The results of a new survey just out from Technology Meetings indicate — no surprise — a significant decrease in meetings and meeting attendance for 2001, but hold out some optimism for meetings in 2002.
Almost a third of respondents (28 percent) say they plan to hold fewer meetings in 2001 than in previous years, and for the meetings that will go on, 40 percent expect a decline in attendance and an equal number expect a decline in exhibitors.
Clearly, technology event planners will be wrestling with their cancellation andclauses this year, but generally, it seems they are taking the long view. Asked to characterize the effect of the economic slowdown on meetings, only 7.2 percent of respondents called the situation “very significant,” with another 20 percent labeling it “significant.” More than a third (36 percent) say the economy's impact on meetings is “not significant,” with about an equal number considering the impact to be “somewhat significant.”
Speculating on meetings and events for 2002, two out of three respondents don't expect the number of meetings they plan to be cut any more. Only 8 percent see further meeting cancellations; a third say they aren't sure what will happen. The attendance slump is predicted to be a bit more intense. A quarter of the survey respondents have downsized their projections for 2002 meeting attendance, while another 18.5 percent aren't sure if they will or not.
The eight-question e-mail survey, conducted this May, received 125 useable responses (a 7.1 percent response rate) from a random sampling of the event planner readership of Technology Meetings.