COVID-19 has directly impacted many businesses and individuals around the world, including Australia. Just like elsewhere the meetings industry has been hit particularly hard. Business Events Australia understands that the survival of the Australian industry calls for serious collaboration. They initiated a program to drive demand and generate business for the country and are inviting ambitious event planners to partner with them for effective solutions.
Business Events Australia set up the so-called Advance Program, which is a partnership marketing initiative to help drive the local economy. The program provides financial assistance to support marketing and distribution projects aimed at driving business events visitation to Australia. It offers the opportunity for the meetings industry to leverage the international marketing and distribution expertise of Tourism Australia. This, in turn, is expected to increase the number and value of business events in Australia and grow international delegate attendance at international business events taking place in the country.
MORE THAN JUST FINANCIAL AID
The help, however, goes beyond financial aid as it encompasses all the vital activities to support event professionals in their planning and execution of events. The advance program supports a wide range of activity, including targeted delegate acquisition activity for a specific confirmed event in Australia, digital marketing strategies, creation of content or collateral (video, podcasts, website, …) to support and help convert international evet bids, distribution activity (strategic fam trips and targeted site inspections), key marketing or distribution activities delivered in key international markets, PR activity for editorial coverage, bespoke and innovative marketing campaigns or content production, virtual marketing or training concepts that increase consideration of Australian destinations for events and more.
The aim of the program is to properly support event planners in any way they may need to bring more events to Australia and execute them successfully. The understanding is that international events bring in direct revenue as well as potential future business opportunities. It is a smart and forward-looking way of ensuring that the meetings industry and business tourism keep afloat after the trying pandemic period and don’t lose talented and experienced workforce and with it its momentum.
LOST BUSINESS REPORT
Australia has been proactive about ensuring the meetings industry will not fall victim to the COVID-19 crisis. The Business Events Council of Australia conducted a Lost business report, measuring the impact of the pandemic on the Australian meetings industry in terms of lost revenue. Digging into business lost by market segment, the number of people losing their jobs, and total event days lost they intended to measure business confidence in recovering from the crisis and rebuilding.
The findings are shocking and reflect the picture of countries all around the world. Almost all business events planned to take place in 2020 in Australia have been cancelled or postponed. A meagre 4 % are still going ahead or have already taken place before the pandemic. In financial terms, this means a revenue loss of something between $29.4 and $35.7 billion over the next 12-15 months. Furthermore, staffing losses between the end of 2019 to 30 June 2020 are estimated at 92.260. The report concludes that three in five businesses in the meetings industry (59 %) believe it will take them a year or longer to recover from the pandemic crisis.