Similar to other industries, COVID-19 initially had devastating effects on the event industry. In 2020, the global live event industry lost over $30 billion in revenue. Ticket sales for the top 100 live acts were down 77% from 57.7 million tickets sold in 2019 to only 13.4 million in 2020. Due to the pandemic, the future of the event industry appeared dark until hybrid and virtual events gained popularity.
Even though the need for entirely virtual events has declined as in-person event numbers begin to stabilize, the frequency of events including a virtual element hasn’t. Hybrid events, the once saving grace of the industry, has many speculators predicting their popularity will lead to an event industry boom. The hybrid event trend has left many event professionals wondering if they should invest in equipment. The leading concern for event organizers is, are hybrid events profitable?
Added features always create new expenses. Not only do companies have to invest in a venue, but they also have to invest in the tech required to make it hybrid. According to G2, 60% of companies that use virtual event software secure a return on their investment within six months. Those numbers aren’t encouraging for start-ups or small event companies with low-profit margins. Unfortunately, the way things stand in the industry, adaptation of hybrid event tech may be inevitable regardless of size and revenue.
The influx of hybrid events means consumers and companies have a significantly larger selection of events they can attend than they did before the pandemic. This leads to more businesses being in direct competition with each other than they were two years ago. An increase in options is expected to have a substantial financial impact on the industry, but consumers don’t have unlimited resources.
Experts have forecasted the global market value of the event industry to climb to $2.194 trillion by 2028. Hybrid events were the most influential factor when calculating that figure. Removing geographical barriers and eliminating travel expenses allows customers to participate from virtually anywhere. Hybrid events hold the potential to provide exponential growth opportunities to companies across the industry.
Adding online attendees to in-person gatherings gives event companies and sponsors new avenues to get their message in front of a specific audience. During lulls between speakers or down-time at intermission, ads can be broadcasted on viewers’ screens to inform them about products or services relevant to the event. An increase in attendance then positions event companies to charge sponsors more for ad space. Due to the amount of growth the industry is expected to experience, all event companies should at least receive a consultation on how they should take on the changes in their line of work.