Are virtual events the future for event agencies?

Are virtual events the future for event agencies?

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, large gatherings have been discouraged by the government, travel bans have been set up, and everyone is advised to practice social distancing.

Needless to say, the public health crisis is causing significant changes in the way most industries operate and people work on a global scale. How can the events industry be an exception? 

Many businesses are either cancelling or postponing the events they’ve been planning to organise for so long – and this includes conferences, seminars, trade shows, and other business meetups. Based on recent industry reports, more than 45% businesses have postponed their events to some point later in the year, 27% have cancelled their events, while many giants like Microsoft and Facebook have decided not to host any major in-person events until summer 2021.

However, numerous event organisers have gladly accepted this challenge and have adopted newer approaches for organising their events, particularly digital solutions that can be leveraged to organise virtual events in the UK. In this article, we will learn more about what are virtual events and hybrid events, what does the future hold for such digital solutions, and whether virtual events are actually the future.

What is a Virtual Event?

A virtual event is a meeting that’s hosted online. Some common examples include online webinars, virtual meets via Zoom or other video conferencing tools, etc. Having said this, virtual events such as online conferences are expected to become increasingly popular in the near future, given the availability of virtual event platforms such as Hopin and the general inability to hold public gatherings in-person.

 

 

How do Virtual Events Stack up AgainstIn-Person Events?

Virtual events save the attendees a lot of time, as they don’t need to travel. Plus, they are way cheaper to organise since event organisers don’t have to spend as much on virtual event planning and logistics – things like hiring a venue for the event, or dealing with caterers – which means ticket prices can be significantly lowered.

Apart from this, virtual events are more sustainable in comparison to in-person events. The best part? Attendees can participate from anywhere, regardless of their personal circumstances.

However, virtual events come with their own set of drawbacks. More importantly, most industry-focused events rely on networking as their chief value proposition. Additionally, in the case of experiential events, product sampling, real-life activities, and live entertainment are essential – not to mention food and drinks. All of these are very tough, if not impossible, to replicate in digital or virtual environments.

If this wasn’t enough, most remote attendees are likely to get distracted by their emails, social media, or perhaps their families, since virtual events are still a relatively new concept. No wonder why some experts believe a virtual event will likely bring in no more than one-half the revenue of an in-person event. 

Are Virtual Events the Future for Event Agencies?

Since the dynamics of in-person events are quite difficult to replicate in the case of a virtual event, it will be tough for businesses to extract sufficient value out of virtual events. If this continues to hold true, we might notice a gradual drop in the demand for organising virtual events in the post-pandemic era. 

Since in-person events have become undeniably valuable for most businesses and virtual events will never be able to take their place, they are still going to rule in the long-term. But for now, many businesses may need to opt for virtual events, until the world regains normalcy.

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