National Survey Finds Surprisingly Strong Preferences for In-Person Conferences Over Virtual Ones
72% of respondents stated they would prefer an in-person conference over a virtual one
PARK CITY, Utah, July 13, 2020 (Newswire.com) - Recently, PromoLeaf, an online retailer of promotional products, released a national survey revealing an overwhelming preference for in-person events over virtual ones. The research was conducted for PromoLeaf by Censuswide, with 1,008 respondents in the United States who have been to a F2F conference and a virtual conference.
Key findings include:
- Respondents would pay more for in-person events, and 80% would only be willing to pay $200 or less for a virtual conference.
- 82% believe a virtual conference should last less than 2 hours while only 51% believe in-person conferences should be less than 2 hours long.
- 46% said Virtual conferences should be live and two-directional, and an additional 38% said they would prefer virtual conferences to be both live and recorded for viewing later.
Challenges of Virtual Conferences
While many businesses see pluses of virtual conferences, there are some challenges that have yet to be overcome.
- The attendee may not “see” the value of an online conference vs. one that is held in person. 35% said they would pay less than $100 for a virtual conference.
- They also may not understand the costs involved in hosting a virtual conference.
- Attendees may see online conferences similar to “free” webinars, and expect to be “sold” something online, rather than getting a real benefit.
- Many prefer the ability to network at in-person conferences that does not occur in most virtual environments.
The willingness to pay can be overcome by being clear about the purpose of the conference and its benefits. “When companies, not event organizers, are using online events to lead capture, I won’t pay for that either,” Adam Parry, Editor of Event Industry News and Co-founder of Event Tech Live says. This requires virtual event organizers to be very clear about the purpose of their event.
The Future of Virtual vs. In-Person Conferences
In light of recent events, virtual conferences may be more viable short term. In-person event organizers can learn from them though.
- Virtual conferences should be brief and to the point. 82% prefer conferences less than 2 hours, but even 51% would prefer more concise in-person conferences under 2 hours.
- 39% of those surveyed thought virtual conferences should have both live and recorded components. This could translate to in-person events with virtual components as well.
- Timing is everything. Wednesday conferences are the most popular (34%), and the majority prefer morning conferences, especially in those over the age of 35, and almost no one was in favor of evening conferences.
While the space for both types of conferences is still evolving, the desire for in-person events appears to be here to stay.
PromoLeaf's mission is to provide sustainable and eco-friendly promotional products that help businesses grow their brand in a simple and socially conscious way.
Source: PromoLeaf LLC