Bizzabo Survey: While hybrid isn’t dead, community is the cornerstone

B2B conferences are back and have no sign of slowing down anytime soon. At least, according to a recent survey from the event management technology company Bizzabo that showed in-person conferences are once again the darling for attendees and organizers alike.

Smart Meeting spoke with Lauren McCullough, vice president of marketing for Bizzabo, to discuss the major takeaways of the survey and what it could mean for the future of the industry.

Back to Basics

Covid-19 may have stopped the meetings industry in its tracks for a time, but the Bizzabo survey shows attendees and event planners are ready and waiting to connect again.

Read More: Will B2B Adopt B2C Strategies to Retain Post-Covid Audiences?

But if you get anxious at the thought of logging on for a virtual session, you aren’t alone.

“We’re kind of past this age of virtual being everything and we’ve gotten back into calibration with in-person conferences really being the cornerstone of comprehensive marketing strategies,” said McCullough. “Live events are the main crux and that has always been the case. We kind of pivoted when we had to, and now we’re getting back to it.”

Keeping Connections

While the hybrid model of meetings isn’t dead. The experience and the ability to create an in-person community is the cornerstone of conventions and events.

Read More: Tech Tips Defining Hybrid

“Coming together in person actually gives us that opportunity to really focus and to be present literally and figuratively. We can appreciate it more than we did before the pandemic because most people hadn’t experienced needing to stay home and not connect with people before,” McCullough said.

Immersive Technology

One of the big takeaways from the survey was that attendees want events to get with the times in terms of technology. Almost 63% of attendees polled stated they want conferences to use modern event technology and 68% think events should have a dedicated mobile event app. McCullough credits the pandemic for ultimately causing a shift in event tech expectations.

“The pandemic was an accelerator for event tech overall and we’re kind of bringing everything we’ve learned into this renaissance of conferences. That’s what attendees are expecting,” said McCullough. “They want that flexibility. They want that ability to be present and to engage virtually with an app, to meet people and be able to instantly capture that contact information without having to exchange business cards.”

One example of event tech that enhances personal connections is Klik SmartBadges which allows attendees to exchange information at the click of a button. Colorful lights identify different groups and help set the vibe of an event.

Getting Creative

Based on the data of the Bizzabo survey, McCullough believes B2B conferences are entering a new era heightened by creativity, “Now more than never, the experience is everything.”

McCullough noted some specific feedback from the survey, including one person who shared that attendees are becoming choosy about in-person events and that organizers are now required to make every event impactful and worthwhile.

With this study in mind, planners and organizers may want to carefully examine the interests of their attendees to ensure everyone is getting the most bang for their buck and their time.

A few extra surprises:

  • Nearly 50% of organizers said that their events team had grown in the past year.
  • 24% of organizers said their event team size had stayed the same.
  • The number of event organizers with event teams of more than 10 people increased to 30% compared to 2020’s 10%.