The Event Leadership Institute Releases Results from Attendee Preferences for Live Events in the COVID-19 Era Survey

August 28, 2020 – As planning for modified in-person events for 2021 begins, planners are left wondering how attendees feel about attending on-site events – including the health protocols and procedures that will make them feel safe. According to new research conducted by the Event Leadership Institute (ELI), 96 percent of attendees expect organizers and planners to provide a clear statement and agreement for all participants to follow event rules.

This is just one of several key findings from the ELI research report released today, “Attendee Preferences for Live Events in the COVID-19 Era.”

A total of 764 event and meeting planners, agencies, and other industry vendors and suppliers completed the online survey, conducted July 7 – 31, 2020.

Eighty-two percent of respondents expect organizers and planners to remove anyone not living up to the rules, with 81 percent also calling for the removal of any attendees who break the rules.

A full 90 percent of attendees rank the availability of hand sanitizer everywhere as necessary, with 87 percent also saying it’s important for all attendees to wear a mask.

The survey also revealed 75 percent feel comfortable driving within 2-hours to be a part of an event – and 16 percent are leery of traveling anywhere right now.

“While many of the results were as expected, overall, the findings illustrate the new in-person event strategy and design considerations that planners will have to account for to make audiences feel safe and comfortable to attend,” said Michael Granek, ELI President and COO. “The survey results show how far-ranging the design considerations are – the pandemic has impacted everything from risk management to venue protocols to contracts, food and beverage, and marketing.”

ELI will further dissect the report findings and implications for in-person event strategy and design as part of its newest online certificate course, “Pandemic Meeting & Event Design,” with classes kicking off on September 1 and October 27. Developed in partnership with MPI, the course is eligible for 20 Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) continuing education credits and is designed to provide planners with the resources to implement safer event design.

To download a copy of the report, visit