The events industry has changed quite rapidly in recent years, but never as dramatically as in 2020. We have had to completely reinvent ourselves and technologies that had already been in the works for some time have accelerated from experimental ideas to everyday occurrences in a matter of months. This has led to a large part of the audience of the event discovering the benefits of digital and virtual events, and many have been impressed by this new way of meeting and working, to the point that they have decided to continue using these technologies even when regular event formats are available again. Because, indeed, we will all be happy to be allowed to shake hands again, but there are comforts and advantages that we have decided not to give up. If you haven’t experienced this kind of event yet, here are 3 advantages of virtual events over in-person events.
1. Advantages of virtual events for event planners: catering to a wider audience
With in-person events, there are several fixed parameters that cannot be altered and that limit the audience’s ability to attend. These include, of course, distance and venue capacity. An event is generally aimed at those who can be in a certain place at a certain time (or can afford to travel to get there) and takes place in a facility that can hold a limited number of people. Among the advantages of virtual events is the elimination of such constraints. Distance and capacity are no issues on virtual platforms: you can attend any event, regardless of where its organisers might be located, and the number of allowed attendees is virtually limitless. Imagine being able to welcome all potential customers, colleagues, business partners, or fans interested in your brand or content, regardless of their geographical location: a whole new world of interesting possibilities opens up and event planners are not willing to turn their backs on it.
2. Advantages for attendees: no extra costs
Whether it’s the cost of a taxi to get to a conference or five airline tickets to send a delegation to a trade show, the petrol to get to a meeting, or the cost of a hotel room to attend a conference, in-person events often involve extra expenses for attendees on top of the ticket price. This is not the case with virtual events. Those who attend can choose to do so without having to consider any investment beyond the cost of the admission fee. In the case of small companies that are looking to participate in their industry’s trade shows, this can be a crucial element.
3. Advantages for the whole community: virtual events are more inclusive
This is a little talked about topic in the traditional events industry. Our world, unfortunately, pays little attention to the needs of those who do not fit into what is considered the ‘standard’. We are talking about people with physical disabilities beyond the stereotypical idea of wheelchair users. While many event venues have done a great deal in recent years to remove architectural barriers, there are still many aspects of event planning that do not take into account other needs that can be more easily managed during virtual events. For many people with hearing or visual impairments or who experience sensory overload (which makes it impossible to interact in a crowded space), with chronic illnesses limiting mobility or the number of hours a person can be active in a day, and many other cases of so-called ‘invisible disabilities‘, in-person events are simply inaccessible. In the past, this has often limited the ability of brilliant entrepreneurs, innovators, and professionals to excel in their field, despite their skills. Virtual events can be more easily adapted to the needs of all, which in turn allows the whole industry to meet new talents and advance as a whole.