PCMA Releases Updated Business Events Compass Report

Global stakeholder research finds Asia Pacific (APAC) is leading the way to recovery; short-term pivots to digital events are fueling long-term innovation

CHICAGO, Illinois, USA – PCMA today released an update to Business Events Compass, an actionable framework of insights and strategies for business event professionals and their business partners during the pandemic and beyond. The best case for economic recovery of the business events sector to pre-COVID levels is now expected to take place in Q3 2022 or later. The effectiveness of COVID-19 containment measures across APAC is a reason for optimism, with elevated prospects for a continued recovery in the region. 45% of APAC survey respondents expect to attend local events in 2021 and 20% expect to attend regional or national events. This compares to 22% and 15%, respectively, for US/Canada.

Compass continues to point to the APAC region as leading the global recovery for business events,” said PCMA president and CEO Sherrif Karamat, CAE. “PCMA is holding the inaugural Convening Asia Pacific: The Global Recovery Forum next month to identify compelling insights and best practices for managing face-to-face and digital events that apply to business events stakeholders everywhere.”

The new edition of the PCMA Foundation–funded report features ongoing global event participant survey insights obtained in July and September, along with recent real-life examples of business event experimentation, new business models and reskilling.

Compass now projects continued sluggish demand for face-to-face business events through 2021, with 39% of survey respondents expecting a 50% or greater decline in their 2021 face-to-face business event participation compared to 2019 levels. Pent-up demand will manifest, particularly in some key industry sectors such as health care, in the form of increases in internal and local face-to-face event participation in 2021.

Business events participants, event professionals, and Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) are finding that their recent short-term pivots to omnichannel and digital events have had unexpected and positive consequences – specifically, such pivots are paving the way for long-term innovations in how events are marketed, executed and monetized.

Multichannel and digital events present organizations with such opportunities as:

  • Varying event length – for example, a previously three-day event can now be spread over three weeks for improved engagement and memory retention.
  • Global reach – organizations can cost-effectively draw audience members from around the world.
  • Leveraging artificial intelligence to assess user profiles and customize participants’ experience in a way that directly drives relevant information to them.
  • Providing participants with a polished, well-produced broadcast that is as engaging as watching a television program.

Compass is all about bringing theoretical strategies to life,” said Karamat. “To paint a picture of how organizations, brands, and communities are experimenting, elevating, rethinking, and reimagining business events in the Next Normal, we interviewed luminaries with varied viewpoints from an array of entities – Accenture, Storycraft Lab, American Society for Nutrition, Realcomm and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, to name a few. With the pandemic continuing to impact economies, travel demand and health and safety regulations around the world, Compass provides the data, the expert perspectives and the case studies that will enable businesses to intelligently invest so they can continue to thrive.”

Comprehensive Global Methodology

Supported by a PCMA Foundation investment, PCMA Insights – PCMA’s global consulting practice – undertook an unprecedented assembly of global data and perspectives to inform development of the insights and strategies in Compass. This included six PCMA Think Tanks with over 130 global business event leaders, business sentiment surveys from thousands of PCMA members and global stakeholders, surveys of frequent business event participants, surveys with chief human resource officers, and interviews with global brand and association leaders. Learnings were supplemented with reviews of regional pandemic health policies and analysis of global econometric recovery models. The Oct. 2020 report features global business event participant survey insights obtained in July and September 2020 that represent more than 1,700 business event experiences. In addition, industry leaders contributed best-in-class examples of business event experimentation, new business models, and reskilling.

Where and How to Get More Information on the Full Report

An executive summary of Business Events Compass is available free of charge on the PCMA website to all members ($49 USD to non-members). A subscription to the full service and inaugural report, including updates through December 2020, is available for $495 USD for members ($895 for non-members).




PCMA Insights is PCMA’s in-house consulting practice that helps destinations and brands accelerate economic and social transformation through business events. PCMA Insights draws upon its rich collection of industry data and trends, thought-leadership research and best practices to develop actionable recommendations that drive performance for its global clients.


The role of the Foundation of PCMA is to support the mission of PCMA through fundraising and grant giving focused on scholarships, education and research that will advance the business events industry. Annually the Foundation funds over $600K in impact, and since 1985 has funded over 1,600 scholarships, 100 research studies and education programs, and $2.5M in charitable giving.

For media queries from the Americas, APAC, EMEA, and requests for interviews with Sherrif Karamat, please contact: Meghan Risch, PCMA Chief of Staff, Vice President, Corporate Communications

About PCMA

PCMA, PCMA Foundation and CEMA educate, inspire, and listen, creating meaningful experiences where passion, purpose and commerce come together. We are the world’s largest community for Business Events Strategists, providing senior-level education, networking, and market intelligence for the global business events industry. Our mission is to drive social and economic progress through business events. Headquartered in Chicago, IL PCMA has 17 North American Chapters, regional communities in APAC, EMEA and LATAM, and members in 59 countries. The Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA), a PCMA subsidiary, advances strategic event marketing and marketing communications for senior-level event marketers and industry professionals. Visit us at pcma.org.

About PCMA Foundation

The role of the Foundation of PCMA is to support the mission of PCMA through fundraising and grant-giving focused on scholarships, education and research that will advance the business events industry. Annually the Foundation funds over $700K in impact, and since 1985 has funded over 2,500 scholarships, 100 research studies and education programs, and $2.7M in charitable giving.

About CEMA

The Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA) is the eminent community for senior event executives, association peers and industry partners and is an integral component of the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) brand collective. CEMA promotes professional networking opportunities, facilitates peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and drives industry standards. Through strong relationships with strategic partners, CEMA fosters both finding innovative solutions to business issues and continuous focus on members’ career growth. For more information, please visit http://www.cemaonline.com.

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