As the world is coming to terms with a new normal, our environment is becoming increasingly virtual—essentially overnight. However, just because we have to be physically distant from each other does not necessarily mean we have to remain distant. We are fortunate today that we have a variety of technologies available to us that can create interactive online experiences which can rival live events while continuing to support business activities and maintaining productivity. Virtual events are quickly becoming the accepted means of social and intellectual connection.
Here are 8 of the biggest advantages of moving your event onto a virtual platform:
1. It is Less Expensive to Host a Virtual Event
Event organisers are constantly looking to optimise client’s budgets which are facing increasing limitations. Virtual events have provided the option to reduce the costs to host an event to include the virtual meeting platform itself, combined with the marketing attached to the event. This has decreased the overall costs of delivering typical offline events, such as the venue rental, set up, décor, staffing, meals and travel.
2. Virtual Events Save Time
As ‘time is money’, virtual events save each event stakeholder a lot of time, including the organiser, staff and event attendees. Although virtual events do require some setup time (e.g. event website, registration, event marketing, and promotion, etc.) it is substantially less than that of an in-person event. The reduction of travel time to events increases the likeliness of attendee turnout and increases business efficiency for employees.
3. Virtual Events Provide a Global Reach
Virtual events allow people from across the world to experience seamless participant entry into events without needing to travel. This assists event planners to grow their audience exponentially while facilitating live, interactive participation. Virtual events provide this increased, global reach and visibility to get notice online and engage a company’s target public. Organisers are able to promote their events through website and social media links on the relevant channels and building authentic relationships with influencers across the globe.
4. Virtual Events Offer Increased Event Flexibility
Virtual platforms have increased flexibility on how organisers choose to broadcast their events with what is being displayed across the virtual platform being limited only by our imaginations. Whether you are hosting a thought leadership conference, a sales kickoff, or a festival, you can make the experience as interactive as you choose while still capturing that “live” event feel. This is achieved through the integration of different technologies (i.e. virtual/augmented reality), offering different language options, inviting guest speakers/performers, and much more!
5. Virtual Events Offer Increased Connectivity
Virtual events tend to be faster-paced considering the event attendees don’t have to move from session to session or booth to booth and therefore it can be easier to make connections with other attendees and speakers than at an in-person event. Additionally, since everything is online, attendees can easily record important information, like people’s names, titles, etc. right on their digital device.
6. It is Simpler to Collect Feedback on a Virtual Platform
Similarly, feedback is just as crucial for virtual events to in-person events. However, unlike in-person events, attendees are constantly online at virtual events, which means they can easily answer real-time polls or surveys in sessions. Not only will this real-time feedback help presenters gauge how their session is going in real time but it is also useful to measure the overall success of the virtual event.
7. Measuring Results is A lot Easier Online
The data produced in virtual events varies depending on what platform and event management software is used and gathering data on the event and its attendees is easier during the virtual event than an in-person event because everything is done online, so it can be easily tracked. Organisers are able to tell when attendees logged on, from where, the number of people who attended, what they spent time looking and at which content they engaged with, and much more. This is extremely rich marketing data.
8. Virtual Events Provide Enduring Content
Unlike offline events, virtual events allow businesses to position themselves as leading experts in a given industry while leveraging the credibility and expertise of industry experts to create enduring online content. An event’s success is no longer measured by ticket sales but by lasting impressions, visits and views which can continue to grow long after the event has ended.
While the interest in virtual events has certainly spiked since the coronavirus pandemic, these benefits can be applied to the world of meetings and events long after the end of travel bans and gathering restrictions as a means of augmenting offline event environments and experiences. If you're new to virtual, consider adding a virtual component to your future in-person events as a starting point and seeing how it goes. You're bound to discover a new way to expand and reach your audience.