Post-Covid In-person events will be all about connections. Here is how to do it successfully.

Event organisers need to become market organisers and stop thinking about virtual OR in-person events. Instead, the vision should be virtual AND in-person events.

In-person events will make a comeback. However, the jury is still out as to whether in-person events will be the same post-pandemic.

A recent 'Future of Trade Shows is Omnichannel' report by FTI  offers a glimpse into the future. 

Amongst both small and large companies, the importance of networking has increased while showcasing products and staying on top of industry trends decreased for all company types. 

This shift raises questions about the design of how events will look. Trade show booths are great for showcasing products and services, while keynote stages are the best way to stay on top of industry trends.

What changes if those two objectives are no longer the critical drivers for in-person event experiences?

What if, instead, networking and brand awareness are the essential objectives for in-person events?


Meeting Areas Will Be Core to Any In-person Event

For many years at Grip, we've been working at increasing networking opportunities for in-person events. And one of the most important learnings is that dedicated meeting areas or so-called 'lounges' are a vital driver in event success.

Some of the key stats around meeting areas and why they will be critical to facilitating in-person event networking include:

  • Meeting Areas drive higher meeting attendance. After analysing over 500 in-person events, we saw that dedicated meeting areas had an average meeting attendance of 90% compared to 80% for meetings at exhibitor booths or and 'generic locations' such as "The Coffee Area." 
  • Meetings at booths are more likely to be poorly rated as well. This rating is due to it most likely being a less comfortable and safe environment for a visitor. An easy to find meeting lounge with tabletops and chairs is a predictable and quality experience where social distancing can also easily be maintained. 


“Every doubling in pre-event connections results in
40% more meetings onsite.”

Hybrid Experience Will Work - Digital Connections Do Convert

Looking at the same data set at events, we can see a clear trend between digital connections that are established pre-event and the number of in-person meetings taking place at an event.

Every time the digital connections double, in-person meetings increase by 40%. Another interesting part of that is that 66% of all in-person accepted meetings come from pre-event recommendations. 

While people might request meetings from searching through lists and keywords, a much higher share of the accepted meetings originates from the recommendations. These insights demonstrate the power of the Grip matchmaking engine at suggesting the right people to meet with at events.

Let's Learn Together

We're excited about continuing to see behaviour change for all event types. Still, one thing is clear: Return on Time for in-person events and the need to foster revenue opportunities will be even more critical.

We can't wait to work with leading organisers on making this happen together!


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