Survey: Virtual events promote in-person attendance

Press release: Virtual Edge Institute and ROI of Engagement’s Multi-Year Study Reveals Effectiveness of Hybrid Events
Survey Reveals Different Motivations for Attending Events In Person or Online

  • Virtual Extends Attendance: If no virtual option was available, 93 percent of virtual attendees would not attend the in-person event whereas 78 percent of in person attendees would attend a virtual option.
  • Virtual Promotes In-Person Attendance: VEI determined eighteen percent (18 percent) of virtual attendees attended in-person in 2011. In a separate poll of those attendees, 82 percent indicated that attending virtually was “very helpful” in making the decision to attend the 2011 Summit and all respondents indicated attending virtually was “helpful.”
  • Generational Divide is a Myth: The survey revealed that average ratings were similar across generations, averaging 3.86 on a five-point scale for Boomers (born 1946-1964), 3.73 for Gen X’ers (born 1965-1981) and 3.83 for Millennials (born 1982 to present).

Pleasanton, CA – The Virtual Edge Institute (VEI) and ROI of Engagement today announced the second report in a multi-year study into the effectiveness of hybrid events. The “Measuring and Maximizing the Impact of a Hybrid Event” study  included responses from 247 attendees of the Virtual Edge Summit 2011, the premier event on digital solutions.  Of these respondents, 149 attended in person and 98 attended virtually. In addition to evaluating Level One (Reaction and Satisfaction) and Level Two (Learning and Understanding) of attendees according to the Phillips ROI Methodology, the survey revealed: why people attend in-person events versus remotely; generational influences regarding virtual technology; and the benefits of virtual over time.

Motivations for Attending In-Person Versus Remotely

According to the survey, there were distinct differences in why a person attended in-person or remotely. Common themes for in-person attendance were the ability to expand their network (43 percent); personal interaction with presenters/and or attendees (41 percent); learn better in person (30 percent); and build deeper relationships with network (26 percent).

(Image courtesy Virtual Edge Institute.)

For remote attendees the common themes focused on cost savings (56 percent); time savings (52 percent); attend the sessions that I want (40 percent); and try a virtual event (37 percent).

(Image courtesy Virtual Edge Institute.)

Furthermore, if no virtual option was available, 93 percent of virtual attendees would not attend the in-person event whereas 78 percent of in person attendees would attend a virtual option.

Virtual Promotes In-Person Attendance

For those who did attend virtually in 2010, VEI determined eighteen percent (18 percent) of virtual attendees attended in-person in 2011. In a separate poll of those attendees, 82 percent indicated that attending virtually was “very helpful” in making the decision to attend the 2011 Summit and all respondents indicated attending virtually was “helpful.”

“The survey results provide great insight into the motivations behind why people attend an event in person or virtually, underscoring the intrinsic value of a virtual option itself for attendees,” stated Michael Doyle, executive director of VEI. “Not only can a hybrid event extend your reach, but as we’ve seen with Cisco Live in the past, and now with this case study, it can also drive virtual attendees to attend an in-person event in the future.”

Generational Influences: Real or Perceived Gap

When responses were filtered by generation, the survey revealed that average ratings were similar across generations, averaging 3.86 on a five-point scale for Boomers (born 1946-1964), 3.73 for Gen X’ers (born 1965-1981) and 3.83 for Millennials (born 1982 to present).

The most noteworthy difference was Millennials ranked the following statements highly, appearing to support that Millennials are increasingly becoming advocates of virtual technology solutions.

  • I am more confident that virtual solutions can accomplish business objectives.
  • I am more confident that my audience will benefit from virtual experiences.
  • I have more trust in virtual technology platforms available today.
  • I am more excited about the future of virtual experiences.

“A common misconception is that younger generations are more comfortable with and adopt new technologies more quickly. But this was not true in our study. With the proliferation of technology for day-to-day work, workers across all generations are comfortable attending events remotely, which bodes well for the growth of online meeting and events,” stated Todd Hanson, President and Founder, Catalyst Performance Group and ROI of Engagement

About the “Measuring and Maximizing the Impact of a Hybrid Event”

The “Measuring and Maximizing the Impact of a Hybrid Event” was commissioned by the Virtual Edge Institute. ROI of Engagement, an organization helping companies to credible forecast and measure ROI, conducted this survey of 260 attendees. Findings are available online here.

About The Virtual Edge Institute

The Virtual Edge Institute is an organization dedicated to advancing the development and adoption of digital event and meeting technology and best practices for collaboration and marketing. Founded in 2008 by Michael Doyle, the Institute does this by supporting and contributing research, education, thought leadership, promotion, and professional networking. Learn more at http://www.virtualedgeinstitute.com.

About ROI of Engagement

ROI of Engagement is a collaborative effort of organizations with a mission to help build the business case for engagement and in so doing, help businesses grow more profitably. Services include workshops, certification courses, webinars, keynote speaking, consulting and ROI evaluation. The initiative is led by Catalyst Performance Group, Inc. and has been joined by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance, The Motivation Show, Virtual Edge Institute and others. The ROI of Engagement model meets the specialized needs of engagement initiatives and helps companies confidently deploy programs knowing that they have credible ways to forecast and measure ROI. www.ROIofEngagement.com

Press Release

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