Carrying out postponed events is the #1 priority
The first shock after the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic is over. The main question that arose these days was: How do we move forward after the coronavirus crisis? When will the nightmare end, when will people be able to meet again? How will we adjust to these new conditions? Should we move our events into the virtual space or do we postpone them? These are the questions that keep haunting meeting planners at night. Not a day goes by without us thinking about the future of our industry.
A very important matter for members of the meetings industry is also restarting marketing after the crisis. Kongres Magazine wanted to analyse your post-pandemic marketing plans and sales strategies, so we published a survey and shared it among readers.
This is the second survey in a series of research articles that tackle the most interesting trends in our industry. 361 meeting planners completed our survey, coming from the following fields:
- Agency (PCO, DMC) 31.0 %
- Meeting planner 23.0 %
- Destination Management Organisation 16.1 %
- Other 13.8 %
- Venue 12.6 %
- Government 3.4 %
– communication agency
– marketing and event agency
– technology provider
– international business events consultancy
– venue finder
FULL SURVEY REPORT
How confident are you in the meetings industry recovering after the COVID-19 crisis?
The answers to this question showed us just how uncertain the current situation is. 33.3% of respondents are not sure about the meetings industry recovering and 18.4% are pessimistic, which is quite alarming.
- Optimistic – 48.3 %
- Not sure – 33.3 %
- Pessimistic – 18.4 %
Compared to 2019, do you expect your marketing budget to change in 2020?
This part of the survey indicates that most companies just want to survive. Everyone wants to decrease their expenses, finding ways to save money. First on the list of things to eliminate is marketing and advertising. Marketing presents an unnecessary expense for many companies right now and almost 70% of respondents expect their marketing budget to decrease. Many of them have already decreased it drastically or ruled it out completely.
- Decrease – 67.8 %
- Stay the same – 23.0 %
- Increase – 8.0 %
- Not sure – 1.1 %
What do you think will be your top priority in 2020?
Priorities have been turned upside down in this unprecedented situation. The top priorities are:
- 34.5 % – Carrying out postponed events
- 25.3 % – Improving engagement with clients
- 13.8 % – Reaching a relevant audience
- 11.5 % – Revenue increase
- 8.0 % – Carrying out cancelled events
- 4.6 % – Increasing the number of events
- 2.3 % – Increase in sales
Which of the following offline/online communication channels are you using during this crisis?
At the moment, most of us are working from home and the use of social media skyrocketed during the lockdown. They are a key communicational tool, but communicating through websites and portals is also high on the list (22.54 %). 17.61 % of respondents use direct marketing tools such as newsletters and e-mail. Classical media like TV and radio are barely in use. One of the interviewees mentioned: “I am staying in touch with clients one-on-one”.
- 23.59 % – Social (Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram etc)
- 22.54 % – Website
- 17.61 % – Direct Marketing (newsletter, e-mail)
- 9.51 % – Online events (webinars)
- 9.15 % – Partners
- 4.23 % – Influencer Marketing
- 3.52 % – Blogs
- 2.46 % – International Press
- 2.46 % – TV
- 2.46 % – Podcasts
- 2.11 % – Radio
- 0.35 % – Other
Is there a marketing tool or communication channel that you started using now and didn’t use before?
Many meeting planners have shifted their focus toward digital marketing tools. These are the tools that they are using now:
- Youtube channel
- Video streaming
- Telegram channels
- We are planning on starting to use webinars
- No, because we stopped all the marketing actions and froze our budget (no costs are allowed)
Which lead generation tool will become the most important after the crisis?
The most interesting segment of answers is connected to lead generation tools. On top of the list are sales calls, social media and content marketing, followed by classical pre-crisis tools that interviewees have not yet counted out.
- Sales calls – 9.2
- Social media – 8.9
- Content marketing – 8.4
- Direct mail – 7.5
- Trade shows – 6.9
- SEO – 6.4
- Traditional advertising – 4.9
- Telemarketing – 4.0
- Print media – 3.9
- Guerilla marketing – 3.3
- Chatbots – 2.5
In which of the following digital distribution channels will you INVEST MORE after the crisis?
Websites, social media and email marketing will see the most investments after the crisis. We are seeing a big rise in popularity in online events that are also quite high on the list. The number of people investing in video advertising is slowly increasing.
- 18.43 % – Website
- 18.09 % – Social (Facebook, Linkedin)
- 11.26 % – E-mail
- 8.87 % – Online events (webinars)
- 8.53 % – SEO (Organic Search)
- 7.85 % – Social Communities
- 7.17 % – Video Advertising
- 5.80 % – Mobile App
- 4.10 % – PPC (Paid Search)
- 3.41 % – Blogs
- 3.07 % – Online Display Ads
- 2.37 % – Affiliate Marketing
- 0.68 % – Other
How useful will the following sources be when it comes to finding information on event destinations or event venues after the crisis?
When asked to rate the usefulness of individual sources for finding information on event venues, direct contacts came on top. According to the respondents, direct contacts, friends and colleagues are the most useful sources of information.
- 3.95 – Direct contacts
- 3.64 – Friends and colleagues
- 3.52 – Convention Bureaus / Tourist organisations
- 3.51 – Google
- 3.47 – Fam trips to destinations
- 3.46 – Local meeting planners
- 3.45 – Social media
- 3.35 – Trade Shows
- 3.15 – Meetings industry magazines
- 3.01 – Venue finding agencies
How satisfied are you with international MICE associations as a marketing tool during the crisis?
It has become obvious that most meeting planners have stopped relying on the help of international MICE associations for marketing.
- 53.5 % – Neutral
- 20.9 % – Somewhat Satisfied
- 11.6 % – Somewhat Dissatisfied
- 8.1 % – Very Dissatisfied
- 5.8 % – Totaly Satisfied
What is the first thing you will do when the crisis is over?
- 41.0 % – Visit friends and relatives
- 16.3 % – Have a drink with friends
- 12.3 % – Enjoy a nice meal in a restaurant
- 10.5 % – Travel somewhere/take a vacation
- 8.1 % – Different answer
- 5.8 % – Visit a barber and hair dresser
- 3.5 % – Stay in self-isolation at home
- 1.0 % – Attend a concert
- 1.0 % – Go to the movies
Some additional answers:
- take a breath and a long walk in Nature
- get drunk!
- work harder than before
- nothing because the crisis will not be solved so shortly
If we go silent during this critical time, chances are brands will go elsewhere. When do you think is the best time to start marketing your product again?
This segment does not need too much explaining. The opinion is unified; we should start with marketing activities right away. We will see how much of that enthusiasm actually transfers into practice.
- 52,7 % – Now
- 18.2 % – Right after the situation goes back to normal
- 10.9 % – After the cancellation of events is over
- 9.1 % – Next year
- 7.3 % – Other
- 1.8 % – It’s better to stay silent
- 0.0 % – Never
Some additional answers:
- Two actions at the same time: to postpone the events and to invent something new
- Step by step according to how the situation in my country and other countries is improving
- right after the isolation is over
- stay in contact
5 MAJOR CHALLENGES
Write down 5 major marketing challenges that we will face after we’ve beaten the coronavirus crisis?
Here are some of the most interesting answers that we received to this question:
1. Distrust and fear of traveling abroad
- The burning question… is it safe to travel?
- You should build trust that your country is safe to travel to and not to write that in every PR, story!
- Public fear of gathering
- Uncertainty about tomorrow
2. Security problems with transportation
- Getting people to travel again
3. Security problems during events with many people
- Activate the trust in meeting
4. Cleaniness and sanitation of hotels and restaurants
- Safety and higiene of the venues
- Assurance of health and safety
5. Overload of information
- Lack of proper content
- Much more content on social media and internet in general
- Everyone advertising at the sime time
- Overflow/excess of advertising coming from destinations/providers
- Very similar advertising formats/content
6. New event formats
- Sales events in the style of M&I forum are dead
- Bring the people back from virtual and online events to real meetings
- “Business card collecting” at sales events and exhibitions is not a key for success
- New line of business for those depending of on-site activities are needed
- Cheaper but more flexible events
7. Low budgets
- Potential decrease and redistribution of clients’ budgets
- Price dropping – how to get on the same level as before the crisis
- Get budgets on the same level as they were planed before crisis
- Budgets won’t be big enough to produce or attend events
8. Market segmentation
- Not all markets will recover at the same time/in the same way