The Future of Events is Hybrid

As part of Volume 1 of the Deep Dive Series, thousands of participants from 5 continents and 66 countries came together online to discuss the trends and the future of the event industry. We asked them for their ideas about the way the industry will develop in the coming years.

The shift of the public opinion becomes clear in the ongoing discussion about the differences and benefits of physical, hybrid and digital events and a focus on environmental trends and the distribution of budgets. Event professionals show an inclination towards digitalization in the conception and execution of events.

The analysis of the survey results provide event organizers with valuable insights. In particular, the results reveal that the increasing digitalization of processes within the industry and the constant evolution of events offer a wide range of opportunities for members from the industry who are open to hybrid and digital solutions.

Physical vs. Hybrid vs. Digital

When asked whether digital events would replace physical events in the next 5 years, 68,9% of the participants answered that hybrid events will be the standard model for events in the future. 23,3% said that digital events won’t replace physical events. Lastly, a surprising 7,8% of the participants believe digital events will replace physical events. This is a significant increase, taking into account that this number was close to zero before the pandemic hit.

Physical vs. Hybrid vs. Digital

Event and Business Travel in the Next 5 Years

The question whether companies are willing to minimize event and business traveling in the next 5 years due to climate protection and cost savings, was affirmed by half of the participants (50.0%) who feel ready to reduce their business and event travel expenses to support the environment and to reallocate budgets. 35,9% of the respondents were unsure about their travel plans for the next 5 years. Lastly, the remaining 14,1% of the respondents stated that they don't intend to minimize their event and business travels.

Event and business traveling in the next 5 years

COVID challenges for event organizers

COVID Challenges for Event Organizers        

With the unexpected impact of the global pandemic on the physical event industry, numerous new challenges arose.

When asked whether the challenges for event organizers posed by COVID would lead to a trend of physical events exclusively offered to VIPs, 65,6% of the respondents disagreed and 28.0% agreed. The remaining 6,5% mentioned other important and decisive aspects when choosing an event such as the size of events, the overall time-spend and the thematic of the events.

All in all, there is a strong inclination towards more exclusive, regional and smaller events - not only for VIPs, but for committed change-makers. After all, the decisions about which kind of events to attend will be taken much more carefully, since the value of time spent somewhere in person has also increased due to the pandemic.

Advantages of Digital Events

Finally, when have challenged survey participants to list three advantages they see in digital events. 66,7% of the participants responded that digital events have more reach and therefore larger audiences compared to physical events. 47,3% recognized the spatial flexibility and sustainability of digital events as one their biggest and most important advantages. Almost half of the participants (44.1%) see the cost effectiveness and the safety aspect of digital events as their third largest advantage.

Furthermore, more than a third of the respondents (36,6%) agreed that the automatically generated reports featuring detailed user behavior analysis are a massive advantage of digital events. These statistics are an important aspect which is expected to be further explored within the industry in the coming years. Finally, 20,4% of the respondents mentioned the possibility of lead generation and CRM integration being a crucial asset of digital events.  

Now we do have the opportunity to really collect all this data and use it to drive marketing automation really integrated with our CRM tools and really see what is happening. And then we can test and for the first time in history, we can really prove what is working and what is not working.” Colja M. Dams, CEO, VOK DAMS worldwide

Advantages of digital events.

Overall, the numbers show that hybrid and digital events are becoming a fundamental part of the marketing strategies for companies and associations and a highly anticipated and relevant element of the modern event experience.

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Are you interested in hosting a digital event which will make you stand out from the crowd? We are happy to discuss your individual needs and give you a free tour of our demo environment.