Building on information from its 2016 Event Disruption Study, the Incentive Research Foundation has released a white paper on Adjusting Perspectives Regarding Disruptions in Meetings and Incentives. Meeting planners surveyed in 2016 indicated that more than half of them had experienced some form of disruption and that 23 percent of events were negatively impacted by a disruption.
Although the study examined the impact of disruptions that had an obvious link to location decisions, such as the Zika virus outbreak, and terrorist attacks and political instability in Europe, incidents with a less obvious connection to the events industry proved to be surprisingly disruptive. One example was the Long Beach, Calif., harbor strike that prevented the delivery of Chinese merchandise, including event swag. Equipment failures and dissatisfaction with vendors was also high on the list of event disruptors.
Some critical findings laid out in the white paper show how planners are dealing with unforeseen disruptions and what they want from vendors to help them. Up to 40 percent of meeting planners have increased time and effort spent preparing for disruption, and almost the same amount of planners believe they will have to continue to invest in this area.
Planners reported that of all vendors airlines were the most frequent cause of disruption with more than 60 percent citing delays, cancellations, and over bookings as a major headache for their events. However, only 7 percent of planners switched airlines because of a risk of disruption, whereas hotels were the most at risk of losing business. Twenty-six percent of planners surveyed have switched hotels because of the risk of, or lack of response to, disruption, and 70 percent have switched a location to avoid disruption altogether.
The study findings show that investing in preparedness and prevention is worth the effort since 43 percent of planners reported a financial loss from an event disruption. And the message from planners is that if their vendor partners are not willing to cooperate with them to recover from a disruption, they will find other partners.