The Business Events sector for Tourism New Zealand has released research findings which reveal that New Zealanders now put greater value on face-to-face meetings – with 97% of the 125 surveyed organisations* saying they are planning to hold a business event in 2021.

“We used to take meeting in person for granted and when we weren’t able to, we realised the value of face-to-face. This is reflected in the increasing number of people planning to hold an event in 2021,” says Lisa Gardiner, Tourism New Zealand Global Manager Business Events.

97% of the surveyed organisations say they are planning to hold a business event in 2021.

The findings also highlight an increasingly positive attitude towards business events:

  • 92% of respondents consider in-person conferences and offsite meetings important for their organisation (up from 79% in the May 2020 survey);
  • 56% said they appreciate the importance of face to face meetings more now than pre-Covid-19 (up from 39% in May);
  • Respondents said 65% of their events planned for 2021 are in person only, 43% are hybrid, and only 16% are virtual only;
  • Challenges around networking was the main barrier to adopting a hybrid or virtual format.
92% of respondents consider in-person conferences and offsite meetings important for their organisation.

Despite the positive outlook, uncertainty about the future means just over half of the respondents (57%) are confident that their event will go ahead as planned.

Social distancing, greater flexibility with changes and cancellations, and providing tech solutions are now cited as important criteria used for assessing destinations for meetings and conferences.

Gardiner adds: “While this research suggests technology is unlikely to fully replace the need for in-person conferences, our industry has room to improve to meet the growing demand for hybrid events, ensuring high-quality technical delivery and increasing engagement at multi-platform events.”

*The results drew on the opinions of decisions makers from 125 New Zealand based organisations who have held business events in the past three years. The sample included: 59 Associations, 41 Not For Profit organisations, 21 Corporates, and 4 ‘Others’. The survey was conducted between 1 and 12 November by Kantar.

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