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Why Virtual Events Are Here To Stay Even After In-Person Events Return

Why Virtual Events Are Here To Stay Even After In-Person Events Return

During the global lockdown, virtual events helped businesses break the geographical barriers and connect and engage with their audiences

Virtual events help generate greater ROI and affordability, along with creating meaningful experiences

Shifting that model to 20% in person, 80% virtual is more likely to guarantee success in the future of hybrid

Not so long ago, in a world of lockdowns, venue closures, and social distancing rules, all in-person or physical events came to a halt. At that moment, the virtual events landscape helped global businesses break the geographical barriers and connect and engage with their audiences. 

While some countries are still battling the delta variant and many Covid-19 cases, others have begun relaxing the restrictions allowing certain live events to go ahead. So, as in-person events are slowly coming back to the mainstream, is there still a place for virtual events?

Absolutely. And here’s why. 

Virtual Is The Safest Route

The truth is Covid-19 is not disappearing tomorrow. The global situation can change within a matter of days; event organisers are finding it difficult to put together an effective event strategy and plan hybrid/in-person months or even a year ahead of time. 

With virtual events, organisers can be more agile and plan on the fly. They can react better to what their market is currently talking about and is curious about, successfully executing relevant events within two to four weeks, with no risk. 

Without worrying about another lockdown or changing measures, virtual events have become the safest route and a de-facto option for connecting global audiences and facilitating business and revenue requirements. 

Reaching A Wider Audience

Virtual events have the power to reach exponentially bigger audiences. As people have developed better work-life balance over the pandemic, travelling for a long duration for an event is less and less attractive. Not only that, but virtual events are also much more inclusive. 

It increases the scope of the event, allowing people across the world to join. So can a single mother struggling to arrange childcare, a differently-abled person, a chronic illness sufferer, or a person who simply cannot afford to commute. 

Virtual events allow businesses to accommodate all attendees’ needs, lifestyles, and abilities and expand their audiences to all corners of the world.

Affordability And Greater ROI

Nowadays, many companies have decreased budgets because of the pandemic. However, even with less money to spend, there is still a widespread expectation for events teams to drive more impact and greater ROI. 

Combining affordability with a greater attendee reach, companies can increase their organic ROI as well. Businesses can attract more sponsors, partners, and exhibitors with larger virtual events, driving profitability further. 

Gaining Data-Driven Insights

The right virtual events platform has the power to gather valuable and actionable insights from all event touchpoints, which businesses can use to improve future events or prove the ROI mentioned above. 

With multiple metrics and dimensions being tracked in real-time, organisers can measure attendee reactions and engagement in a way not currently possible with physical events. In addition, they can be better equipped to understand attendee interests or gain a comprehensive breakdown of exhibitor offerings. 

Such a granular analysis and intelligence are irreplaceable and invaluable for businesses trying to deliver robust engagement and yield better ROI. Thus, it is unlikely they will be keen to walk away from it.

Creating Meaningful Experiences

Virtual events platforms are unimaginably transforming events and adding meaning to every event experience. Through artificial intelligence (AI), they are perfecting the science of matchmaking and helping businesses create relevant one-to-one meetings and networking opportunities. 

Based on business goals and needs or even personal interests, AI algorithms can better pair attendees and provide suggestions on relevant speaker sessions ahead or during the event, making it more dynamic and meaningful. If businesses want to attract and engage their audiences, they can no longer approach the events with a ‘come and see who you can meet’ attitude.

What About Hybrid Events?

The risk with hybrid events is that no one can predict the attendees’ reactions and attitudes as people are still largely concerned with safety. Mega events organised for 20,000 to 50,000 attendees that last several days do not yet have a place in today’s post-pandemic world if they are based on the old-school model of 80% in person, 20% virtual. 

The shifting model to 20% and 80% in-person and virtual respectively, is more likely to guarantee success; however, a lot of lessons should be learned from the past 18 months, and contingency plans should be put in place. 

There could be chances that hybrid events will be slow in adoption, with regional micro-parties taking place at first to test the waters. Whatever decision companies will make to activate hybrid events, they should do so slowly and in the safest manner possible to ensure their attendees’ safety and comfort.

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.