event to a (colder) online environment. 14% were simply cancelled. And only 30% moved to virtual.
- The vast majority of those meetings which were postponed remained loyal to the original destination.
- Unsurprisingly, virtual formats led to a surge in participants: the average international meeting had an attendance of 908 delegates in 2019, but its online version had an attendance of 1.356, a considerable increase of 50%.
- Less money: the average registration fee in a F2F event was 525 euros, the figure for the online version is 60% lower, at 211 euros.
- An economic bloodbath. The total volume of business of the industry was 10.8 Bn dollars, which dropped to 1.66Bn in 2020. A painful cut, especially hard when you know how important congresses are for the financing of international associations, and therefore their ability to survive and finance education of professionals.
- Analysis of the economic impact of COVID-19 (total expenditure 2019 vs. 2020) indicates the industry’s strong desire to return to face-to-face meetings. However, in the future, meetings are likely to include elements and best practices from virtual and hybrid events.
However, the association takes an overall positive view of the future, in this highly resilient industry. We adapted, integrated digital like never before, thought hard about the value associations bring to their members and to companies involved. A crisis helps question ways of working and focus on value when nothing comes easy. “The 2020 ICCA Statistics Report reveals many positive developments that can guide top-level decision makers within associations, sectors, and local governments. Above all, this report captures the incredible resilience of our community. We at ICCA World steadfastly believe that the global association meetings industry is entering a brighter, stronger future,” said ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath.