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Event Horizon: Episode 10 - Updated Event Attendee Sentiments

By Parul Shah


Hello and Welcome to Event Horizon. I’m Parul Shah.

Today, I want to give you a brief update on findings from wave 4 of the attendee pulse survey. Compared to the previous 3 waves, there is one notable difference in this recent wave and that is…we see some signs of hope and optimism among our attendees!

As we continue to inhabit an extended period of adjustment, we see for the first time a glimpse of positivity. There is a lot to cover in the most recent survey, but as you all know, we only have five minutes. So, let’s take this time to examine this positivity and what this means for us as an industry — now and into the next year.

There are two main factors driving optimism:

1. We’re seeing the highest positive sentiment to date.

2. We’re also seeing the highest confidence index to date.

Let’s look at the sentiment ratings first.

In September, the positive sentiment — that’s the green bar — is at 29% compared to 18% in July. That’s an 11% increase. We also see the negative sentiment decrease by 14% between July and September.

These shifts are the largest to date. So, what’s driving this massive shift?

Well, the data tells us it is two leading factors: concern levels and having more reliable data. Concerns related to health and safety along with business and economic factors, while still important, are on the decline in the latest wave. Whether their patience is wearing thin or they are simply feeling that things are out of their control, as their worries start to dissipate, their positive sentiment starts to raise.

The other factor leading to an increase in positive sentiment is having reliable information. 49% of the attendees in the latest wave, compared to 39% in the previous wave, believe they have enough reliable information on when to return to in-person events.

While we love seeing the shift towards positivity, we can’t lose sight of the need to continuously monitor attendee perceptions and attitudes, because we are still very much in a state of transition — nothing is final or firm quite yet.

Now let’s take a look at the confidence index, which I mentioned earlier is the highest we’ve seen to date.

The attendee confidence index is at .70 in September now compared to .62 — the lowest — in July. This increase is a direct result of what we’re seeing in terms of the likelihood of attending in-person events, once the pandemic is under control.

Take a look at this graph:

You can see that in September, 70% of attendees indicated they were ‘highly likely’ to return to in-person events post pandemic. That’s a 12% increase since the last wave.

Perhaps it’s a desire to return to normalcy, or having fewer concerns and more reliable information — in any case, these factors are coalescing and leading to a greater likelihood of attending in-person events, which ultimately leads to a higher confidence index.

Now, whether this positive attitude and higher confidence index fades out or lasts into the next wave depends on a number of factors including the vaccine, treatment, this election year, and so forth. So, keep in mind that many of the longer-term implications are still being formed, which means as an organization, you have an opportunity to help shape the next normal for live engagements.

Before I end, I want to share some exciting news. Our Data Solutions Team just recently published our first-ever industry research report!

This report is Part One in a comprehensive series of reports that will be released throughout the year to help event professionals find new ways to diversify their revenue streams, build community through new media, and evolve their business models as they navigate their way to recovery. And throughout this report, we’ve taken an attendee-centric view to highlight insights through the lens of our core audience segment.

To learn more, check out the executive summary.

Want to hear more from Parul about our survey results?
Check out the whole series!
Watch now

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