Virtual events are not a new concept.The Eventeye team has been working with event organisers on their virtual events since before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, yet what the experience has taught us is that virtual events are now an important part of the event mix.
They have provided a solid platform for businesses across the globe to continue to do business when many haven’t even been able to leave their homes and have shown us all that, in fact, they work really well.
Virtual events have been a great tool for helping us keep in touch in 2020.
International lockdowns meant that many businesses had to adapt quickly to new virtual ways of meeting and despite the odd everyday issues, I’m confident the majority of people you ask would suggest that virtual meetings were much easier than they initially thought they would be and have been incredibly successful.
This is because virtual events have many advantages and benefits for both delegates and organisers, not least the opportunity for globally dispersed groups of people to meet, share and collaborate.
Technology is also advancing at a rate of knots with event suppliers adding more features, benefits and functionality to their platforms making the experience more fluid, engaging and interactactive.
Much like companies that have embraced remote working versus getting employees to travel and lose many hours of unproductive down time, virtual event attendees are also seeing the advantages of being able to join a conference or meeting from the comfort of their home office, kitchen or coffee shop (depending on your local restrictions).
However you look at it greater numbers of people are joining events from far reaching corners of the world. In fact, 86% of participants in online meetings report an equal or higher level of engagement compared to in-person meetings according to a survey by marketing company IMPACT.
We are creatures of habit and actually although we all see the value in personal interaction and face to face meetings we also see the benefits of a hybrid approach where in the future 500 people could be ‘in the room’, yet 5,000 could be ‘virtually in the room’
A big misconception among event organisers is that virtual events won’t bring revenue like that of live events from ticket sales or sponsorship packages.
Yet, it is now possible to commercialise digital events and in some ways with the cost model of a live event being far greater than virtual, many companies are on the path to seeing revenue gains.
Perhaps not inline with live events yet, but certainly moving in a positive direction.
Branding, networking and visual opportunities are being used instead of traditional live packages like sponsoring lanyards and a great benefit of virtual events is that you can still exhibit, sponsor a session and digitally share information or intelligence during and post event, which in a digital world offers great advantages and measurability.
Those events that have simply been unable to cancel have found a way during Covid-19 and nearly 12 months since the wheels of the events industry started to slow, these same organisations that have no choice but to share information or keep stakeholders informed or rollout critical information, are starting to reap the rewards of their hard work.
In a digital world virtual was already starting to pave the way in how we meet, yet circumstance has firmly driven home the importance of ensuring we have all of the tools and options to not only meet in person but digitally too.
When live events return both due to necessity and ease of use, we believe virtual meetings will be part of the events calendar going forward and are certainly here to stay.