Six in 10 UK executives attending B2B events desire a more personalised experience before, during, and after an event. According to an in-depth research study commissioned by Cvent and conducted by Edelman Intelligence called ‘Inside the Mind of Event Attendees’, the results illustrate the need for event organisers and marketers to provide more personalised events based on the unique interests of their attendees.

Half of UK attendees would like recommendations for other attendees to network with based on their industry and job role. Nearly half (47%) would like a detailed schedule to be created for them by the organisers, including recommended sessions, and dining and social options. More than a quarter (27%) of UK attendees would like a personal concierge that ‘assists me throughout the entire event attendee process from registration to my home journey afterwards.’ 

The research includes responses from 3,000 event attendees (1,000 from the UK, 1,000 from Germany and 1,000 from the US) globally who had attended at least one B2B event in the past six months. The research identified the attitudes and preferences of attendees regarding the overall event experience; including pre-, during and post-event communications. In the UK the breakdown of respondents was 36% Millennials, 44% Generation X and 20% Baby Boomers. The top five industries from respondents include education, business & professional services, healthcare & medical, technology, and retail.

Other highlights of the study include: 

Quality of learning is a key factor driving attendance.

  • The quality of the overall learning opportunity was cited as the most important factor in deciding whether to attend an event.
  • Three quarters of UK attendees say professional events offer important learning opportunities.
  • Two thirds of UK attendees take at least one new learning from each event they attend.

Networking opportunities at events impact attendees both professionally and personally.

  • Nearly three quarters (74%) of UK attendees believe ‘networking with other attendees is a key part of the professional event experience.’
  • Nearly six in ten UK attendees (59%) have made a meaningful business connection at an event.
  • 16% of attendees have received a new job because of a connection made at a professional event.

Mobile event apps offer added value.

  • 71% of attendees report mobile apps have been valuable to them at events.
  • Event app adoption can lead to more educational and engaging experiences, as 53% of those who downloaded an event’s app expressed being likely to attend more events within the year.
  • For attendees, mobile apps remove the stress around an event’s logistics and allow them to more easily navigate and reap value from events.

Attendees often suffer from ‘event stress.’

  • More than a third of attendees in the UK (34%) find the time away from home and loved ones to be stressful when attending events. Across mainland Europe, nearly half (48%) of German attendees find time away to be stressful.
  • UK attendees are more stressed by how to present and conduct themselves with people they don’t know. US attendees are more stressed by balancing their event attendance with keeping up with their regular work. German attendees are more stressed by navigating the event and proving the value of what they have learned.

Cost and value remain top concerns for attendees when deciding whether or not to attend events.

  • Nearly half of UK attendees would go to more events if they could justify the costs.
  • After quality of learning, value for money spent (for US and UK attendees) was cited as the second most important event attendance factor.  German attendees placed more importance on the quality of presentation materials.
  • UK attendees cited geographic location as the third most important factor when deciding whether to attend an event, while German attendees cited ‘location of event space.’

Patrick Smith, Chief Marketing Officer at Cvent (pictured) comments:

“The results of this study give us a clear understanding of what attendees want out of their business events and provides the insights event professionals need to deliver a more impactful and memorable experience. With so many professional development options available today via online platforms and internal trainings, our report illustrates how live events continue to be an extremely valuable way for attendees to grow both personally and professionally.”

“Overall value and justifying time away from the office continue to be driving factors in deciding whether to attend an event, and personalisation can help turn prospects into registrants. As our study reveals, personalisation isn’t simply a buzz-word for the industry but is a very important factor for event organisers and marketers to consider as they look to refine their messaging and tactics to attract attendees – and keep them coming back for future events. For some organisers, this could mean taking a long hard look at traditional formats and discarding the ‘one size fits all’ approach. Getting inside the mindset of the attendee and creating more personalised experiences will mean the needs of attendees are better addressed, which typically means higher attendee satisfaction, growth in event attendance, and a greater return on investment.”

Molly Hookings
Author: Molly Hookings

Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: