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Planners Slightly More Positive on Face-to-Face Events in 2020

Survey finds nearly half of meeting professionals expect resumption of in-person gatherings by first half of 2021

A recent survey of meeting planners found a slight increase in the number who believe face-to-face meetings will resume before the end of 2020 increased slightly. The three percent uptick – from 18 percent to 21 percent – was one of the findings in the weekly survey by i-Meet, a platform for meeting professionals, which was taken the week ending Aug. 23.

Other key findings showed that nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of planners have events booked and contracted in 2020 or 2021. Nearly as many (69 percent) of anticipate they will see the resumption of face-to-face events sometime in 2021, with half of those surveyed (49 percent) saying face-to-face events will return in the first half of 2021.

There was also a 3-point uptick in the number who said face-to-face meetings will resume in the fourth quarter of 2020, 13 percent up from 10 percent the previous week. Uncertainty around a time to resume face-to-face events is at 11 percent (up from 10 percent the previous week).

While COVID-19 restrictions and technology are changing the makeup of meetings, many planners say the demand for face-to-face get-togethers is likely to be resilient. Asked which event types would be operating initially, small drive-to events were named by 67 percent while hybrids were named by 70 percent.

The types of events planners say are least likely to come back immediately are international events and cruises.