The online era has taken the event industry by storm. After Covid as place the entire world in lockdown, industry leaders found different methods and ways to host events and conferences. These methods have been so influential that even after lockdown, companies still make use of these methods.
With the evolution and advancement of technology, many are asking the key question: Are virtual events going to take over life events? The development has shown that there is a place for both these types of events. Both have benefits and downfalls that could lead individuals to decide on the other options.
Companies have learned to adjust through the last two years, and the future will be no different. Moving events from online to in-person will be determined by every company. The main company’s face is which of the options will outlive the other one.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Virtual Events
As with every part of business decisions, virtual event platforms have their advantages and disadvantages. Companies must evaluate both sides of the coin to determine if virtual events are a viable option.
Benefits of Live Virtual Events
Many in the event industry questioned the start of live virtual events. With a lot of negative perspectives and complaints, a few have made it work. With the rapid growth of events, companies have tapped into the potential and benefits. The first benefit of a virtual event is the cost reduction. The cost can be reduced for both the hosting company and the attendees.
The company will save money on venue hire, vendor selections, and other expenses that are not visible. And while this is a great benefit to the company, attendees will save just as much. Participants do not have to spend money on traveling and accommodation costs and will only have to budget for the registration costs connected to the event.
The second benefit is the reach companies can access with their events. Many companies host one event of its kind in a popular location. And while many might be situated in this area, not all potential customers and clients stay close by. The company can now reach as far as the other side of the world, which increases its client base.
The third benefit is networking. Many have complained about the networking opportunities within a remote event. This has been adjusted. Individuals can now move into smaller rooms and connect with individuals. These rooms are open and available for all attendees to use.
A virtual event will allow flexibility for attendees. Instead of traveling across the U.S. to attend a conference, attendees can hop onto the virtual platform and attend without wasting time. This will improve the sustainability of events in the long run.
One of the last benefits is available data and analytics. Companies now have a wider group of attendees, which allows for more information. This can be data based on geographic, race, and many more. The data can be used to ensure a wider reach with the next virtual event.
Drawbacks of Live Virtual Events
There will be drawbacks to all aspects of the business. Virtual event formats are no different. The first drawback of attending a live event online, or at home is the potential distractions that can be connected to it. Whether it is washing, kids, or any other form of distraction, the attendee will lose focus and find something to do within the time of the event.
Live and in-person events bring a vibe and feeling to the table. When everyone is in the room waiting for guest speakers to share valuable information, the entire room can feel the tension. Online events do not particularly have good tension building before and during an event.
Online business conferences can take away network opportunities and spontaneity from the event. Even though the online platform presents break-out rooms, many would defer from it. Attendees want to connect and network in person. This is directly connected to spontaneity. The schedule for online events is fixed and there is little to no room for creative options.
The last negative aspect is connection errors or troubles. This is one of the biggest problems companies face with online platforms. Big events do not allow time to assist individuals with a connection to the platform. Even though the connection process should be easy, some individuals have slow networks or a lack of support to join the virtual event platform.
Event tech can influence the larger audience that wants to join and receive the information shared by keynote speakers. Thus improving the virtual event platform provider to ensure that remote attendees can enjoy the event is of utmost importance.
What’s The Difference Between Live and Virtual Events?
There are a few differences between the virtual event formats and live in-person events. A live virtual event is an event that will be hosted on a virtual platform where virtual audiences can join anywhere in the world, by simply clicking on a link.
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Virtual events will allow attendees to join the event, virtually. This will allow them to be stationed in their homes or the office at work, and still join the event, obtaining all information that is shared through the event.
Live in-person event is hosted at a set location, where attendees have to travel and enjoy the vibrance and enjoyment of a live event. Attendees travel far and wide to attend this live event. Booking into hotels and setting out days to network and enjoy a live event with other attendees.
Do People Still Attend Virtual Events?
There are two sides of the coin here. Whether companies will host online events and if the attendees will attend these types of events. A survey conducted provides us with valuable information. Companies will host online events due to some of the benefits.
77.2% of companies will use virtual live events to allow access for attendance, 64.9% want to ensure global reach and 47.4% are considering this option due to the low cost of hosting a virtual event.
According to Statista, 57% of the participants would prefer a hybrid or in-person event over 33% of virtual event attendees. This provides companies with crucial information that the target audience would love the attend an in-person event over a live virtual conference.
What Are Hybrid Events?
A hybrid option is a combination of a virtual event and a physical event. Hybrid events will take the benefits of both in-person and virtual events and connect them to form a hybrid event.
There are two methods of creating a hybrid event. The first is to determine a set location and venue. Then using either an event planner or coordinator to organize the entire event. The team will then have set cameras at specific locations which will allow the company to live stream the entire event.
Another form of a hybrid event is hosting a set part of the event on an online platform, while the other part is solely a physical event. This will allow the attendees to book a set hotel and travel for shorter periods while still enjoying the entirety of the event. The noisy hotel rooms and traveling problems can become overwhelming. This is where hybrid events offer the solution. This allows attendees to be present in person or virtually, which will provide them with maximum engagement at the event.
What Are In-Demand Formats? Live vs Virtual Events or Hybrid
There is enough room for both of these formats in the business world. The better question to ask is what format the company wants to make use of. This will determine the demand for each of these formats.
What Should Be The Deciding Factor On Choosing The Best Format For Your Event?
Most companies do not have a set format for all their events. This is necessary because some events require in-person events, whereas other conferences can be done online. The following factors can greatly indicate whether the event requires online or in-person events.
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What Is Your Goal For The Event?
Setting a goal for the event will provide the entire team with guidelines on the most effective format. If the goal is to reach a broader client base, virtual events will be the better option. While some goals such as networking and reconnecting with all stakeholders, can be done and will more more effective in person. Another factor for the goal of an event will be to ensure that a limited audience joins the in-person event. Some physical venues might not be big enough for the entire audience. While an online venue will be able to withhold more attendees.
What Is Your Budget?
A budget is a clear indication of what format will work for the company. A lower budget will lead companies to make use of virtual events. This will allow them to save money and time.
What are your KPIs or Success Factors?
The key performance indicators will allow the team to determine which format will work the best. By simply making use of these factors, companies will use the format that will lead to the highest level of success due to the KPI factors. Evaluating the engagement rate should be part of the KPI to determine whether this kinds of event meet the success factors.
What is Your Timeline?
Planning and creating a live event will take a planner more time and money. Thus if the company is fighting against time, a virtual event will be more effective. Another form of a timeline that will be a factor is the time attendees have to visit the locations. If the event is far and attendees will need to travel far, a virtual event will be the better option.
What are the Negative Effects of Virtual Events?
There are a few negative traits. The one is the connection errors and troubleshooting. Another is the lack of networking or communication. The last negative trait is the lack of experience. Live events have a sense of experience and excitement to them, whereas virtual events lack that feeling and vibrance of the in-person event.
What are Examples of Virtual Events?
Tradeshows, conferences, and sports events that are live-streamed to the target audience are all great examples of virtual events.
What are Other Names of Virtual Events?
The creation of virtual meetings dates back to the mid-1990s. Some argue that Microsoft was the first to make use of sharing screens virtually which is the start of a virtual event. Xerox on the other hand release the very first virtual event software.
What is the Difference Between Live Events and Telecasts?
A live event captures the data as is, at the moment, and displays it on another monitor for the attendee to witness. Telecasts refer to a recording of some sort, displayed on the attendee’s screen. One is life and happening as they watch, while the other is prerecorded and played for the attendees.
There is enough space in the event industry for virtual, hybrid, and in-person events. Companies must use their creativity to ensure that they meet the attendees where they are. Companies must make use of each format to ensure that the company can grow its client base.
Virtual events are not going to take over the entire industry. However, the use of these types of formats will have a greater impact as more companies adjust and change their mindset and use thereof. Virtual or in-person, events must be to ensure that the attendees can gain the most out of them.