Virtual events have become the new normal over recent years. The event industry had to adapt to the pandemic and its associated restrictions for large gatherings.
But does this mean that in-person events are a thing of the past? Not necessarily! While many companies are embracing the digital age in all its glory, in-person is still an option.
Whether it’s a hybrid event or fully digitalised, there are many reasons why virtual events are here to stay.
Before exploring these reasons, let’s look at which events have transitioned to digital.
Events on digital platforms
Many may regard a digital event as only a webinar, conference, or family event. There’s much more than just these few. Here are some that have become popular during the peak of the pandemic season.
Job or career expos
These expos are also known as Job Fairs aimed at job seekers and organisations looking to fulfill vacant positions. A neutral party usually arranges these events, seeking to meet the needs of the two groups.
Taking this expo online allows for recruitment opportunities to continue uninterrupted.
Virtual open days
Every year many schools and tertiary institutions have open days to showcase what they have to offer prospective students. By going virtual, this process allows students to continue with their education despite restrictions.
The entertainment industry also moved its shows online. It’s not the same as having a live audience, but it allows musicians to continue generating an income.
Online training or workshops
Some businesses have started hosting online courses to help compensate for the loss of revenue during the pandemic. There are currently many virtual classes teaching people how to cook, create art, coding, and other skill-based training.
The future of virtual events
So why have virtual events become the preferred choice for most events? Here are the five main reasons we believe digital events aren’t going away.
1. Virtual events are more cost-effective
By now, it’s well-known that virtual events are much cheaper to plan and run than in-person events, which can be exorbitant. When you’re looking at venue rental, catering, and equipment, the costs of face-to-face events add up. Virtual events eliminate many of these expenses.
With fewer workers needed to put an event together, you’ll cut a significant chunk from the cost.
Similarly, you’re less limited by budget when it comes to aesthetics and design. Imagine the cost of covering a room in diamonds, yet these are merely colors and pixels online.
Another saving in the hustle and bustle of today's world is that of time. Attending online events eliminates futile time spent traveling to and from the venue. Participants can save more time when there are various sessions at an event, and they can choose which one to attend.
In addition, arranging a virtual event doesn’t demand as much in terms of time and planning. Time is money, and everyone can do with some more.
Finding speakers for a 30-minute session is also easier as they’d rather agree to this than longer traveling to speak for a few minutes.
Every event organiser would like to give their attendees a memorable experience, but this comes with a huge price tag. A digital experience can be as impressive but at a reduced rate. The ROI is therefore much higher, and you can use the extra income to invest in the technology used for virtual events.
In fact, with all the savings, you could reduce your ticket price, which can draw more attendees. Not paying the same fee for an in-person event contributes to the audience having a more pleasant experience.
2. Virtual events have a greater reach
With travel prices, personal commitments, and health issues, many people are unable to attend events in person. Digital gatherings make attendance a possibility for more people like:
- People who live in remote areas or abroad where commuting is difficult.
- Sick, disabled individuals, or those not physically capable of attending an in-person event.
- Persons from disadvantaged backgrounds who can’t afford traveling or accommodation expenses.
- Introverts or agoraphobes who avoid public gatherings.
- Those who’re unable to take time off from work.
- Parents who don’t have any childcare options.
- Individuals who’re hearing impaired can partake from the comfort of their homes, thanks to captions and screen readers.
Thanks to modern technology, these people now have the opportunity to be included. These events are more likely to have a higher attendee rate than in-person ones.
Even with an increase in attendance, virtual gatherings dispel any concerns about whether the venue is big enough. Removing geographical barriers allows anyone anywhere to attend from the comfort of their home.
Sharing virtual events with others is easy and increases the number of live viewers and post-event engagement.
3. Virtual events allow for international speakers and guests
Digital gatherings allow you to arrange international speakers and guests to make appearances and have host panels. These speakers bring in more viewers and create a plethora of interesting content which you can share across promotional material and social media.
Remote connection saves on flight and accommodation costs and travel incentives for these presenters. It also creates an opportunity for participants to hear prominent speakers share their insights.
4. Virtual events generally reduce the risk of cancellation
There have been many occasions where organisers had to cancel events for various reasons. One of these is the weather, especially when the gathering is outdoors. Another risk factor is COVID which has and may still create a disruption. Once there’s an increase in positive cases, you may risk having an in-person gathering canceled.
There are instances where flights are delayed or canceled. There might also be difficulties with public transport. A virtual show or conference reduces the possibility of non-attendance and cancellation.
5. Virtual events allow for more possibilities
Despite virtual event technology still being relatively new and unexplored, the possibilities that come with digital events are endless. In-person gatherings may limit you to the OHS guidelines, spatial constraints, rental availability, etc. In virtual spaces, these limitations are almost non-existent.
The possibilities are also numerous when you consider all you can offer. You now have the opportunity to cater to almost every attendees’ needs. There’s a range of options, from hiring inspirational speakers and professional entertainers to hosting auctions, competitions, or virtual parties.
You also have various platforms to choose from. Consider free services like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube or paid options like Zoom. With these possibilities, you can choose whatever suits you, your budget, and your target audience.
With various possibilities also comes flexibility. You have the freedom to make your event interactive or hybrid, allowing for some form of interaction that’ll keep your attendees captivated. Pre-recording your event is also another option, or recording it live for others to enjoy at a later date.
Change brings opportunity
The change we experienced during the pandemic has been unpleasant and devastating to many. It also opened everyone’s eyes to new opportunities and started thinking outside the box.
When human interactions moved to digital, it wasn’t easy, but it created a whole new world of opportunities. It’s undeniable that it’s a better and more affordable way of bringing people together. As we move forward from this life-changing experience that the world endured, one thing that’ll remain is virtual events.
What do you think? Is virtual here to stay, or will hybrid and in-person events take precedence?