The return of corporate travel, professional meetings, conventions and events is expected to take four years or more to recover. Business travel spending is down 69% and spending related to meetings, conferences and events declined even further—down 76%. Until business travel, meetings and events are fully restored, the pace of economic recovery will continue to suffer.
Professional meetings and events (PMEs) are different than most types of gatherings, providing a controlled setting for the secure implementation of health and safety measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In fact, according to scientific modeling by the Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance and Epistemix, in-person PMEs pose a near-zero (0.001%) risk of COVID-19 transmission to attendees—even for large events.
Further, all business travel including to meetings, conventions and events, enable the restoration of highly valuable in-person connections. These face-to-face meetings are essential to building relationships, converting and retaining customers, networking and learning about the latest products, technologies and competitive offerings—opportunities that are simply irreplaceable in a virtual setting.
THE VALUE OF FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS IS IRREPLACEABLE
It may be surprising, but the top barriers to resume business travel are government and companies’ policies restricting travel, not the traveler themselves—less than one in 10 employees are unwilling to travel. In fact, 86% of business travelers are looking forward to getting back on the road.
OUTDATED GUIDANCE THAT CAN STALL ECONOMIC RECOVERY
Where much of the U.S. has reopened, large in-person meetings and events are currently being held safely. Other states are falling behind, based on a definition of “large gatherings” that groups professional meetings and events with informal mass gatherings that have less safety features. States and cities that have yet to align their regulations with the current science are missing out and ultimately hurting their communities.
SCIENCE SAYS: LARGE MEETINGS AND EVENTS CAN BE SAFE.
According to an analysis by the Ohio State University, professional meetings and events have “the advantage of being structured and well-organized large gatherings where mitigation factors can be enforced to protect the health and safety of those in attendance.”
ANALYSIS CONFIRMS PMES "HAVE NOT BEEN SUPER-SPREADER EVENTS."
According to scientific modeling by the Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance and Epistemix, in-person PMEs pose a near-zero (0.001%) risk of COVID-19 transmission to attendees—even for large events.
MEETINGS ARE HAPPENING SAFELY NOW.
The Meet Safe Platform showcases that—with proper implementation of health and safety measures—it’s safe to return to in-person meetings and events.
A Broad Reopening, but Stalled Economic Recovery
Across the U.S., states have largely lifted gathering restrictions and limitations, with most of the U.S. now open. Though this is good news for the restart of all sectors of the travel economy, the patchwork approach, based on outdated guidance does not protect the meetings and events industry in the future. The CDC should update the definition of "large gatherings" to provide a clear distinction between professional meetings and events (PMEs) and other large, informal gatherings. Should our progress on defeating the pandemic be interrupted, this updated guidance will ensure this vital sector and economic contributor does not suffer the same significant losses.
Safe Meetings are Returning Across the U.S.
In states where gathering limits have been lifted, successful and safe meetings and events are already taking place. These meetings, occurring in controlled environments and executed by professional meeting planners, have layers of health practices in place to ensure the overall health of safety of attendees and guests. Not only that, these meetings drive significant economic recovery to these local communities.
World of Concrete
Las Vegas Convention Center
60,000 attendeesLearn more about World of Concrete
Jewelers International Showcase
Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach, FL
3,000 buyers and 170 exhibitorsLearn more about Jewelers International Showcase
Mecum Auto Auction
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas
2,500 in-person attendeesLearn more about Mecum Auto Auction
Together Again Expo
Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando
1,405 in-person; 8,225 virtual attendeesLearn more about Together Again Expo
The Florida Transportation Builders’ Association (FTBA) Annual Construction Conference
Orange County Convention Center
1,200 attendeesLearn more about The Florida Transportation Builders’ Association (FTBA) Annual Construction Conference
Connect 2020 Marketplace
Orlando World Center Marriott
1000 in-person; 175 virtual attendeesLearn more about Connect 2020 Marketplace
Mecum Auctions 2020
800 in-person attendeesLearn more about Mecum Auctions 2020
21st Annual Meetings Industry Council (MIC) of Colorado Educational Conference and Trade
500 attendeesLearn more about 21st Annual Meetings Industry Council (MIC) of Colorado Educational Conference and Trade
600+ in person; 1,100+ virtual attendeesLearn more about WEC Grapevine
American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) Annual Meeting
497 in-person; 974 virtual attendeesLearn more about American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) Annual Meeting