Survey Highlights Economic Effect of COVID and Strategies for Future Events

Conferences, trade shows, seminars, and in-person training programs represent a significant portion of any association’s annual revenue. Of the 1,020 association executives responding to a mid-March Association Laboratory Inc. survey, 56% reported cancellation or postponement of a face-to-face meeting.

Other findings from respondents who canceled an event include:

  • 65% lacked insurance that covered all incurred costs
  • 30% carried no event insurance
  • 65% fully refunded registration fees
  • 25% fully refunded sponsorship funds
  • 28% fully refunded exhibitor fees

The economic impact of COVID will mean budgetary and programmatic changes at their associations according to 73% of respondents. The changes include:

  • 77% will reduce discretionary spending
  • 72% will use reserves to cover lost revenue
  • 91% will use virtual platforms for Board and other small face-to-face meetings
  • 57% will increase investment in online education
  • 53% will increase investment in virtual conferences
  • 50% will increase hybrid events that allow attendees to participate in person or virtually

To see a copy of the full report that includes other event and marketing strategies associations anticipate for the future, go to the Association Laboratory website.