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Meetings and Events Trends: Key Findings for 2021

Traditionally, this is a time for analyzing the year’s data on business travel, meetings and events to forecast for the year ahead. However, it’s been a year with a lot of uncertainty and it’s difficult to know where we will be in one or two months, much less in 9 or 12.

But, what we do know is what clients are seeing in their business and what they’ve shared with us. This collective insight allows us to understand where we are now so we can start looking ahead with an informed outlook to 2021 and beyond.

It’s time to start looking ahead so we can continue reinventing meeting strategies for where we will be tomorrow. As we do that, here’s what we know now.

Customer insights into
the future of meetings & events


  • 61% of our customers are in the process of creating a long-term virtual meetings strategy.
  • 59% of organizations say the return of meetings and events is a key priority for the business.
  • 44% of our customers say the value of a meetings management  program is higher than before the pandemic.
  • When it comes to outsourcing meetings & events, 79% of organizations will either increase outsourcing or have levels remain the same.

Group of meetings planners at laptop discussing meetings and events industry trends for 2021 | Global agency, BCD Meetings & Events

Related article: A Cloudy Crystal Ball for 2021, but Lots to Learn



  • 88% of organizations have either formed or are forming policies or guidelines for the return of safe face-to-face meetings & events.
  • The top four ways meetings policy will change moving forward are:
    • Additional pre-approvals required to hold F2F meetings & events
    • Requirement for more flexible contract terms
    • Prioritize virtual/hybrid above F2F
    • Meeting & event budget re-evaluation


  • 58% of clients believe meetings & events volume will return to 2019 levels by 2022
  • 64% of clients expect that the majority of their attendees in 2021 will prefer meetings and events to be held live with the option to attend virtually


  • The top 3 obstacle to returning to F2F are:
    • Social distancing while traveling and onsite at events
    • Ability to quarantine upon arrival and return
    • Health risks when attendees return home


Originally published Nov 23, 2020 11:14:43 AM
Last updated on Apr 6, 2023 4:47:30 PM

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Written by BCD Meetings & Events

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