Respect site selection priorities Change, promote strict health protocols
Perhaps not surprisingly, health-related factors figure prominently for corporate meeting planners during the site selection process, according to a new survey. About 71 percent of corporate meeting planners who responded to a Northstar Meetings Group survey indicated that strict health and safety policies and culture were a “very important” factor when making decisions. concerning the choice of a site. The same percentage also noted that the prevalence of Covid-19 infections was also a very important consideration.
Still, a third said the location with minimum health and safety policies was very important, with another 38 percent calling it “somewhat important.”
Northstar Meetings Group conducted the survey from February 16 to March 4, 2021 and received 189 responding business planners. BTN, like Northstar Meetings Group, is owned by Northstar Travel Group.
Meanwhile, 29% of those surveyed cited hotels offering Covid-19 testing as a very important consideration when choosing a site, while 47% rated it quite important. Almost a quarter did not consider testing in hotels to be an important factor, while a third similarly indicated testing in convention centers.
Health and safety certifications were cited by 45% as a very important factor and 40% as a fairly important factor. About 86 percent of respondents indicated that the quality and availability of medical facilities was very or somewhat important.
The current state of a destination and the local gathering restrictions due to Covid-19 for 52% of respondents still influence their likelihood of reserving that market for a future event, with 44% indicating that this is sometimes the case.
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In another expected outcome, the overall priorities of meeting planners have changed since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic for around 87% of respondents: 55% say they have changed significantly and 32% say they have changed somewhat.
Additionally, 61 percent indicated that recent civil unrest played some role in their site selection processes, and 43 percent indicated that they would avoid civil unrest sites. About a third said their priorities had not changed following the recent unrest.
Meanwhile, 55% of respondents said they would avoid cities with high crime rates, and the ability to assess police and security availability was a factor for 41% of respondents.
When planning a meeting or in-person event, a destination’s favorable reputation was the # 1 factor for site selection, cited as very important by 76% of respondents and quite important by 22% . A venue’s robust bandwidth for hybrid events came second: 64% rated it very important and 26% rated it quite important. The third most important factor was a favorable climate for the site, rated by 59 percent as very important and 35 percent as somewhat important.
Business planners surveyed rated the availability of affordable flights, hotels and meals as the most important logistical consideration, with 77% citing it as very important. No.2 was sufficient airlift, 51%. Being within easy driving distance for participants was rated very important by 45 percent of respondents and somewhat important by 37 percent.
Having personal contact in hotels was found to be very important for 50% of respondents, with an additional 35% indicating that it was quite important. Prior experience with the destination was Very Important for 43 percent and Fairly Important for 45 percent.
When it comes to meeting size, 34% of respondents said they plan to replace national or international events with smaller regional meetings, while 43% could. Less than a quarter of them do not expect to do so.