Association meetings press on with the help of digitalisation

Peralta: event revenues have been severely impacted

The Covid-19 pandemic may have disrupted the meetings segment with cancellations and postponements, but over the course of two years, associations have shown resilience and adaptability in their event management.

According to ICCA statistics, confirmed association meetings in Asia-Pacific from January 2022 up to December 2024 totalled more than 990, shared Waikin Wong, regional director, Asia Pacific, ICCA, a speaker at IT&CM Asia Knowledge Session, titled Meetings (Un)interrupted.

Peralta: event revenues have been severely impacted

She said that association meetings have adapted to the pandemic, and are more ready to embrace digital solutions to stay connected and to use virtual and hybrid meetings for knowledge exchange, capacity building and to leave a legacy.

“More and more associations are looking for professional (digital) solutions to run their meetings,” she added.

On the upside, virtual and hybrid solutions provide easier access to conferences, which can sometimes result in a 50 per cent increase in delegate attendance.

Octavio B Peralta, founder, president and CEO, Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives noted: “Despite the pandemic, associations to a large extent are being adaptable and resilient.”

Many associations are supporting one another by participating in virtual events and contributing content both on the local and international levels. However, they are faced with many challenges – key among them are the heavy declines in event revenue and sponsorship.

As such, Peralta said associations are looking for new revenue streams.

Recognising the importance of meetings, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has established a committee made up of selected ICCA Thailand members and industry thought leaders, to build new capabilities, and leverage trends and insights.

TCEB’s senior vice president – business, Nichapa Yoswee, added that the bureau is also working with member bureaus of the Asia Convention Alliance to look for new opportunities to revitalise business events.