Half of planners fear event 'cannibalisation'

Half of event planners still fear that hybrid events will 'cannibalise' or 'eat away' at their physical attendance figures, according to meetings expert Gerrit Heijkoop at C&IT's Association Forum yesterday (1 April).

Gerrit Heijkoop, executive partner at HCIBS, spoke at C&IT's Association Forum from Holland
Gerrit Heijkoop, executive partner at HCIBS, spoke at C&IT's Association Forum from Holland

Gerrit Heijkoop, executive partner at How Can I Be Social (HCIBS), spoke at C&IT's Association Forum from Holland via a live stream on the topic of hybrid events.

He said that around 50% of meeting planners fear that hybrid events will negatively impact on their live event audience, but also said that the majority of planners realise that hybrid meetings will feature in their event strategies in the future.

Speaking to about 70 association event planners, he said: "At the end of the 1930s there was a similar debate when television cameras were introduced at sporting events. People feared that no one would go to a football game because they could watch it on TV. Looking back at history, we know that there has never been so many people engaged in football.

"There is nothing like a live meeting or the physical networking opportunities or the social events on site. If you deliver a high-quality meeting online that may chip away at your attendance, however, it can be effective to stream only a few sessions of the content. That way you can extend the reach of the event to people who really couldn't travel to be there at your meeting.

"Hybrid events also help you to reduce the economic impact and allow delegates to save on time and travel costs. It also produces a massive amount of content for marketing. There are sponsorship opprtunities, too."

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