ON24 Inc., a supplier of webcasting and virtual-event solutions, last week released the results of an online survey it conducted in December of more than 300 enterprise business executives about their plans to attend or host live trade shows, conventions, and sales training seminars in 2009 versus their use of virtual events.

Some of the survey results:

  • 42 percent expect participation in physical trade shows to be down by as much as 50 percent;
  • 64 percent expect to have fewer physical sales kick-off seminars—or none at all;
  • 60 percent expect training, management, and other internal events to be down 20 to 50 percent;
  • 76 percent say their company has already begun using virtual events (53 percent) or plans to begin using them (23 percent) to supplement some of their physical events in 2009.

Perhaps more interesting was how happy respondents say they are not to have to travel to live events.

While 61 percent say they would miss seeing people in person, less than 35 percent say they would miss traveling to other locations and attending social activities; only 20 percent would miss seeing speakers in person.

Attending virtual events, on the other hand, has several corresponding benefits: 75 percent appreciate that no travel is required; 64 percent like being able to attend the virtual sessions on their own schedules, and 58 percent find it useful to be able to forward their colleagues virtual sessions that they believe are of interest to them.

In addition, more than one third of respondents cite the social networking benefits of virtual events, including the ability to see a list of all attendees in advance (35 percent); to contact other attendees online throughout the event (40 percent); and to get information on people (32 percent) and companies (34 percent) they meet electronically.

For more about the survey, visit On24.