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

January 18, 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, organizers face a new set of challenges: the disconnect between what event planners provide and what attendees (and exhibitors) 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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Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact