Latest Freeman Attendee Trends Report Demonstrates the Shifting Demands of Attendees and How to Meet Them

January 17, 2024

What do attendees want in 2024? The good news: More events, according to the latest Freeman Trends Report, “2024 Attendee Intent and Behavior.” In fact, 92% of respondents said they will attend more in-person events in 2024 than in 2023, according to a comprehensive behavioral assessment of B2B events by global events company Freeman.

Building on the findings and insights of Freeman’s Q1 2023 Trends Report that identified attendee gaps, analyzed sentiment and revealed expectations, the 2024 report surveyed attendees to find out what’s changed, what’s remaining the same and what to expect over the next year.

Ken Holsinger, Freeman
Ken Holsinger, Freeman

According to Freeman data, attendee numbers have returned to in-person events, and with the new generation of event goers, show organizers now have more opportunities to capture the hearts and minds of this fresh audience. However, this year’s research demonstrates that while the COVID-19 pandemic is now in the rearview mirror, event planners face a new set of challenges: the disconnect between what planners provide and what attendees value the most.

“Event success relies on more than attendance alone, and there is no one-size-fits-all event strategy,” said Ken Holsinger, Freeman’s senior vice president of strategy. “It’s essential for event planners and exhibitors everywhere to be more intentional by taking a closer look at who attendees are, what they want and how to meet their needs.”

Key data points 

According to the report, 80% of respondents said that in-person events are the most trusted channel of all available marketing channels – a trend that continues to rise. Respondents also said the top factors influencing their in-person event attendance include:

  1. 87% – discovering new products, solutions and partners
  2. 80% – the perceived value of the event relative to professional goals
  3. 78% – the perceived value of the event’s content
  4. 77% – the opportunity to meet new contacts
  5. 68% – the opportunity to reconnect with existing contacts
  6. 67% – event location
  7. 65% – event reputation/ brand recognition
  8. 64% – overall cost
  9. 54% – registration price

Additionally, across all four generations (Boomer, X, Millennial and Gen Z) surveyed, the desire for personalized experiences remained constant.

4 takeaways on event strategy in 2024

In terms of how to rethink event excellence, the study highlights four key components planners should adopt to better meet the evolving needs of attendees:

  1. Personalization: Now that AI enables personalization at scale, it’s up to event planners to incorporate personalized experiences, such as curated agendas, persona-based wayfinding and interest-driven meetups.
  2. Objective-based measurement: Examine who attends your events, discern how they’re different and calibrate your strategy and measurement methods to deliver an attendee-centric event.
  3. Content: Know what attendees need so you can deliver the right content at the right time to help them achieve their goals.
  4. Change: Organizers must always keep a pulse on the social and economic landscape when planning events.

“It’s time to reimagine what events can be from the eyes of the attendees and allow their needs to drive our strategy and measurement methods,” Holsinger added.


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