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Until We Meet Again: Sodexo Unveils Consumer Sentiment Study, Showing How Different Countries Gauge Returning to Live Events

November 09, 2020

GAITHERSBURG, Md. (November 9, 2020) – Sodexo Sports & Leisure – the Sodexo division dedicated to live events, sports and cultural destinations – today announced the results of a new survey which found that comfort levels are high across the international countries of the U.S., United Kingdom, France and Spain, as it pertains to returning to live sports, conventions and other cultural and entertainment destinations. 

The goal of the research, conducted in October 2020 by Harris Interactive exclusively for Sodexo, was to look quantitatively at the consumer sentiment for visiting and gathering together, as long as safety protocols are enacted. This was the second wave of research, as Sodexo looks to bring consistent third-party insights to client partners as we prepare to reopen together. 

The research curated 1000+ people per market, all 18+ years old who have visited/attended at least one of a sports events, cultural venue, conference/convention, and/or personal events in the past 12 months.

“The results of this important study prove how much people are missing live experiences and social interactions on a large, global scale,” said Nathalie Bellon-Szabo, Global Chief Executive Officer, Sodexo Sports & Leisure. “The social value of attending live events, visiting a museum or a tourist attraction is a common bond that we all share. Rest assured that the health and safety of our employees and consumers is our top priority, and we will rely on our systematic and comprehensive reopening approach – Rise with Sodexo – to help our clients implement the proper changes to their daily operations.” 

Amongst the key takeaways of the study with Harris Interactive

Convention and Conference Centers

  • Why? The majority of respondents still see conventions and conferences as opportunities to keep up-to-date with relevant topics and to help with their learning and development. In this second wave, these are also still seen as a great way to keep up to date with the topics people are interested in as well as to keep updated with their industries.
  • What? In all four countries, between 55 and 65% of people are now at least somewhat comfortable about visiting a convention and/or conference center in a hall or similar venue.
  • When? Over 50% of people would feel comfortable attending a conference or convention in the next six months. 
    • Compared to the previous wave, we see an increase in those claiming they will wait for a vaccine or permanent solution before they go back, particularly in France and Spain.
    • Also, in France, there has been a significant increase in those claiming they would like to attend as soon as possible, suggesting their views on timings are becoming polarized. Across all countries, about 2 in 10 will wait for a vaccine or permanent solution.
  • How? The top factors that would make people more comfortable remains consistent:
    • Proper social distancing guidance
    • Mandatory use of hand sanitizers
    • Compulsory wearing of masks
    • Staff wearing masks and gloves.

Cultural Venues

  • Why? Cultural venues are still primarily seen as helping people to learn more and as a source of inspiration. In the U.S. and France though, fewer respondents now see them as a way to relax after a busy week and those in the U.K. and Spain are less likely now to see them as an opportunity to socialize.
    • Of those consumers who feel comfortable enough to attend a cultural venue, most do so because they miss visiting them, although this result has significantly decreased amongst Americans between June and October 2020.
  • What? Out of all of the countries surveyed, comfort levels are now significantly higher for the U.S., closely followed by France and Spain. In all three countries, about 70% of people are at least somewhat comfortable about visiting cultural venues as soon as they open again. 
  • When? There is a significant increase in the proportion of people who would feel comfortable visiting a cultural venue again as soon as possible across all countries, especially in France, followed by Spain, the U.S. and then the U.K. 
    • However, there is a significant increase in the number of respondents across all countries who will wait for the outbreak to be eradicated or for a vaccine, with the exception of the US, suggesting a more positive outlook in America. 
  • How? Respondents in all countries would feel more comfortable to visit a cultural venue if the following were in place: Mandatory use of hand sanitizers at every entrance.
    • Proper social distancing guidance
    • Compulsory wearing of masks inside the venue, with the exception of the US which has seen not only a significant drop here but also across more than half the measures included in the study. 

Sports Stadiums and Arenas 

  • Why? In the first wave of the research, the majority of respondents claimed they saw sports events as opportunities to go out, socialize and relax. Now, sports continue to provide opportunities to get out of the house, socialize with family and friends, wind down after a long and busy week and help with mental wellbeing. But, feeling ‘lost without attending sports events’ seems somewhat less important, and has fallen in the U.S., France and Spain.
    • For those who would feel comfortable enough to visit sports events again, scores remain relatively consistent. 
    • Around 50% continue to miss the social aspect, although this has dropped in all markets except Spain since the last wave. 
    • Watching live sports to help with mental wellbeing remains important in all countries and even more so now in Spain, where we see a significant increase driven by males.
  • What? Out of all of the countries surveyed, comfort levels are now significantly higher for the U.S. and France. In these countries, about 70% of people are now at least somewhat comfortable about visiting sports events in a stadium/arena as soon as they open again. 
  • When? There is a noticeable change, insofar as the U.S., France and Spain are now more likely to want to visit a sports event in a stadium as soon as possible. At the same time, though, the proportion of those reluctant to do so until there is a vaccine also has increased in the U.K., France and Spain. As such, the results are more polarized than in the first wave. 
  • How? All countries continue to state that they would feel more comfortable attending sports events in a stadium if certain factors were adhered to:
    • Proper social distancing guidance
    • Mandatory use of hand sanitizers
    • Staff wearing masks and gloves
    • Compulsory wearing of masks inside the stadium
    • However, scores for most of these measures in the UK have seen a significant decrease versus the last wave

About Sodexo Sports & Leisure 

Sodexo Sports & Leisure operates and manages prestigious venues and major events around the world. Combining technique and creativity, our turnkey solutions cover ticketing, travel, foodservices, logistics, marketing and technical organization. In this digital age, Sodexo helps clients integrate new technologies into their events offering innovative and personalized services. Sodexo contributes to the success of prestigious events such as Royal Ascot, the Super Bowl, the Tour de France and the Rugby World Cup, and makes exceptional places shine like the Eiffel Tower, Bateaux Parisiens, the National Gallery in London and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Find out more at www.sodexo.com.

About Sodexo

Founded in Marseille in 1966 by Pierre Bellon, Sodexo is the global leader in services that improve Quality of Life, an essential factor in individual and organizational performance. Operating in 64 countries, Sodexo serves 100 million consumers each day through its unique combination of On-site Services, Benefits & Rewards Services and Personal & Home Services. Sodexo provides clients an integrated offering developed over more than 50 years of experience: from foodservices, reception, maintenance and cleaning, to facilities and equipment management; from services and programs fostering employees’ engagement to solutions that simplify and optimize their mobility and expenses management, to in-home assistance, child care centers and concierge services. Sodexo’s success and performance are founded on its independence, its sustainable business model and its ability to continuously develop and engage its 420,000employees throughout the world. Sodexo is included in the CAC Next 20, ESG 80, FTSE 4 Good and DJSI indices.

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