New Studies Explore Preferences for Virtual and In-Person Sustainable Events

May 20, 2020
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The word of the day in events is virtual (usually prefaced by “pivot to”) And there’s no doubt about the fact that virtual — or in future, hybrid — events will help event organizers reach a wider audience. But what are attendees looking for in their virtual events, and when it’s safe to meet again, what will attract them? Two recent studies conducted by CensusWide for PromoLeaf may shed some light. 

A survey on conference attendee preferences conducted in April provides data to help event planners and marketers plan virtual events that will have a better chance at attracting an audience. It includes data on preferred program length, registration fees and ideal times for hosting.


to pay or not to pay PromoLeaf virtual event survey chart


Key virtual event survey findings include:

  • Wednesday is the preferred day (35%), followed closely by Tuesday (25%)
  • Morning events are more popular across all age groups with the exception of the youngest (16-24), who are evenly split between morning and afternoon
  • One to two hours is the preferred length for 59% of respondents
  • A price point of zero to two hundred dollars is likely to garner the most registrations
  • Nearly half (46%) of respondents prefer an interactive format that offers live Q&A
  • Almost 40% prefer both a live session and an on-demand replay option

The majority (more than 70 percent) of survey participants report that they prefer to attend conferences in-person.


preference for in-person conference PromoLeaf survey chart


The second study, conducted in February, focuses on sustainability. While focuses are currently on virtual, measuring the importance of sustainability to organizations pre-COVID-19 will serve as a benchmark to see what, if anything, changes for future event planning in a landscape shaped by new health and safety protocols.

Sustainability report findings include:

  • 60% of respondents prefer attending conferences hosted using sustainable practices
  • Over 50% care about sustainable dining practices, such as incorporating locally sourced menu items, and using compostable or reusable dishware
  • 55% prefer swag to be sustainable items that are also useful
  • Younger generations find sustainability more important than older


Geographic preferences for sustainable event food and beverage PromoLeaf event survey

Diversity in survey responses across both surveys corresponds to both age and regional demographics. For any event organizer planning events for attendees in new regions or age groups, it’s worth researching audience preferences to ensure the highest level of attendee participation and satisfaction.

Main image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay. Charts courtesy of PromoLeaf. 


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