Majority Of Attendees Surveyed Are Open To Returning To Live Events, Says GES study

September 3, 2020

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GES, a global experiential marketing partner to many of the world’s leading brands, surveyed over 1,300 attendees during the months of June and July to understand concerns and impact related to returning safely to live events. The research uncovered five distinct attendee segments based on their COVID-19 perception of risk assessment and mitigation requirements, including temperature checks, mandatory face masks, sanitation and others. The respondents in these segments ranged from having no concerns returning to shows to being highly concerned about COVID-19 and not believing in mitigation.

The study revealed that 88% of respondents are open to attending shows in person. Overall, the results indicated that 65% demand some form of mitigation to attend, while 23% prefer no mitigation. Five core segments emerged from the study and were classified to their distinct perception of COVID-19 risk assessment and mitigation requirements.

  • Nope! - 12% expressed being highly concerned with health risks and do not believe in mitigation.
  • Convince Me - 24% were concerned about COVID-19 risk, but open to attending if the event provided high value to them.
  • Open Hall -24% had only moderate concerns about COVID-19. This group was open to personal restrictions but don’t want set meetings or limited meeting times.
  • We Can Do This! - 17% responded having only mild COVID-19 concerns and having faith in mitigation procedures.
  • What Virus? - 23% revealed they had low COVID-19 concerns and would like shows to proceed as prior to the health pandemic.

“GES’ research findings provide great insight to event organizers and underscore how critical it is to understand the attendee base and their risk perceptions to plan event design and mitigation strategies to attendee needs,” said GES Global Chief Marketing Officer Wendy Gibson. “As a leader in the experiential marketing industry, it is our duty to proactively take action to understand all measures necessary and partner with all parties to safely and successfully reopen live events.”

While following the local guidelines issued by health organizations and local governments, the study highlights it is more important than ever to design a show to client segments and balance considerations between constituents who may have conflicting views of acceptable practices at the event. Having his insight into attendee perceptions will help organizers design their entire event from show schedules that accommodate visitors according to their risk tolerance to separating education activities by in-person and digital learning, and so much more.


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