The global business model has been subverted by the pandemic through the past year. Most affecting exhibition events went online and transformed into virtual exhibitions to overcome the geographical limitations and increase customer base. However, virtual events cannot completely replace physical exhibitions. The Asia SaaS company, EventX, believes the hybrid is the latest trend for the industry, not to mention a new yet important marketing channel for those lead generation campaigns.
Research: About 70% of events are predicted to be held in hybrid after the pandemic
According to the EventMB industry research in the second quarter of this year, 67.5% of respondents think that exhibition events will be held in hybrid and only 11.6% of respondents think that only the virtual event will be maintained.
The survey was held from May to June this year with 401 respondents that 92% of the respondents worked as event planners, event managers, marketers, event strategists, and event technologists. The remaining 8% of them are suppliers.
24.2% of respondents indicate the major challenge for turning exhibitions events into virtual is audience participation, and 17.9% of them are concerning about social activities. While 38.3% of the respondents recognize the efficacy of online events in increasing attendance and reach.
One of the biggest obstacles for resuming physical events are the safety of attendees and stakeholders (31.6%), lockdowns and related restrictions on group sizes (23.0%), travel limitations (15.7%), and the lack of financial viability at lower venue capacity (8.6%).
Hybrid Event Expanded Overseas Customers with Only 10% Extra Cost
The above result reflects that most respondents think online events cannot completely replace the physical interaction of offline events. But there is no doubt that virtual elements are essential to complement offline events as there are restrictions and lockdowns in many countries. The merge of offline and online events can attract more online audiences and broaden the customer base.
The Co-founder and CEO of EventX, Sum Wong, noticed that various exhibitions of different industries had streamed online last year. As there are strong demands for holding physical exhibitions under the pandemic control measures, the events are moderately transforming into hybrid with both online and offline elements. In fact, The Hong Kong Trade Development Council has also stated that physical exhibitions will be held in mixed-mode of virtual and physical even if they are resumed in the future.
Based on the experiences of EventX, the additional cost for holding virtual exhibitions can be as low as 10% of physical exhibition expenses. Both virtual and physical exhibitions can be held synchronously with virtual meetings and live streaming features. Extra functions like advertising slots, discussion breakout rooms, and virtual booths can record attendees’ activities, Including browsing time and click history for better measurement and improvement on customer experience. At the same time, overseas customers can reduce the time and cost of transportation, attend the events and replay videos at any time and anywhere.
EventX has held over 20 thousand virtual events in over 135 countries, with more than 5 million attendees. Clients include Hong Kong Science Park, Investment Promotion Agency, Hong Kong Trade Development Council, and many local enterprises and colleges.
Q & A
Q: What's the new trend of event at post pandemic period?
The results showed that 67.5% of respondents think that exhibition events will be held in hybrid while only 11.6% of respondents think that only the virtual event will be maintained.
Meanwhile, online events are seen as more effective in increasing attendance and reach (38.3%) due to the ease of participation and ability to reach a larger audience.
A: What are the biggest obstacle for resuming events?
The biggest obstacle for resuming events is the lack of a clear plan or strategy. Event planners often underestimate the amount of work that needs to be done in order to get their event back up and running. Additionally, many organizers are still trying to figure out what sort of events will be most effective in reaching their target audience.
As demand for holding physical exhibitions under pandemic control measures is high, events are slowly transforming into hybrids with both online and offline elements. In fact, The Hong Kong Trade Development Council has also stated that physical exhibitions will be held in a mixed-mode of virtual and physical even if they resume in the future.
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