The event industry is undergoing a profound and impactful shift since the early days following 9/11. During those days, we could not have handled the change we are making today in shifting from live events or virtual events. We didn’t have the right technology and internet infrastructure to support the tremendous rise in demand. COVID-19 has become one of the biggest growth opportunities for the event industry, and technology has been helping event planners across the globe make a smooth transition to the virtual stage.
While the global events and conferences industry is seeing a notable shift in pushing new meeting to 2021 and beyond, a Northstar Meetings Group survey showed that event planners are now witnessing an increase in demand for virtual events for the next 12-18 months. Live events and conferences have made their way back into budgets and calendars, although, virtual events continue to play a pivotal role in today’s time. Virtual event may not dominate the event space, but there’s a big reason virtual events may not go anywhere, anytime soon.
Hosting a virtual event requires no unnecessary spending. It’s easier, quicker, cheaper and also convenient. Moreover, you can host a virtual event from your home. Companies are now turning to recording studios to fit virtual events around their audience, brand and the message.
Virtual events are not only inexpensive, but they also offer companies a range of virtual speakers at discounted rates to offset the considerable travel cost. This can be a huge boon to event planners who wish to hire a celebrity speaker to speak for an hour when they would otherwise be completely be out of budget.
Shifting Event Planning Models
Thanks to the rise of holographics, social media, live streaming, and virtual reality, the global events industry was already ready before the pandemic arrived in 2020. Here’s a little food for thought: Today’s events also integrate multiple session rooms for the visitors to visit. Sometime events accommodate a virtual lounge for networking and virtual booths that attendees could visit, network and get more information.
Events and conferences in the 21st century are all about making the event experience a lot more like attending a virtual event, without the added expense or the health risk involved due to the ongoing pandemic.
The rise of virtual events is now shifting the focus on the number of attendees to the attendee experience. Companies are now allowing attendees to attend an event in a way that helps them be more comfortable in the setting of their home. When it comes to live events, some people may simply not prefer to travel or live in a different setting. Virtual events also allow planners to keep the events open at a later time for new attendees who were unable to make it.
This has led to the rise of scheduled live events where planners are now seeing a high rise in attendee numbers. In the future, we might even see hybrid events i.e., an addition of virtual component added to live events so brands are able to gather more people to attend their event. This would amplify brand reach leading to better monetization opportunities, and ultimately allow a large number of attendees to experience the event in the way they choose. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to Hybrid events:
- A solid plan to record sessions and make them available after the event is over.
- A registration policy to transfer in-person attendance to online.
- The ability to schedule virtual lounge for attendees, exhibitors and speakers to interact.
Even when events return to the mainstream, virtual events will continue to play a pivotal role in event strategies. From offering virtual event options to amplifying brand reach, virtual events are offering a large opportunity to companies that want to leverage the event industry.
The COVID-19 pandemic is now forcing companies to maintain a sense of normalcy and to recover from losses when businesses are unable to hold an event in-person. In the future, companies will use this crisis to look at their long-term event strategies. Even if in-person events bounce back into popularity, we might not do away with hybrid events anytime soon. There is currently an uptick of marketers who employ digital approaches in order to offer a personalize experience to every attendance to earn substantial returns from their events.