When will live events return?

Global Meetings Industry Day survey asks when live events will be back and how they could change after coronavirus.

Just over a quarter of event professionals believe that live events could return by September and 92% think they will happen again before 2021.

That's according to a survey conducted during the virtual edition of Global Meeting Industry Day (GMID) on 14 April, which hosted 12,500 event and hospitality professionals from more than 30 countries. It also found that 62% of respondents think most events will become a hybrid of digital and live after the coronavirus crisis. 

“It is heartening to see the events and hospitality industry being optimistic about the prospects for a return to live events in 2020, even though we all understand we must await decisions from governments around the world to ease restrictions on public gatherings,” said Anh Nguyen, founder of Spark Event Management and organiser of GMID. 

Three Slido polls conducted during the day stood out in particular as a gauge of where the industry currently stands on live events. 

When is the earliest live event you are planning or looking to attend right now?

  • September: 27%

  • August: 16%

  • July: 14%

  • June: 15%

  • October: 11%

  • 2021 or beyond: 8%

  • November: 3%

  • December: 2%

  • May: 3%

Of your previously planned live events for 2020, what proportion has gone virtual/online?

  • A small proportion: 45%

  • None: 34%

  • Around half: 11%

  • Most: 7%

  • All: 3%

How will live events change after the crisis is over?

  • Most events will become hybrid: 62%

  • Greater demand for virtual events: 17%

  • Greater demand for live events: 13%

  • Unchanged (same as before): 8%

Just under two thirds (66%) of respondents indicated that they had used virtual events to some extent, while 34% said none of their live events had been switched to virtual alternatives.

It's a widespread belief among many industry experts, including WRG's Ben Atherton, that virtual and hybrid events will soon be commonplace.  

Last week, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social media giant would not be holding any large-scale live events until summer 2021.

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