More than 75% of US planners will host at least partial virtual events this year and beyond, according to a survey from 6Connex and BizBash.
The survey, carried out in Q4 of 2021, found that just over half (51%) of planners said they anticipated that a majority of their 2022 events would be produced in a hybrid format, while 25% thought their events would remain fully virtual this year.
In addition, 32% of respondents stated that more than half of their in-person events would include one or more digital elements, such as live-streaming or on-demand content.
“Even before we all realised the additional wave created by Omicron, event planners were planning on virtual events – whether hybrid or fully virtual – to play a significant role in 2022,” said Luiz Martins, CMO, of 6Connex. “Beyond the latest variant, we believe the change is permanent, as event organisers, planners, and even attendees understand the benefits of conducting virtual and hybrid events.”
Among the top tools for keeping virtual attendees engaged in 2021, according to those respondents using them, were live chat feeds (72%), real-time polling (65%), live speaker Q&A (60%), one-on-one attendee networking (37%), plus contests and giveaways (35%).
“For organisers, it’s about creating a balance between in-person and virtual offerings to take advantage of the benefits both approaches offer,” continued Martins. “The last 18 months has illustrated the ROI of virtual components, which include cost savings, attracting a wider audience, and sustainability.”
Some 44% of respondents anticipated the need to quantify the carbon footprint for at least a portion of their events in 2022, with 26% stating they plan on quantifying the carbon footprints of all of their events within the next two years.