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2021 State of the Events Industry

September 15, 2021

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The content below is taken from the State of the Events Industry infographic

The pandemic has transformed the business models for conferences, annual meetings, and trade shows. Here are the latest statistics to help you plan a successful event.

Hybrid:

If you're having a "hybrid" event, you're having two distinct events. One is on a screen and must do a different job for a different audience than the in-person event.  

In-Person:

The in-person event must be different and better than 2019, if you want to expand your audience, command a premium registration fee, and get your exhibitors back and willing to pay premium rates for a potentially smaller audience.

  • 85% of leadership (senior managers, executives, board members) cited in-person events as essential to their company's success. Source: Bizzabo, 2020
  • Don’t start planning 2022 in-person events as you did in the past. Resist the pull of “better sameness” design. General sessions, breakouts, and traditional expo halls can still work—but not in the same way they used to.
  • Strategies that ensure success: Introduce a topic that will unite, polarize, and activate the largest possible audience; Intentionally insert ways for live attendees to connect with those not in-person; Incentivize in-person attendance with prizes or other perks
  • 55% of event planners cited safety concerns as the biggest obstacle to hosting live events. Source: EventMB, 2020
  • Top two factors influencing whether to hold an in-person event: 68% confidence in attendee health and safety; 59% flexible cancellation and attrition terms. Source: American Express Meetings & Events, 2020
  • Keep your live event safe: Use tools and large name badges to ease socially distanced networking; Commit to and share safety protocols well in advance of your live event; Streamline registration with a pre-event kit to prevent long lines
Digital:

Digital events can be very successful but must be reimagined as they become an adjunct to your live, in-person event. A new strategy, design approach, and business model must be adopted.

  • The global virtual events market is estimated to reach 504.76 billion USD by 2028. Source: Grand View Research, 2021
  • 93% of event professionals plan to invest in virtual events moving forward. Source: Bizzabo, 2020
  • Strategies that ensure success: Program your event like a TV show; Offer your audience on-demand content; Monetize your event with sponsors and underwriters
  • A top concern for live events moving forward will be ROI. Streaming live produced content is significantly more costly than recording with post production. The right decision must be made on how to allocate resources for the right return.
  • 44% of online sessions have fewer than 25 attendees. Source: GoToMeetings
  • 2021 digital events pull 30-40% of 2020 digital audiences
  • Keep your digital event profitable: Use past data to determine live vs. on-demand consumption; Record in-person content and produce snackable online sessions; Hold the in-person and digital events asynchronously for best use of resources