Reed Exhibitions has released a COVID-19 Customer Needs and Mindset Barometer called, “COVID-19 and How it’s Changing the Event Industry.”
“This important, ongoing research is helping us to constantly evolve and update our technology platforms and services in response to COVID-19. It also offers our industry valuable insights into how we might reshape our events to our customers’ advantage, and drive profitability and growth in the future,” Reed states.
Importantly, it shows that COVID-19 has not diminished the value of in-person events for participants who are committed to returning as soon as restrictions are lifted. And that customers are increasingly open to the idea of engaging with digital alongside face-to-face.
It also highlights the genuine opportunity digital event tools offer our customers to connect with their peers and prospects, and do business, not only in the absence of physical events, but alongside them when they return.
Health and safety is a key concern for exhibitors and visitors and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. The expectation of COVID-19 precautions, including social distancing, masks, disinfectant and contactless technology, has become so commonplace as to be regarded as standard practice.
Over time the report predicts small but statistically significant increases in the percentage of both visitors and exhibitors who state they will be comfortable attending events after safety and travel restrictions have eased. Currently, three-quarters of visitors feel either positive or neutral about returning to events.
In the meantime, the appeal of hybrid events which offer remote buying and selling opportunities for visitors and exhibitors unable to attend physical events in person, is increasing. 44% of visitors currently find the idea appealing, up from 39% in June. Exhibitors are less sure but are coming round to the idea with the number rejecting it down from 50% in June to 45%.
The report can be downloaded here.