Meeting Mentor Magazine

September 2022

Hybrid Events Continue Strong Into 2022

More than 75% of meeting and event planners surveyed recently said they will host at least some of their events in a digital or hybrid format in 2022. The research, conducted by  in-person, virtual and hybrid event solution provider 6Connex in Q4 2021, found that more than half said they planned to go hybrid with some of their events — including digital elements such as live streaming and remote access for virtual attendees for their in-person events — while about a quarter said they expect to conduct some of their event program on a fully digital platform this year. Digital is likely to play a role in events of all kinds, the survey found, from sales meetings to trade shows to conferences.

Of course, the various COVID-19 variants, most recently Omicron, have played a significant role in the decision to go digital or hybrid over the course of the pandemic — 72% said they had to cancel or postpone events due to the Delta variant, while only 15% said they made no changes to their programs. More than a third said they flipped at least one event to digital, and more than a quarter added a digital component to their in-person events as Delta and Omicron took hold. Accordingly, 37% of respondents said their organizations increased investments in hybrid event tech because of the COVID variants.

6Connex CMO Luiz Martins said, “We believe the change is permanent, as event organizers, planners and even attendees understand the benefits of conducting virtual and hybrid events…The last 18 months has illustrated the ROI of virtual components, which include cost savings, attracting a wider audience and sustainability.”

One of the reasons digital may be here to stay once the pandemic-necessitated crisis mode ends is related to the increased focus on sustainable events in recent years. Forty-four percent of respondents said they anticipate they will need to quantify the carbon footprint of at least some of their events this year, with 26% saying they plan to quantify the carbon footprints of all of their events within the next two years. Only 34% are not planning tracking events in the next two years, although they believe they will be doing so toward the middle of the decade. This is up considerably from 2021, when just 23% of respondents said they were being asked to calculate the carbon footprint of all their events.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that budgets are keeping pace with technology demands. Sixty-three percent of respondents said their event tech budgets were below $250,000 last year, and about a third said it was less than $25,000. And, despite the continuing demand for digital and hybrid events, just 31% said they got an increase in their event tech budget for 2022, while another 31% said their event tech budget was cut for this year.

Planners said their top tools for keeping digital attendees engaged last year were:

Live chat feeds (72%)

  • Real-time polling (65%)
  • Live speaker Q&A sessions (60%)
  • Virtual networking receptions (49%)
  • One-on-one attendee networking (37%)
  • Contests and giveaways (35%)

 

 

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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 4,400+ associations, corporations, and sporting authorities through our 400+ global associates. www.conferencedirect.com

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, is a business journal for senior meeting planners that is distributed in print and digital editions to the clients, prospects, and associates of ConferenceDirect, which handles over 13,000 worldwide meetings, conventions, and incentives annually. www.meetingmentormag.com

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