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Nearly half of organisers unwilling to offer virtual attendance at events

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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.