Major events are today the key to reactivation in destinations and in the Meetings Industry

One of the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic was undoubtedly that of events, where even some companies specialized in this field had to close.

Fortunately, the economic ravages due to social confinement and sanitary restrictions are dissipating today as the different industries reinforce their reactivation; and the same case occurs in the meetings industry, with the return of large trade fairs and face-to-face exhibitions to different destinations in Mexico. The resilience that destinations have for the events sector, eager to resume activities at 100%; Although not at pre-pandemic levels, they are very close in terms of assistance and generation of new businesses, which directly impacts the economies of the country's tourist destinations.

Two negative circumstances for destinations

In this unfortunate situation of the pandemic that we are living through, the events were among the first affected sectors, since the purpose of said activity is the meeting of people; and this was restricted by the authorities in combat to the coronavirus. From one day to the next, the events, the tour operators, the destination marketers were closed. It affects all of us in some way. For some it was more drastic, being so that in the north, about 90% of the companies in this industry were affected.

It should be noted that these types of businesses were the first to close to a large extent and are also among the last to open. The sector saw negative impacts of up to 75% in 2020, compared to 2019, although such losses were reduced to 50% during 2021.

There are destination marketing organizations, known as OCVs, trusts, OCCs, etc. Which suffer another unfortunate obstacle corresponding to administrative changes in state governments and municipalities. During the first OCVs meeting last year, the panel 'The challenges of destination marketing organizations in the face of changes in government' was held. A significant number of OCVs were seen that did not end up defining their own changes.

This mixture was not favorable for many cases, where some did come out stronger, but in a good number of destinations there was too much uncertainty.

Massive events to the rescue of the meeting industry

However, among so much gloom for destinations and the meeting industry, the return to the face-to-face event was taking place gradually, these returns gained more and more strength with the holding of the different meetings; first forums, conferences, and later exhibitions and congresses with thousands of attendees.

Things look very positive on the subject since the recovery of this niche was expected to arrive approximately in 2024 and fortunately today we are already seeing this return with more certainty; with the vaccination process that advanced in some places faster than others and with the relaxation of restrictions.

Another view for companies and small events in destinations

Despite the return of large-format events, the situation is somewhat different with not-so-large events, since these do not generate the monetary figures to survive in the short and medium term of the post-pandemic era.

On the other hand, the issue of digitalization of meetings greatly helped destinations in their operating costs for planning and conducting events. Having an opportunity to optimize resources, to generate efficiency to finally redirect investments in those areas that allow the best development of companies. That is why because of budget, savings and efficiency issues; A slightly slower return to activities in this area can be seen in organizations such as companies and hotels that have small rooms that host events for smaller capacities.

However, instead of being a discouraging scenario, it gives rise to marketing organizations, companies and hotels to coordinate to find new market niches to offer their services and thus be able to bring back to the destination a positive influx for the industry of meetings.