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Are Audiences Ready to Return to In-Person Events?


The Business Journals collection of publications recently shared the results of a nationwide survey. It showed that across the country there is strong interest in returning to live, in-person events as opposed to digital ones. When combined, the interest in favor of in-person events is right around 50%, which means there is still half of the audience that would prefer to remain digital for the near future.


future of health What’s interesting is that the entire survey was based on the framework that proper safety precautions would be in place. This means that, for the most part, people believe that safety

procedures are effective when implemented properly, which is good news for event planners since many options have been developed to ensure safe food service, entertainment, and even registration and event flow.

Other key takeaways from the survey included:

  • Out of those who were not currently in favor of returning to in-person events, 21% said they may reconsider in a few months, and only 10% said they’d refrain from in-person events for six months or longer.
  • For all respondents, regardless of their preferred time frame for returning to in-person events, most agreed they felt most comfortable with smaller group sizes, though surprisingly, nearly 25% of respondents would attend even the largest scale events.

So, what does this mean for the event industry? Well, first of all it means that there is still a market for both virtual and live events to co-exist for the time being. Businesses that have had success with virtual events thanks to broader digital reach, reduced costs associated with venues, and other benefits may reasonably choose to continue in that direction for a while. An equally important takeaway is that there is light at the end of what has been a very dark tunnel for venues, caterers, entertainers, and others in the market who were part of a $30 billion loss for last year. Some of these business owners will simply be unable to re-open. The lucky ones will be grateful for a return to in-person events of any size, even

with some requirements in place. The Business Journals national survey asked what kinds of precautions attendees felt were the most important in making live events a reality. Their responses included,

  • Mask requirements (59%)
  • Reduced crowds (57%)
  • Social distancing (53%)

All these insights also mean that as the country continues to make progress on vaccination and limiting risks associated with transmission, the desire for live events is still there, it’s now just a matter of timing.

About the VIBE Agency: The VIBE Agency is a Miami-based award-winning full-service production agency that specializes in the creation and orchestration of live and virtual experiences for the corporate industry.   The agency is forward-thinking and was recognized as one of the 50 top event companies by Special Events magazine in 2019 and 2020.  Most recently, Valerie Bihet, founder of the VIBE was named a Smart Women in Meetings 2021 Hall of Fame honoree by Smartmeetings, for her consistent work advancing the industry.  If it can’t be live, make it VIBE!

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