ON24 just posted a press release highlighting results of a survey they ran. The survey asked enterprise executives about their 2009 anticipated use of trade shows, conventions, and internal meetings as opposed to webinars and virtual shows.
The results show expectations of reduced physical meeting presence across the board. I particularly enjoyed the section summarizing respondents’ answers on what they would miss if they didn’t attend physical events. Only 20% said they would miss seeing speakers in person. That may say more about the sorrowful state of most on-stage presenters and presentations than it does about the audience! Roughly one-third of respondents said they would miss being in other locations and engaging in social activities.
I suppose one could argue that executives in large organizations might not be as tied in to their companies’ presence at trade shows and conventions as the workers farther down the ranks who make it happen. But the trends seem to match something that Sue Pelletier posted last week in her blog about the world of physical meetings. She quoted an analyst who said “When the economy is down, the first thing to go is trade shows.” But she also posted some links to pundits saying that there will always be some need for physical events (Which I don’t think anybody is truly arguing. Even the most rabid virtual events vendors wouldn’t be so crazy as to say that conferencing and virtual trade shows will replace ALL traditional events!)
CES attendance seems to have been way down this year, according to anecdotal evidence from blogs I have read. And noted blogger Robert Scoble wrote a post last month all but kissing off trade shows (which he attributes to the rise of blogging and social networking sites rather than virtual conferencing solutions).
All in all, I’m happier in my position as a webinar consultant than I would be as a meeting planner or conference coordinator!