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Nearly half of organisers unwilling to offer virtual attendance at events

Barbican poll shows event planners favour face to face meetings

A poll conducted by the Barbican of 120 event buyers has revealed that 48 per cent are not considering options for attendees to take part in events remotely.

With the same poll revealing that 58 per cent want domestic travel to events to be limited to an hour, it puts increasing pressure on the need for high speed travel infrastructure and careful venue choice by organisers.

“Whilst some in the venue world will see such a lack of desire for virtual attendance as a positive due to increased revenues and footfall I am sitting on the fence,” said the Barbican’s head of events, Jackie Boughton. “True it is good for business. However, it is better for long term business if people continue to hold events no matter what format they take. There will always be a need for people to gather in a face to face environment.

“Adding virtual attendance is however a great way to engage those who cannot be there for one reason or another. Ultimately, they will gain some benefits but there is a chance they will also perceive what they are missing through non-physical attendance and change that for the future.”

Meanwhile, 29 per cent of organisers are working to develop solutions and technology for virtual attendance, providing a wider range of ways in which people can attend and engage with fellow participants. 

Boughton added: “Technology is a great enabler, we should constantly seek new ways to use it throughout our events. However, we mustn’t forget that the best way to build a relationship is face to face, which is why there will always be a need to get here, no matter how good the technology becomes.”

The research was conducted among more than 120 Barbican clients during autumn 2017. Fifty three per cent of respondents were corporate bookers, 21 per cent association and 26 per cent agency.

More on this here.

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