PCMA and AC Forum Release Digital Events Outlook Report and Checklist

December 29, 2021

Following the surge in online events that has swept the industry since the pandemic started, the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and networking platform AC Forum have unveiled Digital Events Outlook: Insights, Behaviours, Best Practices. Funded by the PCMA Foundation, the report aims to demystify key myths about digital events and provide event organizers with a checklist for planning them in the future.

The release of the research findings coincides with a two-year strategic partnership between PCMA and AC Forum that is intended to strengthen both organizations through collaboration, advocacy and advancing the professional development of their respective communities.

For the report, the two entities collaborated earlier this year to survey a global network of association and corporate event professionals who conducted a digital event within the past 15 months. Criteria for participation in the survey included running events that attracted 250-plus delegates and was previously held in-person as a paid-for event. Respondents were asked specific questions about their experiences running the event and transitioning from in-person to digital.

“Without question, the pandemic has been a wake-up call for everyone, every industry. It changed the way our members and audiences engage with business events but not their desired outcomes from business events,” said Sherrif Karamat, president and CEO of PCMA. “This important research validates that sentiment.”

He added, “We have established an excellent relationship with AC Forum over the few years, and we are delighted to continue with a formalized strategic partnership that will benefit our communities and the global business events industry.”

Following the survey of professionals, a steering committee, comprising both PCMA and AC Forum members who were instrumental in designing the project, reviewed the research and provided instrumental feedback. The consensus from these industry leaders is that the research findings provide valuable and actionable insights for businesses and organizations engaging audiences and customers in digital, hybrid and omnichannel events.

The new strategic partnership will include, but is not limited to, co-creation of education and joint activities that benefit the community, including PCMA’s Convening EMEA 2022 and facilitating the exchange of knowledge and intelligence between the respective communities.

“We can achieve more when we work in partnership with organizations that share our values and objectives,” said Tracy Bury, president of AC Forum. “Through this collaboration, AC Forum and PCMA will be better placed to serve our respective members and ultimately the communities they all serve for wider societal and environmental benefit.”

Bury added, “We started 2020 with little data to inform critical changes that our associations were needing to make to deliver events and connect their own communities to advance knowledge and create impact. Many in the health sector areas directly linked to responding to the consequences of COVID-19.”

According to Bury, as the organizations enter 2022, they are better placed to make data-informed decisions arising from this research and the insights shared.

“We look forward to the ongoing partnership we have established to advance thought leadership and education for our members and the wider community,” he said.

At PCMA’s Convening EMEA 2021 in Lausanne, Switzerland in October, the session Digital Event Insights to Guide Future Audience Engagement featured presenters who broke down the findings of the survey, shared digital event insights, busted key myths about digital events, and outlined considerations for organizers planning digital events in future.

The full report and Digital Event Planning checklist can be downloaded here

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