The production advantages to creating virtual events are clear. They’re much easier to execute and track for engagement and are far less expensive. There are a few other advantages that you may not have thought about though.
Low costs can equal more exciting entertainment: Because of the lower operation costs involved in hosting virtual events, companies have significantly more wiggle room to splurge on more exciting event entertainment than what their budgets previously allowed.
For example, a company who hosts an annual poker tournament as part of an event and is hosting this event online can now include a keynote from a top poker player to entertain and educate guests.
Ease of attendance results in greater audience reach: Anyone who has travelled out of town to attend a conference or special event can attest to the level of stress and exhaustion this leads to. Travel by car or plane; hotel check-in; packing; unpacking and the time differences alone are a killer. Factor in walking a trade show for days, sitting in multiple sessions, meetings, and then of course being expected to be peppy the same day for late night drinks or parties in less-than-ideal footwear…it all gets to be a lot. Just thinking about this plus the cost of it all makes me sort of tired.
Virtual events eliminate this exhaustion factor and can be spread out over a longer time span, allowing attendees more downtime. The ease of attendance is substantially higher, especially for attendees from distant cities. This ultimately will lead to larger and more diverse audiences, even higher attendance.
Virtual events contribute to a sustainable future: Perhaps one of the greatest things to come out of this pandemic is our reduced carbon footprint. The emergence in popularity of virtual events is no exception to this phenomenon. Because travel and most waste are eliminated by an event being hosted digitally, it removes the greatest downside of events — the environmental impact.
Virtual events can enhance in-person events: When we’re back to making handshakes at events, there will remain an expectation for connection from a distance. Digital pathways aren’t just alternative experiences to a main one. Many will be integrated into it to expand the experience. As digital has become more integrated in our lives, the possibility of integrating with not just social media, live video, and real-time polling, but immersive virtual experiences that inform, entertain, and offer learning becomes more possible.
While live events are the industry’s passion and will surely come back with a vengeance, virtual events offer such significant advantages that they’re surely here to stay.
Dawne Eisenberg is CEO and Founder of Pop! Events Group, a leading event planning, rentals, and services firm based in Toronto, Ontario and was recently named one of Bizbash’s “2021 Must Know Event Pros.” Pop! Events Group has executed thousands of successful live, hybrid ,and virtual events over 16 years in business.