Pandemic restrictions may be easing and the way we work may be returning to some semblance of normality, but virtual conferences and events are very much here to stay. That is the sentiment which lies at the heart of the events industry, as it looks to the future, not only embracing the options presented by a hybrid strategy but also continuing forward with the benefits of going virtual.
With that said, while entirely virtual events have giving businesses and organisations an opportunity to expand their audience and tap into new places without huge expenditure, as we move into a post-Covid future, as the world reopens it seems as if hybrid events and events with a virtual option are very much here for the long run.
The Benefits of Virtual Events
Simply put, virtual events allowed the marketing and events industry to continue to run in the middle of the pandemic. It gave businesses a way of continuing to engage with their audience, whilst allowing them to launch and market new products and services, and it created an opportunity for networking and uninterrupted business management and communications to continue.
And that’s not all.
Virtual events are proven to be more cost effective and emit up to 40 times fewer carbon emissions than a standard event. This particular claim comes from a sustainability study which looks at the way standard events demand travel, high energy consumption and waste all contained in one place – while a virtual event allows those same people to log in and communicate with each other remotely.
It also provides a chance for those further afield to get involved and feel part of the overall strategy, event or plan – regardless of where they are. The concept of e-networking is ideal for an international audience, and gives companies a chance to bring their global team together to foster a community vibe, no matter what industry they operate in.
Other benefits include:
- The chance to bring events to a wider audience
- More control over the way the events runs, enabling a more polished event
That’s not to say that virtual events don’t present their own array of challenges, as businesses and organisations found when it came to connectivity and technology glitches, presentations, high audience engagement and interactivity and more. However, over the last 18 months we have seen great waves in innovation across the technology and virtual communications industries, with production companies like Wise Productions existing to support those branching into virtual and hybrid events.
How Virtual Events Might Look In The Future
As we look to the future for the events industry, innovation will continue to lie right at the heart of every new development and every new event plan – from driving leads and getting products and services out there in the spotlight, to encouraging audience engagement and interaction.
With a hybrid events strategy, we are seeing businesses embrace the idea that a physical event can be supplemented with an online and virtual presence, which opens the event floor to both the physical experiences and the virtual touchpoints. Whether a business looks to online polls and Q&A’s delivered through social media, or virtual reality aspects which allow every audience member to feel like they are right at the centre of the event. By moving online, events have been able to keep running and keep engaging with the target audience, creating new outlets and opportunities for interactivity online.
The question on the lips of many events professionals now is how events will run in the future, once live events and physical experiences have returned to normal, and the pandemic is in the rear-view mirror. To them we say this – while there will always be a place for exclusively live events, events should now be approached with a broader mindset, considering the value of a hybrid presence that enables both physical and virtual guests to join in and engage with the full events program.
For more advice and support on how to run a virtual conference or hybrid event, and to discuss our solutions for both client-facing and internal virtual event strategies, get in touch with the Wise Productions team today.