ON24, the global leader in webcasting and virtual event solutions, today announced results from a survey of energy and utility industry executives about rising global energy costs and their impact on the adoption of virtual communication alternatives. The energy and utility company executives polled confirmed that economic conditions are affecting them, both in the board room and at home.
Increased fuel and energy prices are driving budget concerns, with 73% of the 200 respondents saying it is important to cut transportation expenses, given today’s economy. A dramatic 100% of respondents stated that their companies are increasing use of virtual events and webcasts as part of a cost-reduction strategy.
“Our objective was to evaluate whether or not the energy industry specifically is seeking to reduce costs and environmental impact while staying connected to stakeholders around the world,” explained ON24 CMO Denise Persson. “Our primary conclusion is that energy executives realize that the ‘old way’ of doing business no longer makes sense, especially in times of economic uncertainty.”
In addition to increasing the use of virtual events and webcasts, the executives listed a number of additional measures companies are implementing to reduce transportation costs, including reducing the need for travel (82%) and the number of in-person meetings, conferences and trade shows (55%). An equal percentage cited employer-supported employee telecommuting.
Personal budgetary concerns – as well as convenience – also played a part in responses to ON24’s survey. The fluctuating costs of gasoline, coupled with the generally uncertain economy, have affected utility and energy corporate executives and their families; most are reducing driving, and 46% report that they are carpooling and shopping online more. They are also:
· Using public transportation (27.3%)
· Shopping around for the best prices on gas (18.2%)
The Benefits of Virtual Events
ON24 found that energy and utility executives prefer virtual events for numerous personal and professional reasons. Almost 91% cited the elimination of travel as a key benefit of virtual events, and 37% ranked saving on gasoline as a benefit. Other factors included:
· The ability to reach people all over the globe anytime (81.8%)
· The ability to attend from one’s own computer (72.7%)
· Virtual events are “greener” than traditional in-person events (64%)
ON24 has compiled data around the environmental benefits of virtual events, showing that a virtual event with 2,300 participants can reduce carbon emissions by some 3,300 tons; an estimated 17,000 trees would be needed to have a similar effect. Furthermore, a virtual event saves an average of 36,000 sheets of paper per event and can decrease both water consumption and the creation of solid waste.
The ON24 survey was conducted in the second quarter of this year. “Surviving and thriving in a turbulent economy, both personally and professionally, requires a new set of tools and a high degree of adaptability,” said Persson. “Our survey data show that virtual events continue to gain traction because they enable companies to adapt and save money, be kinder to the environment, and offer previously unachievable levels of convenience and engagement.”
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