June 18, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

The number of people planning events within the next year is rising, with Tourism Australia research flagging 74 percent of corporate decision-makers are planning events in the next six to 12 months – up eight percent since their previous sentiment research iteration in March – while the PCMA survey showed even more action, with 82 percent of respondents to their survey saying they were planning to deliver an in-person event this year.

Tourism Australia’s research – by its specialist business events unit Business Events Australia – charts the evolving attitudes of corporate decision-makers to restarting events. The latest wave polled 463 people either solely or partly responsible for event decision-making between May 11 and 24, 2021. PCMA surveyed 184 planners and suppliers between April 13 and 26.

Confidence to fly is also up according to Tourism Australia, with 67 percent of decision-makers saying that they were comfortable for both themselves and their staff to fly, a six percent increase since March. In the same survey, 74 percent of respondents said they were comfortable with interstate travel for events, up from 67 percent in March.

Where the surveys show a potential point of difference is among results relating in-person versus virtual and hybrid events.

Tourism Australia’s results show a bit of a move away from in-person events since their last research wave in March. In the latest wave of sentiment, 54 percent said they were planning face-to-face events, down from 61 percent in March.

Conversely, in PCMA’s survey, fewer respondents reported focussing on designing digital event experiences at 57 percent, down from 74 percent nine months earlier. However PCMA has not ruled out this result being partly due to increased experience with the digital format.

PCMA’s results also quantified the short lead times being reported by the industry – more than a third of respondents said they were making the call on live events within two months of the event date.

And finally, according to PCMA, the industry is more-or-less on the positive side, with 49 percent of respondents feeling either hopeful or inspired and creative.