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Research by BMA House amongst buyers and delegates during April 2020, has highlighted significant shifts in approach towards face to face meetings going forward. 73% of meeting organisers confirmed they intend to increase online meetings going forward, this change was reflected in delegate opinion 89% of which said their online meeting attendance would increase.

The research also shows that hybrid meetings are expected to increase, with 45% of meeting organisers saying they will increase their use of hybrid formats. Supporting this, 31% of delegates who said their attendance at hybrid events were likely to increase.

In recognition of the need for people to develop relationships, 61% of organisers and 44% of attendees said they would like to see an increase in the social and networking elements of their events. However, worryingly for the face to face meetings sector – 39% of organisers intend to reduce their face to face meetings, whilst 55% of delegates said their face to face attendance would reduce. Just 3% of organisers and 0% of delegates expect face to face to increase.

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Kat Winfield

Venue manager at BMA House

“These figures represent a stark and significant shift for our industry but not an unexpected one,” comments Kat Winfield, venue manager at BMA House.“Most importantly, they demonstrate a call to action for venues in particular but also destinations, when it comes to long term planning and the integration of hybridisation into our offering. COVID-19 has demonstrated that much can still be achieved online, but in positive news for our industry, it has also demonstrated a significant desire amongst us all for more social opportunities. One-to-many learning can be achieved via a camera and screen but it simply doesn’t have the same level of impact when it comes to relationship building. Events and meetings will still take place, they will be in different formats and include a range of new tech, but people still want to meet, exchange ideas and develop friendships and relationships.”