A record-breaking 877 people attended the virtual component of its 2014 "Convening Leaders" annual meeting, up 40 percent from 2013, the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) reported yesterday. Virtual attendance, it said, made up 17 percent of total Convening Leaders attendance, along with 4,072 people who attended the face-to-face convention — also a record number.
“Our numbers for both mediums prove our strategy is real and relevant — we continue to expand our audience globally as well as within our target audiences,” PCMA President and CEO Deborah Sexton said in a statement. “By releasing these numbers, we hope that the industry understands having a hybrid event will drive new traffic to your brand, and in the upcoming years, to your face-to-face events.”
According to PCMA, the virtual component of its annual meeting — first introduced in 2010 — allows participation by people who are unable to travel, maximizing the meeting’s reach. In fact, 48 percent of those who attended the virtual instead of face-to-face meeting said they did so because of their budget. Another 23 percent cited scheduling conflicts that forbade them from leaving the office, while 13 percent said work/home was too busy. Only 7 percent said they attended the virtual component because it was easier.
In addition to attracting more attendees, this year’s hybrid meeting attracted them for longer, according to PCMA, which said 34 percent of hybrid attendees spent 10 or more hours at the event, compared to just 17 percent last year.
Said PCMA Senior Director of Experience Marketing Mary Reynolds Kane, “It’s exciting — we are converting more and more people to members, to face-to-face attendees and to engage deeper with PCMA. In fact, 65 percent of our hybrid attendees were non-members with 63 percent of those meeting planners.”
Convening Leaders 2014 took place Jan. 12-15, 2014, in Boston.
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