04 Dec virtual events – benefit or curse?
With the entire events industry turned upside down, event companies in the uk are all now offering virtual event management services to their clients. But is this new way of working the right way forward? Our virtual events a benefit or a curse?
pros of virtual
- cost-effective: Venue hire can run in the tens of thousands of dollars just for one day, and that doesn’t even take into account the cost of food and drink, accommodation for speakers, and venue insurance. with virtual events, those costs are non-existent. all you have to pay for is the platform, promotion, and speakers (depending on your business model).
- scalable: Most physical venues have a limit to the number of people allowed in, and then you have to take into account the cost of hosting thousands of people. Virtual events make it much easier to scale, meaning you can host more people for a fraction of the cost. This also means you can expand your reach and promote brand awareness.
- engaging: 30% of people are more likely to speak to a person in a virtual booth. Maybe that’s because people are scared to approach someone at an event, or they just enjoy the anonymity. Either way, virtual events offer tools such as polls, q&a, live chat, and even a downloadable resources section so your attendees can fully engage with your content. also, some platforms offer the ability to integrate with widgets, such as sli.do, so you can really ramp up the interaction.
- environmentally friendly: the costs of hosting an in-person event are not just monetary, they can be environmental. virtual events take away the need for people to travel hundreds of miles to venues, and instead allow them to access your event from much closer to home, not only saving businesses money but reducing the impact on the environment.
- provide comprehensive analytics and reporting data: Want to know how many people viewed an entire presentation? or, want to find out how many questions were asked? These are hard stats to pull from in-person sessions but are at your finger-tips with online events. Why is this important? knowing your viewing stats or engagement scores can really help you fine-tune your content and determine what’s working and what’s not without having to rely on a post-event survey that only 10% of attendees will actually respond to.
cons of virtual
- lack of networking opportunities: While there are heaps of opportunities for attendees to engage with speakers and content, there are fewer to interact with one another. you can mitigate this with live attendee chat and social networking events, but there aren’t really any ways to interact with other attendees offline. the addition of virtual games, quizzes and activities into your usual event agenda can certainly combat this and is a virtual event solution all event companies should be offering.
- distractions: Let’s be honest, your home is always full of distractions. Attendees at a virtual event will have to contend with distractions that aren’t necessarily there in-person, which is why we always recommend attendees and presenters try to find a quiet place to attend the online event and treat it as if they are out of the house for the day.
- can limit the audience: I’m not talking about audience numbers, but rather types of audience. If your prospective attendees aren’t all that internet savvy or are usually the type to skive out of the company conference until their boss catches them then a virtual event may turn them off. therefore it’s important to:
- provide potential attendees with links to any faqs or contact details for event support prior to the event for those not so technology keen. and
- don’t doubt the power of a little bribe, a gift for registration, breakfast and lunch sent straight to your door, little additions like this can make a huge impact on your guest attendance.
So whilst we are all keen to get back to the way we are all used to and the way we love running events, the virtual world really can benefit your company, open up opportunities and keep your clients, employees and audiences engaged until the time come to see them in person again.