More delegates, less money – ICCA statistics reveal typical lockdown meeting

The average association meeting was 50 per cent BIGGER last year – but only because they happened online, according to the 2020 ICCA statistics published today.

As associations shifted their in-person events to digital formats they were able to attract a bigger audience, with the average meeting going from 908 to 1,356 delegates.

But although this was good news from a numbers’ perspective, associations took a huge hit on registration fees, with average prices dropping from USD 525 to USD 211.

More than half (53%) of associations either postponed or cancelled their events in 2020, and despite all the hype around hybrid, this format only accounted for 1% of meetings last year.

Instead, virtual (no in-person component) was the alternative of choice, representing 30 per cent of meetings (2,505) and 37 per cent of total delegates (1.5 million).

Overall, there was a 75 per cent drop in the number of meetings held, from 13,252 in 2019 to just 3,484 last year, which resulted in an estimated USD9.2bn hit to the wider economy.

No region was unscathed by the pandemic, but the Middle East fared best with 19 per cent of its meetings unaffected, while Europe fared most badly with only 7 per cent of meetings unaffected.

ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath was keen to stress the 2020 statistics were not a ranking of regions, just an insight into how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the industry as a whole.

He said: “The past year has transformed the way the international association meetings industry does business. As a result, ICCA has also reinvented the 2020 ICCA Statistics Report on the association meetings market. We are excited to bring you this latest iteration of the report with a more holistic and accurate representation of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on association meetings globally.”

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