CEIR Releases Landmark Report Series on Global Virtual Event Trends

Andrea Doyle, Senior News Editor
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CEIR's Report One: Anatomy of Virtual Events and Financial OutcomesDALLAS — The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) has released the first of three reports filled with the inside scoop on virtual events. CEIR’s Global Virtual Event Trends Series explores insights among organizations that usually organize in-person business-to-business (B2B) exhibitions.

“CEIR is grateful for the generous support from over a dozen organizations that have made this research and benchmarks for the global B2B exhibition industry possible,” CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE, CEM, said. “We thank them for enabling us to fulfill our mission of providing the industry with insights based on objective, unbiased research that will help our stakeholders understand and successfully respond to these trends in the midst of the historic pandemic. Through the generous financial support from Swapcard, these reports are available for download from CEIR’s website to the industry at no cost.”

Report One: Anatomy of Virtual Events and Financial Outcomes details extensive baseline data on the fundamentals usually included in a virtual event, as well as performance outcomes regarding participation and financial results. This report confirms that most virtual B2B exhibition organizer activity is a direct result of COVID-19. However, results suggest many organizations are interested in remaining active digitally into the future.

“COVID-19 prompted an explosion of new virtual event activity. Many organizers took up the challenge without any prior knowledge or expertise in running them. There was no objective guidance on what these events include and benchmarks on outcomes. This report fills the void, providing extensive benchmarks to help organizers plan and evaluate the outcome of their events,” said CEIR Vice President of Research Nancy Drapeau, PRC.

This 42-page report was based on consultations with 463 executives, of which 346 were qualified to participate and complete the survey. The response rate is 7% with total percentage results providing statistically reliable results of plus or minus 5% or better, at the 95% interval.

Related. CEIR “Predicts” The Future

An important finding is that on average, virtual events are small (49% generate gross revenues of less than $250,000) and are a fraction of the gross revenues of in-person physical events, However, a pleasant revelation is that many virtual event organizers who have reported their gross revenues and out-of-pocket costs achieved net profit.

“COVID-19 has blindsided the B2B exhibition industry worldwide,” Drapeau added. “While in-person events remain paused in many geographic regions, B2B exhibition organizers have jumped into the virtual event space. Many are doing so for the first time,” she said, adding that CEIR’s Research Council saw the need to provide insights to help executives understand how to plan for such events and compare their events to fast-evolving industry norms. “This report provides the baseline data of what organizers are doing today,” she said.

CEIR’s Global Virtual Events Trends Series is available from the CEIR website at no cost due to financial support by Swapcard. Click here to download Report One – Anatomy of Virtual Events and Financial Outcomes.

 Reach Cathy Breden at cbreden@ceir.org;  Nancy Drapeau at (972) 687-9242 or ndrapeau@ceir.org .