Conference Survival Guide - Part 1: Market Obstacles

Posted on

May 19, 2022

by

Chris Harget

Is your event audience coming back? Is your event coming back? What can you do to return to, or exceed, pre-pandemic attendance? Join us for this multi-part series, “Conference Survival in 2022: Growing Your Audience.” This series is based on a webinar Wordly delivered for MPI Academy on May 3, 2022.

Opinions differ as to whether in-person events have recovered from the pandemic. First, we’ll look at the data to frame the challenges for growing event attendance. Recent surveys and forecasts show progress, headwinds, and a long way to go.

  • “We’re forecasting 58% recovery compared to 2019, in the number of events,” according to U.S. Meetings Recovery Forecast report from data-as-a-service company Knowland’s March 2022 Report.
  • “One-third of business travelers responded they were unsure or expect to travel less to attend conferences/conventions/tradeshows in the next six months than before the pandemic,” according to The Business Travel Tracker - Q1-2022.
  • “56% expect fewer attendees, down from previous surges,” per a March 29, 2022 Pulse Survey conducted by Northstar Meetings and CVENT. 

All of these numbers are improved from late 2021, but still show significant headwinds. Not all in-person events have come back. Those that have returned tend to be smaller. This increases risk for event planners, disrupts sponsorships, and makes prospective attendees worry whether planned events will thrive enough to offer compelling value. 

Some events are clearly succeeding at returning to near-pre-pandemic attendance. In this series of posts, we’ll explore what they’re doing, and what many event planners could be doing to maximize draw and equal or exceed prior attendance. 

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