The Future of Virtual Events
Updated: Apr 28
The last 12 months have been a challenge and we are all keen to leave them behind. As the pandemic progressed into 2021, most, if not all, events across every sector were cancelled and continually postponed. However, it has not been all doom and gloom in the events industry. The most significant positive is the focus on virtual events and how these have become a staple for businesses across the UK and beyond.
Not only has the virtual corporate events scene continued to boom since the outbreak of Covid-19, but hybrid events have also seen a good level of popularity with businesses looking to utilise them when possible out of lockdown restrictions. With these types of events growing and the likelihood that Covid-19 will prevent large-scale events from happening at all in the foreseeable, how will the future of virtual events fare from now on?
What are physical, virtual and hybrid events?
If you or your business have had the experience of both physical and virtual events, then you should be aware of the differences between the two. Physical events are usually large-scale and are fixed to one location at a specific time. In contrast, virtual events are not always set in a single location and they can be accessed by guests from across the globe. They can also be interactive and the footage can be reused. Hybrid events connect the two, with having virtual elements as well as physical elements. They are seen as having the best mixture and benefit people who prefer physical events but appreciate the uniqueness of virtual events. When planning a hybrid event, you can choose a physical event with live streaming capabilities or a more complex event with thousands of attendees and virtual/face-to-face networking sessions available. There are endless options.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes should be looking at virtual and hybrid events to stay in the limelight during times when meeting face-to-face isn’t possible. With the likes of virtual events platform Hopin rising in value by the millions, it is looking ever likely that virtual events are here to stay. Although there are multiple benefits of physical events, such as meeting and networking with people face-to-face, the future is suggesting that businesses will fare much better in planning events to be virtual or hybrid instead.
Benefits of Virtual Events
Virtual events are built to reach as many people as possible, with attendees able to join from different countries. Physical events are unfortunately tied to only one location, and potential guests have to deal with the costs of transport and accommodation. Plus, there is only a certain amount of physical space so tickets will be limited and profits restricted. Now with Covid-19 impacting our ability to travel across the country and the rest of the world, it is and will continue to be even more difficult to attend these events. Virtual events are far superior in reaching a larger audience that perhaps many businesses did not think was even possible.
Virtual events now also offer multiple platforms for businesses to venture down, similar to venues used to host physical events. There are a variety of virtual event platforms available, as we have discussed previously. They allow attendees to watch live streams, interact with business owners via Q&As as well as polling, view on-demand content, network with attendees, visit exhibitor marketplaces, host poster sessions, and more. With these platforms being so readily accessible, it has never been easier for businesses to plan their events, and if you are looking to organise something spectacular, we can help you to plan something that is more akin to a TV show than a Zoom conference.
If you are looking for any inspiration to help you plan a virtual event or hybrid event, check out our blog on virtual event ideas. In terms of what you can plan for an event virtually, there are so many creative ideas that can appeal to a wide variety of industries. Virtual parties, virtual conferences, and virtual exhibitions can each benefit from more visually appealing content. The more interactive they are, the more likely the attendees will leave the event feeling impressed, educated and entertained.
The Benefits of Hybrid Events
Hybrid events are perhaps the best way to please everyone. If you are pricing the event and are not sure how to do it in a fair way for people who can attend both the physical and virtual elements instead of those who can only attend the virtual elements, include a pricing system with these problems addressed. That way, you can ensure that you welcome as many participants as possible whilst keeping them happy knowing that their financial and geographical situations have been thought of before the event.
Statistics can also be recorded in terms of what works best and what does not work - something a physical event may struggle to do. Seeing what attendees engage with virtually as opposed to physically will be a great way to improve services in the next event you plan. Analytical technologies are able to help in this department, offering a deep dive into what is performing well and what attendees actually think of your hybrid event.
With virtual and hybrid events being a lot more flexible in terms of location, time, finances for both attendees and your business, creativity and now engagement - it is time for businesses in the UK to start planning this kind of event if they are not doing so already. The future has already arrived - thanks to Covid-19.
These are only a few benefits that virtual and hybrid events offer to businesses in 2021. If you are planning on organising a virtual event this year and need expert input, contact The Chameleon Agency, or you can view our virtual events page for more information. We have got everything you need to create an unforgettable experience from start to finish and take the complexities out of your hands.