Today, the second part of findings are released from an extensive global study on the the future of virtual and hybrid events.
The study was conducted by live events research specialists, Explori in partnership with UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry and supported by SISO, the Society for Independent Show Organizers.
This second part of this global study, comprising over 9,000 responses from 30 countries, follows on the first part which was published in October and looked at how visitors and exhibitors and visitors were feeling the impact of the lack of live events, and their experiences of and comparisons with hybrid or digital events.
This report focusses on the experience of visitors and exhibitors at virtual events; how they perceive the current digital offerings, their views on future spend and what role they think hybrid will play in the visitor journey. The findings demonstrate an overwhelming preference for live but indicate growing interest in the use of virtual/hybrid events.
One in four respondents who had sponsored/exhibited at a 3rd party digital event say digital events are better for ROI. However, the overwhelming majority still prefer live events when it comes to ROI, generating leads, representing their brand and networking. The study also found that for new events 38% prefer to attend in person vs 68% who would at least consider attending digitally.
“The second part of this global survey delivers key insights to the industry as we plan for 2021 and the reopening of our shows and venues. Although it is clear, thankfully, that our customers are keen to return to face to face when possible, the landscape has changed dramatically in the last 9 months, and the path ahead is far from certain. As we emerge from the pandemic we should see digital as an opportunity not a threat,” said Kai Hattendorf, UFI CEO.
Sophie Holt, Managing Director, Explori added: “Part two of the global survey provides useful insight into what the digital event of the future may look like. Future digital events will not seek to replicate the in-person experience, but instead leverage their strength at delivering against singular objectives. They will contribute to engaging communities, guide audiences through unfamiliar territory and meet customers where they are. Despite the resounding preference for live events there are strong reasons to consider the importance digital will play as restrictions begin to ease moving into 2021.”