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Event planners keen for connection as live event numbers rise

The live events industry is getting stronger by the day as many event planners schedule face-to-face events for this year.

In etc.venues’ latest survey of 405 event planners, 72 per cent said they will hold their next face-to-face event this year. More than a third (39 per cent) will hold in-person events in Q3 this year and 33 per cent said they had organised in-person events for Q4.

When questioned on the value of face-to-face events, 82 per cent of respondents agreed that they value them more now than before the pandemic.

Respondents also foresee virtual and hybrid event formats becoming less common as we move out of the pandemic. Compared to seven months ago when 73 per cent of respondents said hybrid events would continue to become more common than face-to-face events, now just 68 per cent believe this will be the case.

“The innate belief in live events among event planners is rising to the surface and the necessity of virtual events is beginning to fade now that restrictions are being lifted,” etc.venues director of marketing, Adam Simpson said.

“After benefiting from virtual and hybrid events out of necessity during lockdown, there is a clear recognition that whilst virtual was good, it is not nearly good enough and the limitations are clear, hence many planners are clearly keen to return to live events very soon.

While the frequency of virtual events looks to be declining, the virtual element is likely to have a long-term role alongside live events as 20 per cent of respondents said they will return to live only events in 2021 and a further 23 per cent will go back to live only events in 2022. However, 57 per cent expect to run a mix of virtual and hybrid events as well as live events in future.

With the return of in-person events, planners are finding it difficult to estimate the number of delegates that will attend – making it more difficult to book event spaces. While there has always been a degree of estimation in delegate numbers, the pandemic has amplified the need to know exact numbers in order to adhere to safety regulations and reduce revenue loss.

“In our experience, while many organisers are ready to run live events, the key issue that is causing concern to them is the difficulty in estimating how many delegates will attend in person,” Simpson added.

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