WFA Benchmarks & surveys 06/2020: Shifting from physical to virtual events

[role_based for="member"]

This WFA member survey looks at how organisations are managing virtuals events in light of Covid-19

A WFA national association member recently asked if other associations and corporates have shifted or are planning to shift their big in-person events to virtual events in light of COVID-19 and what they have put in place to manage their events more effectively.

With looming uncertainty and restrictions on physical gatherings in many countries for the coming months, organisations are looking to turn their big physical events (e.g. conferences, award shows, networking events, product launches, etc.) into virtual events instead of further postponing or cancelling them.

This survey provides an overview of recommended suppliers and platforms, planning and formats for shifting medium to large-scale in-person events to virtual events, as well as managing sponsorships and best practice to ensure quality and effectiveness.

Some key findings:

  • 7 of 10 respondents (73%) have already organised virtual events this year or are in the process of doing so. 14% have opted to postpone or cancel their big events for 2020 while the remaining 13% are uncertain but are monitoring the situation closely.
  • Organisations have used or are considering a variety of platforms and suppliers to help them host virtual events, with many still browsing and weighing their options before making a decision on which solution/s to go for. Zoom is the most popular platform among respondents.
  • Technological factors and adapting the agenda and content are indicated as biggest challenges to overcome when organising virtual events, followed by privacy concerns and budget constraints.
  • With looming uncertainty on when in-person events can resume, 65% of respondents are considering organising hybrid events (combination of in-person and virtual), while 16% have already done so.
  • Shorter agendas critical to driving audience engagement in a virtual setting, with Q&A, live polls, social media, CTAs, breakout rooms and networking lounges as ancillary means of engagement.
  • Several respondents indicated that the sponsorship deals they managed to secure for their in-person events have been carried over to their virtual events, while a few others said that they have lost several sponsors in the process. Branding is what many plan to offer to sponsors as part of the value proposition, followed by oral mentions and speaking slots.

Download the survey here