Survey: Virtual events now the norm

Press Release: Annual Unisfair Survey Shows Virtual and Hybrid Events are the New Normal in Marketing, Training and Collaboration
550 Marketers Weigh in on Why and How They Use Virtual Environments

Key findings:

  • 60% will increase spending on virtual events and environments in 2011, while 42% will decrease spending on physical events
  • 67% would like to host 10 or more virtual events this year
  • 87% predict hybrid (part physical, part virtual) events will represent at least half of all events in the next five years
  • 62% want the ability to attend a virtual event from a mobile device

Chicago – Unisfair, an InterCall company and a leading global provider of virtual events and business environments, today announced new research that proves virtual engagement is the new normal in marketing, training and collaboration. Based on responses from more than 550 marketers nationwide, the second annual Unisfair survey reveals 60 percent of respondents plan to increase spending of virtual events and environments this year and that if budgets were not an issue, 67 percent would host 10 or more virtual events in the next 12 months.

Ever-Increasing Demand and Benefits

According to the survey, 42 percent of marketers plan to decrease spending on physical conferences and tradeshows over the next year. Respondents are increasingly turning to virtual events, with 40 percent indicating the primary benefit of holding a virtual event is the ability to reach a much larger audience for less money. Other benefits highlighted by respondents included: “I get the same or better results as a physical event for less effort” (24 percent); and “I get quantifiable results” (19 percent).

Proving virtual events offer broad business benefits to diverse audiences, respondents indicated they will host virtual events for a number of purposes in the next 12 months, including training (42 percent); customer engagement (36 percent); internal collaboration (34 percent); lead generation (29 percent); and networking (8 percent).

Training session in Unisfair Virtual Classroom (Image courtesy Unisfair)

The Attendee Perspective — Hybrid, Mobile & Multitasking

Proving that virtual engagement is here to stay, 46 percent of those polled predict more than 50 percent of corporate events will be hybrid within two years, with another 41 percent predicting that shift will take place within five years. What’s more, 62 percent of respondents would like the ability to attend a virtual event from a mobile device.

When asked what the best part about attending a virtual event is, 58 percent cited the ability to multitask, while 14 percent find the ability to be “invisible” until they want to engage with colleagues or vendors to be a primary benefit of attending virtual events.

Joerg Rathenberg

Unusual places respondents have attended a virtual event from include: bed (27 percent); the beach or a swimming pool (11 percent); an airplane (4 percent). 42 percent cited “other” places, including the car, the kitchen, a baseball game, the patio and a retail showroom.

“This research proves that no matter the business purpose, virtual business environments are here to stay and are rapidly becoming a marketing standard,” said Joerg Rathenberg, VP of Marketing, Unisfair. “It also indicates that virtual events are being adopted across industries and enterprises and will continue to be the preferred way to meet, market, collaborate and educate for both hosts and attendees alike.”

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About InterCall

InterCall, a subsidiary of West Corporation, is the largest conference and collaborations service provider in the world and a leading provider of global cloud-based unified communications services. Founded in 1991, InterCall offers telephony, messaging, conferencing and collaboration tools for businesses of all sizes, from large global enterprises to small or regional companies. With a global footprint and broad service capabilities, InterCall’s flexible models for hosted, managed and on-premises communications services help companies get the most out of their business processes.

InterCall’s strong U.S. presence, including four call centers and 26 sales offices, is bolstered by operations in Canada, Mexico, Latin America, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. For more information, please visit