Half of planners struggling with volume of data from virtual events

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A new research study has found that running virtual events is making data management a lot more complicated for 50 per cent of event planners – with the majority collecting more data today than ever before.

The results also show that 82 per cent of organisers feel that good data practices are going to be critical in running successful hybrid events.

The research study, titled ‘The Changing Role of Event Data ‐ New Challenges & Opportunities’ was conducted by Eventsforce in May 2021 and is based on the views of 200+ event professionals in the US and the UK, representing corporates, associations, government, educational institutions and event management agencies.

The impact of virtual

One of the main objectives of the research study was to investigate what impact virtual events have had in the way organisers deal with their event data. The issue of volume tops the list with 46 per cent of event planners saying they collect more data from virtual events than in-person events. Other problems include difficulties in getting proper insight as data sits on different systems (40 per cent) – as well as new concerns around securing attendee data (36 per cent).

Another 34 per cent feel they do not have the time or resources to do anything useful with all the data they collect from these events.

When asked how they use the data collected from virtual events – measuring success (74 per cent) and making improvements to future events (73 per cent) were the most popular answers. Nearly two‐thirds of respondents (61 per cent) are also using data to create the more detailed post‐event reports that sponsors and exhibitors want from virtual events. And 40 per cent are looking at their data to improve their understanding of online attendee behaviour and apply those learnings to hybrid events.

The research study also looks at current trends in the industry to see what role hybrid will play in the way organisers deal with their data. The findings show that 75 per cent of organisers are planning on running hybrid events in 2021-2022 – with the majority of those taking place in autumn this year.

An overwhelming 82 per cent feel that a good data management strategy is going to become even more important for them with hybrid events.

New opportunities and next steps

Despite the challenges, the research findings show that data management is high on the priority list for 94 per cent of organisers as they recognise the benefits it can bring to their events.

In terms of new opportunities, being able to run more engaging events tops the list at 67 per cent ‐ while another 59 per cent feel it would result in happier attendees, sponsors and exhibitors. Other benefits include running better hybrid events (50 per cent), improved quality of attendee data (42 per cent) and helping them become more competitive in the current climate (31 per cent).

The findings also show that 73 per cent of event planners are currently taking some important steps to improve their data strategy in 2021‐2022. Almost half (46 per cent) will be investing more time in analysing their data, while another 36 per cent will be cleaning up their data as they have more than they need. Other concerns that event planners want to address are around data security, analytics and tech stack integrations.

More than 1 in 3 want to make improvements to the way they protect their attendee data – and a similar proportion want to invest in new technology platforms that can help them help them more with analytics.

For a more comprehensive look at the results of ‘The Changing Role of Event Data – New Challenges & Opportunities’ research study, download the full report.

Paul Harvey
Written By
Paul Harvey
M&IT editor Paul Harvey is a journalist with more than 15 years of experience. He began his career in the local press, working for various titles across the north. Since joining M&IT in 2013, he has become a trusted and respected voice in the sector, championing event professionals and reporting on all aspects of the events industry for the brand.

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