The business events industry must adopt a new ROI to respond to the changing needs of attendees and planners, according to Event with Intent, a new report commissioned by ExCeL London.
Insights gathered from 300 delegates, event organisers and agencies explored event visitor behaviours and factors influencing attendance.
The report, launched at IBTM in Barcelona last week, calls for the industry to redefine ROI as ‘Return on Intent’ to measure and match event demands with outcomes.
It reveals that whilst ‘bleisure’ opportunities – the combination of business and leisure – are still relevant, delegates are more focused than ever on maximising the business value of events and conferences.
Networking is king – over 60% cited this as their primary reason for attending a live event, and those networking opportunities need to feel organic, authentic and unforced, to ensure a successful event for attendees
The report suggests environmental and social impact is also increasingly important to delegates, scoring 4/5 for importance on average.
Venue location is of prime importance, and in particular the travel connections to the venue and destination – 88% of event attendees indicated that this has a high or very high impact on their decision to attend. Cities with an evergreen appeal include those with a universal language, diversity and a high volume of direct flights and public transport links.
London came out as the top destination for an event, thanks to its rich cultural heritage, excellent connectivity and transport links, and the fact that as a global business centre it can offer networking and partnership opportunities as well as access to expertise beyond the event itself.
Event organisers should think about ways to measure ‘return on intent’. For example, through a post-event survey tracking if attendees feel the event delivered against their decision to attend.
Employing behavioural science techniques can better help gauge people’s true reactions to the insights, opportunities and connections on offer at an event. Whilst the practicalities of this must be balanced with commercial reality, it is vital for organisers to show they are listening.