While some industries such as restaurants and retail stores slowly return to regular life, the future of the event industry remains uncertain. More and more event organizers decide to shift to virtual formats instead of postponing in-person events. How long would it take to come back? And will we ever come back to the situation similar to before the pandemic? Are virtual events a new normal? Or just a temporary solution?
Like it or not, there are no right answers to these questions. Everything is based on predictions, opinions, expectations and so on. On the one hand, people are eager to meet each other again to communicate face-to-face, network with like-minded colleagues and facilitate discussions.
On the other hand, the pandemic crisis showed that virtual events have a lot of competitive advantages. And here are the four reasons why virtual events are about to stay:
1. Lower overhead costs
One trillion dollars in direct spending (airfare and other means of transportation, hotels and dining) is generated annually at business conferences. The organizational expenses on venue, catering and equipment are also considerable in on-site events.
Without a doubt, it costs less to host a virtual alternative. For example, renting a venue just to make a recording, as well as online collaborations with speakers, happen to be more cost-effective. These savings allow virtual event organizers to invest more into speakers, programming and modern technology.
At the same time, event technology is becoming one of the major expenditures. High-quality online events are impossible to organize without a complex system of technological tools and equipment. The good news is these technologies are becoming more user-friendly, customizable and wide-spread.
2. Technologies became well-known
Before the pandemic, only the event professionals were familiar with virtual event platforms, online engagement instruments and live streaming technologies. Whereas nowadays a lot more people aren’t just familiar with these event technologies but also know how to use these tools effectively to serve their own needs. In fact, internet conferencing and other kinds of video content will account for 80% of all web traffic by 2021.
Moreover, the industry continues to work closely on developing the technologies that would help to simulate the real event atmosphere. It isn’t achieved yet but we are continuously moving towards creating a virtual event experience comparable with in-person events.
3. Attraction of new attendees
Some groups of potential event participants can’t attend the event in-person for several reasons such as too high ticket costs or unwillingness to travel. The shift to virtual events opens up a wider range of participation opportunities for diverse audiences and eliminates the discrimination of attendees based on the cost of the ticket.
Online events are known for higher attendance rates. The main reason is that virtual events are more flexible and put an event participant in the core of the event. The person decides on where and when to attend thanks to the on-demand availability of recorded performances and keynotes.
4. New revenue streams
Virtual events are also a new way to get better revenue for your business. Firstly, new sponsorship deals arise due to the increased attendance and broader online audience reach. Secondly, web-analytics help to analyze the audience better and target the event more effectively. In addition, integrated event platform analytics allow event organizers to adjust the event program and enhance it based on statistics.
Recommended: How to organize a virtual event and make money on it.
Virtual vs hybrid
These are the four reasons why virtual events will last beyond the pandemic and become a part of our regular life at least for the nearest future. Despite the significant benefits of virtual events, experts argue that hybrid events have even more impressive potential. For instance, CEO and Founder of Web Summit and Collision, Paddy Cosgrave, as well as Fernanda Parente, co-founder of Rosy IX, believe that the future is rather hybrid than solely virtual.
As for now, the uniqueness of face-to-face interactions is too strong to be replaced by online communication. Nevertheless, the advantages of virtual events like increased attendance, sustainability and safety remain to be crucial. Therefore, a mixed format seems to be a win-win solution for everybody from sponsors to attendees.
Hybrid events combine in-person and virtual event formats, which allows broadening the audience by covering both on-site and online participants, enrich sponsorship opportunities and add value due to the integrated analytical tools.
Download Liveto’s guide on hosting successful hybrid events.
The time has come
As mentioned in the beginning, the current situation is constantly changing and it’s too early to analyze the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, returning to in-person events might take a lot of time. And most likely, only the local small-scale events will be on rise right after the current COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Large-scale in-person conferences and summits will be back later. That’s why:
- Don’t wait for the better times and ensure your switch from offline to online, or combine both formats.
- Don’t underestimate, maybe your decision to shift would reveal new directions for growth and business prosperity.
- Don’t focus on weaknesses, instead, enhance your event by testing available technological solutions. Nowadays, most of the event platforms support all kinds of virtual events, including webinars, live streams, online conferences and summits.
Liveto’s event sales platform serves both virtual and hybrid events and ensures that the revenue is maximized due to the integrated online sales feature. Enjoy this unique opportunity to sell anything you want even at online events and partner with us. We help your events succeed! Contact us here.