Skip to main content

GES Research Uncovers Distinct Groups of Show Attendees with Varying Priorities for Returning to Live Events

88% of Surveyed Attendees Expressed Openness to Attending Shows 

LAS VEGAS –August 20, 2020GES, a global experiential marketing partner to many of the world’s leading brands, surveyed over 1,300 attendees during the months of June and July to understand concerns and impact related to returning safely to live events. The research uncovered five distinct attendee segments based on their COVID-19 perception of risk assessment and mitigation requirements, including temperature checks, mandatory facemasks, sanitation and other. The respondents in these segments ranged from having no concerns returning to shows to being highly concerned about COVID-19 and not believing in mitigation.

The study revealed that 88% of respondents are open to attending shows in person. Overall, the results indicated that 65% demand some form of mitigation to attend, while 23% prefer no mitigation. Five core segments emerged from the study and were classified to their distinct perception of COVID-19 risk assessment and mitigation requirements.

  • Nope! - 12% expressed being highly concerned with health risks and do not believe in mitigation.

Convince Me - 24% were concerned about COVID-19 risk, but open to attending if the event provided high value to them.

  • Open Hall -24% had only moderate concerns about COVID-19. This group was open to personal restrictions but don’t want set meetings or limited meeting times.
  • We Can Do This - 17% responded having only mild COVID-19 concerns and having faith in mitigation procedures.
  • What Virus? - 23% revealed they had low COVID-19 concerns and would like shows to proceed as prior to the health pandemic.

 “GES’ research findings provide great insight to event organizers and underscore how critical it is to understand the attendee base and their risk perceptions to plan event design and mitigation strategies to attendee needs,” said GES Global Chief Marketing Officer Wendy Gibson. “As a leader in the experiential marketing industry, it is our duty to proactively take action to understand all measures necessary and partner with all parties to safely and successfully reopen live events.” 

While following the local guidelines issued by health organizations and local governments, the study highlights it more important than ever to design a show to client segments

and balance considerations between constituents who may have conflicting views of acceptable practices at the event. Having his insight into attendee perceptions will help organizers design their entire event from show schedules that accommodate visitors according to their risk tolerance to separating education activities by in-person and digital learning, and so much more.

Please click here to gain additional insight on GES’ latest research. 


About GES

GES, a Viad Corp (NYSE: VVI) company, is a global, full-service provider for face-to-face experiences, producing exhibits, corporate events, exhibitions, conferences, congresses and entertainment experiences. GES provides a wide range of services, including official show services, audio visual, cutting-edge creative and design, marketing and measurement services, and event accommodations – all with an unrivaled global reach. GES partners with leading brands and shows, including Pfizer, Mary Kay, and CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE. GES’ National Servicenter has been recognized with certification under the J.D. Power and Associates Certified Call Center Program℠ for the past 11 years, and for the 10th year in a row, Ad Age has named GES as one of the Nation’s Largest Experiential/Event Marketing Agency Networks.  For more information visit



Otilia Ayats-Mas