February 15, 2022 | By Joyce DiMascio

Business Events Australia’s latest research confirms corporate decision makers in the domestic market are eager to get back to events and “just want to get on with it”.

Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed are planning events in the next six to 12 months – up five percent since the last research wave in October 2021 and 74 percent are planning events in the next 12 to 24 months, which is down seven percent on October, suggesting a greater focus on the short term for event planners.

The seventh wave of research surveyed 461 people between January 24 and February 7, 2022, who were all either solely or partly responsible for event decision making.

The findings reflect what events organisers interviewed by micenet have said over recent weeks as the Omicron wave recedes and state borders have reopened.

Ninety-one percent of those who usually hold one or more events overseas are likely to relocate at least one of these events to Australia over the next 12 months. The trend to stay local is playing out domestically as well, with 94 percent of businesses planning events in their home state or territory, although 76 percent of respondents also said they were comfortable with interstate travel for corporate events.

Forty-seven percent of those surveyed said they’d run events since March 2020 and 45 percent said they had not run any since March 2020 but intended to run them in the near future. Only eight percent don’t plan to run events in the near future.

Tourism Australia’s Executive General Manager of Commercial & Business Events Australia, Robin Mack, said it was good to see a resurgence of confidence.

“A growth in the proportion of businesses planning events in the next 6 to 12 months suggests a focus on short-term planning, while the desire to return to face-to-face events is clear.

“Despite COVID still being a factor in decision-making, the overall findings provide very positive news for Australia’s business events industry,” he said.

“We’re at the stage where we’re seeing a resilience develop amongst decision makers as we become used to living with COVID-19. The continued intent for many businesses to travel for events, along with a clear appetite to run larger scale events – such as state-level and national conferences – suggests that hopefully we won’t see the fluctuations in confidence that we have witnessed previously.”

He said Tourism Australia’s domestic business events strategy would “lean into” these trends to drive recovery in the weeks and months ahead.

“We’re on the cusp of launching some key initiatives targeting corporate decision-makers that will amplify how business events are critical to building and fostering culture, morale and performance in today’s hybrid working environment.”

The research shows there are positive indications regarding the number of events, allocated budget and the number of attendees with at least 81 percent of businesses saying these metrics will remain the same as pre-pandemic levels or increase.

The research also shows that COVID-19 still remains an influencing factor on decision making, with 23 percent saying COVID safety and the vaccination policies of venues are the top concerns when travelling interstate for events.