UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, is conducting ongoing “Global Recovery Project” research in partnership with live events research specialists Explori, supported by the Society for Independent Show Organizers (SISO).
79% of visitors have at least some interest in attending a hybrid event as an online-only delegate.
Their latest findings reveal the views of over 9 000 responses from 30 countries on how virtual events fit into the event matrix. These include:
- Roughly half of the respondents have experienced an online-only event in some format.
- Two thirds of exhibitors having spoken at a third-party event or run their own online event.
- As of early August, only 13% of exhibitors had paid to sponsor a third-party online event.
- Both visitors and exhibitors rate live events more highly, but especially in terms of networking – with 77% of exhibitors and 83% of visitors stating that face-to-face events are much better than virtual ones in this respect.
- However, 52% of visitors felt online-only events were as good as or better than live events in their content offering.
- 79% of visitors have at least some interest in attending a hybrid event as an online-only delegate, especially when considering an event they had never attended before.
Sophie Holt, Global Strategy Director, Explori added: “Online and hybrid seem to have a complimentary role to play alongside live events. Not only will they give reassurance to visitors who are concerned about safety in the short term, but still want to connect with their community, but they may also have an important role to play in bringing new audiences to established events. This could form part of the customer journey, with online-only events acting as qualification and conversion tools for a flagship live event, or giving sponsors access to a totally new audience whose needs are better met by the virtual setting. We will be conducting a further phase of research in the near future to further understand the sentiments of visitors and exhibitors, including their views on different aspects of the digital event formats.”
“Online and hybrid seem to have a complimentary role to play alongside live events.”
More results from the study will be released in the coming weeks via the UFI Connects webinar series available here: ufi.org/uficonnects