The MPI Meetings Outlook 2016 Autumn Edition showed that 60% of survey respondents were predicting that attendance at live events would rise over the next year, despite the increase in virtual meetings and live streaming.
Nigel Cooper, managing director at BCD M&E, said one of the reasons for increased numbers of delegates was meeting consolidation. "People may hold smaller meetings virtually, so when it comes to a large monthly or quarterly event, it becomes more important to get people together. It's about cost cutting and getting the most out of live events." He added that technology complemented live events, rather than replacing them. "If you're not bringing people together, it's not the same. Virtual events just can't replace face-face. The internet and new technology really just adds to events, rather than reducing them."
In addition to internal factors, Charlotte Wilson, managing director at Pure Events, said that external issues such as the economic and political climate are affecting attendance. "In these uncertain times people are becoming more concerned for their jobs. Nobody really knows what the future holds at the moment so people want to appear as engaged as possible. We’ve definitely seen a rise in attendance at events from predicted numbers."
For Natalie Allen, business development manager at Small Planet, virtual events in the pharmaceutical industry are less popular than live events. "One of the reasons we’ve seen an increase in interest is due to the level of engagement at modern meetings. From iPads to touch screens and virtual reality, live events have never been more compelling. As live events become more interesting, there’s more incentive for people to attend."
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