A poll conducted by the Barbican amongst 120 event buyers has revealed that 48% are not considering options for attendees to take part in events remotely.
With the same poll revealing the 58% want domestic travel to events to be limited to an hour it puts increasing pressure on the need for high-speed travel infrastructure and careful venue choice by organisers.
“Whilst some in the venue world will see such a lack of desire for virtual attendance as a positive due to increased revenues and footfall I am sitting on the fence,” comments the Barbican’s head of events, Jackie Boughton. “True it is good for business. However, it is better for long-term business if people continue to hold events no matter what format they take. There will always be a need for people to gather in a face to face environment. Adding virtual attendance is, however, a great way to engage those who cannot be there for one reason or another. Ultimately, they will gain some benefits but there is a chance they will also perceive what they are missing through non-physical attendance and change that for the future.”
29% of organisers are however working to develop solutions and technology for virtual attendance, providing a wider range of ways in which people can attend and engage with fellow participants. Jackie concludes by commenting that “technology is a great enabler, we should constantly seek new ways to use it throughout our events. However, we mustn’t forget that the best way to build a relationship is face to face, which is why there will always be a need to get here, no matter how good the technology becomes.”
The research was conducted amongst more than 120 Barbican clients during Autumn 2017. 53% of respondents were corporate bookers, 21% association and 26% agency.