Vaccines propel hopes for industry: study

Freeman research shows majority in US events industry expect return to live face-to-face in Q4

MOST event attendees and exhibitors in the United States plan a return to face-to-face events by the fourth quarter of the year, according to a study based on data from more than a million industry stakeholders including international delegates.

The CEO of Freeman, a leading event management company, said the results showed “light at the end of the tunnel” and that confidence was returning with anti-Covid vaccinations under way worldwide.

According to the study, 78 per cent of attendees expect to attend in-person events in the northern hemisphere’s autumn, increasing to 94 per cent by winter. Exhibitors are slightly more optimistic with 80 per cent returning by the3 beginning of the fourth quarter and, 95 per cent by the end of the year.

More… Exhibition industry bullish for 2021

Some 85 per cent of respondents also believe in-person events are irreplaceable because of their ability to drive commerce and networking that creates partnerships and innovation.

“The events industry was one of the hardest hit during Covid-19,” said Bob Priest-Heck, CEO of Freeman.

“This research shows a light at the end of the tunnel with confidence in returning to in-person events up from an all-time low last spring. When events return, commerce returns – by not only providing a platform for small business and larger corporations, but also benefiting the travel, hospitality, and tourism industries as well.”

Other findings of the research include:

  • Vaccination propels confidence and interest in returning to large in-person events with 86 per cent more confident in doing so once vaccinated. Interestingly, trade show attendees, suppliers and exhibitors report being more willing to immediately receive the vaccine than the average person in the US.
  • Manufacturing will return to in-person first followed by technology, retail and finally healthcare.
  • The overall Confidence Index in returning to in-person events now is at 75 percent, up from an all-time low last spring in the 40s.
  • 68 per cent of attendees and 71 per cent of exhibitors expect to have no corporate travel restrictions by Q3 2021.
    Full study here…

“While we are encouraged by the accelerated return for in-person events, the right timing for individual events will depend on the industry, the event type and regionality,” said Priest-Heck.

“We’ve already seen many events conducted safely with the correct health and safety measures in place. As more shows do so, we anticipate that this will support the easing of regulations for business events and allow for the return of face-to-face meetings more quickly.”

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The study was conducted by Freeman’s Data Intelligence team with research is based on data from more than 1 million US event attendees, exhibitors, organisers and brand marketers and includes 20 per cent international attendees making it the “most comprehensive offering of its kind in the industry”.

Freeman said the results factored in a +/-1.2 percent margin of error and is segmented into detailed findings for the technology, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and business services industries with insights on other industry sectors also available.

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