ICCA research shows half associations reviewing membership models


Research conducted by International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) during May 2020, in collaboration with AfSAE (African Society of Association Executives), APFAO (Asia Pacific Federation of Association Organisations) and ESAE (European Society of Association Executives) has examined the post Covid-19 strategies and plans of almost 200 associations around the world.

Among the more in-depth results, which are available to ICCA members and the ICCA Association Community and the members of the partner associations, key findings of the Global Association research include:

  • 66% believe that Covid-19 will fundamentally change how they operate in the future.
  • Event and sponsorship revenue sources are under review by 55% of associations, whilst 49% are reviewing membership models.
  • 84% intend to include hybrid and digital elements to events going forward, with a general opinion that they should lead to increased attendance.
  • 60% of respondents believe that there are limitations to the ultimate success of virtual events when compared to face to face.
  • 28% said geographic rotations are under review and likely to change in the future.
  • 78% would consider the use of a meetings management company going forward.
  • There is significant opportunity for the supply side of the meetings industry to support clients through increased flexibility and innovation.

ICCA CEO, Senthil Gopinath commented: “Above all it’s clear that the Covid-19 situation is dynamic and fast moving. We have gone from what was effectively a complete global shut down in April, to 29% of respondents now saying they believe delegates will travel as long as the right health and safety measures are in place.

“This research provides important statistical evidence for the perceptions and opinions many of us already had. It is clear the partnerships between suppliers and associations have become more important than ever, and this is exactly what we are facilitating in our global community of suppliers and associations. It remains a trying time for our industry but there is hope for all, particularly if we are flexible and work together towards new and creative solutions.”

The report concludes by highlighting the fact that “there is volatility in the market and a need to innovate and create solutions. For the long-term benefit of all we need to work together, we need to work in partnership, we need to be flexible. Venues and destinations must appreciate the financial needs of clients if they are to survive; clients must equally understand that without their long-term support the venues and destinations cannot survive.”

ICCA added that all respondents believed that meetings offer big value in terms of both knowledge and finances – and said there is an opportunity for that to grow if all worked together for a successful future.