Amex M&E Forecasts Lower Budgets in 2021, More Virtual and Hybrid Events
Company sees significant decrease in attendance at larger meetings, more focus on small and simple gatherings >>
by: Harvey Chipkin
Meetings in 2021 will see reduced budgets and a greater reliance on virtual and hybrid (combined in-person and virtual) events, according to the 2021 Global Meetings and Events Forecast from American Express Meetings & Events. The report broke out small and simple meetings as a separate category for the first time, and responding meeting professionals said these would be the most common type of meetings held in 2021 in all formats (in-person, hybrid and virtual) at 21%, followed by internal meetings at 18%. For meetings in general, respondents expect to see a drop in activity levels ranging from decreases of 1.3% for internal meetings to 4.4% for conferences and trade shows. The expected meeting length for in-person events is expected to range from 1.5 days for small and simple meetings to 3.1 days for incentives and special events. Meeting length for virtual and hybrid events is measured in hours, with conferences and trade shows coming in longest at 7.8 hours per event, and small and simple meetings averaging 3.1 hours. The predicted cost per attendee per day ranged from a low of $426 for small and simple meetings to a high of $906 for incentives and special events. For overall meeting spend, respondents estimated that budgets would decrease by 3.7% globally. When asked what area they would cut first if budgets needed to be reduced, 27% of respondents selected off-site optional activities, and 18% chose to reduce either the number of nights or off-site evening events. Conversely, if budgets were increased, 33% said they would prefer to use the extra funds to improve the on-site experience. Initial face-to-face meetings are expected to be small, regionally focused and in a hybrid format.