. Already, Virtual Meetings Are a Real Thing for Planners | Northstar Meetings Group

Already, Virtual Meetings Are a Real Thing for Planners

Almost all meeting producers are now working on digital events and feeling confident in their skills.

NMG Pulse Survey 9-17-20

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Since launching in March, Northstar's survey has helped industry professionals worldwide understand what planners and event organizers anticipate as we work to achieve recovery. See results from previous surveys here!

Planners have a relatively high degree of confidence in their ability to plan and produce virtual or hybrid events, according to Northstar Meetings Group's latest Pulse Survey. Respondents rated their skills in the digital realm a 6.9 on a 10-point scale, with 1 being "not at all capable" and 10 being "extremely capable." Just 13 percent reported a confidence level at 3 or lower.

Those skills are necessary now, as 90 percent of meeting planners are currently working on events that will have an online component, revealed the study. This latest poll was an abbreviated version of NMG's ongoing Pulse Survey, with a focus on virtual events and platforms, as well as planners' sentiment about in-person gatherings.

The research, conducted during the second week of September, garnered more than 300 responses. View the complete results, combined with the most recent expansive Pulse Survey findings, based on more than 800 respondents, here.

Following are the latest takeaways: 

The Learning Curve Has Been Swift

With only one in 10 planners not currently working on digital or hybrid events, they've had to dive in quickly. Beyond the many who rely on the simple functionality of Zoom and platforms like it (Microsoft TEAMS, Webex, On24, GoToMeeting, etc.), planners are using a wide range of digital platform suppliers. 

Two-thirds are licensing platforms directly from a vendor. Nearly three-quarters say in-house staff provides tech support for digital events.

They'd Rather Stay Home

The Pulse Survey has consistently revealed planners' low expectations for holding in-person meetings of any size this year. Per this week's research, they also show little interest in attending live meetings themselves. 

Webcast: The Pulse of the Meetings Industry
Are planners starting to book in-person meetings? If so, where and in what format? How have their priorities changed? Find out the answers to these questions and more from our recent webcast.

Even with established protocols and industry events that intend to go forward as hybrids, more than two-thirds of planners won't go to any in-person meetings this year. The primary reason, cited by 43 percent: They aren't comfortable attending live gatherings, regardless of location. More than one-third (37 percent) don't want to travel to attend a meeting. 

Those results mirror the sentiment expressed in the previous Pulse Survey, in which 87 percent of respondents cited fear regarding the safety of travel and gatherings — among their event owners, delegates and attendees — as a factor that significantly hinders their ability to plan and produce in-person events.

"We have to get over the fear factor and get back to traveling and meeting again," noted one respondent.

Beyond safety concerns, 40 percent note that the meetings they typically go to aren't happening live this year, and 38 percent can't attend due to their organizations' restrictions on business travel. 

Logging On — and Liking It

Most respondents – 94 percent – have attended virtual events this year. Overall, they have been pleased with those events, but not overwhelmingly so. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being completely satisfied, planners rated their digital meeting attendee experiences 6.7, on average.

NMG's Pulse Survey, launched in March 2020, tracks how the global pandemic has affected meeting planners, including their job status, business plans and projections for the future of their events. See results from previous surveys here.
Download the latest results here or see results from previous surveys.