Professionals who plan events both small and large as part of their job may have concerns about just how long the current trend of fully virtual events is going to last. After all, it's just not like the old days and many individuals might lament the loss of in-person conferences.
However, professionals' expectations are changing all the time and planners need to be able to pivot so they can continue to meet those requirements. Fortunately, while there's certainly something lost in an online conference, there are myriad benefits that come along with going virtual as well. Those certainly include the following:
Even if you're leaving aside the understandable concerns many people will have about attending an event amid the pandemic, you might get a benefit from holding virtual events and meetings because it means more people can come. Oxford Abstracts notes that there are many professionals in any given industry for whom travel to a conference is unfeasible, particularly if the in-person event is held outside of regional hubs.
By going purely virtual, or offering a mix of in-person and online access, you can reach more people without sacrificing the quality of your event overall.
Shrink and grow as needed
There's a lot of uncertainty still swirling around the future of live events, and that makes it difficult for organisers to understand what their own needs are in terms of which facilities to book. However, with a fully virtual conference, or one that's hybridised between live and virtual attendance, you can shrink or grow your capacity to host as many people as you need, more or less on-demand.
Whether you're hosting 50 people or 50,000, there's almost certainly a virtual conferencing solution that will meet your needs.
New ways to interact
One of the big complaints some people may have about an in-person conference is that they have specific questions or issues they would like to raise with experts, but do not always get the opportunity to do so, according to Associations Now. However, if you go beyond the standard Q&A panel or keynote speech and hold live chats and talk-back sessions, you might be able to appeal to more professionals.
Open up a new revenue stream
One of the biggest issues many people have with big, live events is that they can't manage to get to everything, or shelling out the money for an expensive ticket to a conference for just one or two panels pertinent to them doesn't make sense. However, if you live-capture the video of a virtual event and then sell access to it after the fact in an "a la carte" fashion, people may be more willing to pay for access.
Easier to manage
While an in-person event or conference can be a great experience for attendees, organisers will likely have a hectic time well before it starts, and that lasts until long after participants have gone home. Scientific American says that the virtual world has already proven effective for event coordinators simply because there are simultaneously fewer logistical things they need to worry about. While you will certainly need to make sure panelists and speakers have all the equipment they need to effectively participate in a given event, you certainly don't need to worry about catering, hotel accommodations, parking needs and so on at the same scales you once did.
One of the unfortunate realities of a world experiencing a pandemic is that everyone has been affected differently, and that includes not only from one country to the next, but sometimes one city to another. For that reason, the world is currently operating under a patchwork of regulations ranging from barely existent to extremely restrictive and that means event organisers will have to operate under them as well. Rather than worrying about how international or even attendees from out of state will need to handle these issues, a virtual event reaches people the world over with little difficulty.
It just might be the new way people prefer to attend
Finally, we've heard a lot of talk about "the new normal" in recent months, and while the time will certainly come when concerns about this specific virus are relatively muted, professionals' issues (or even fears) surrounding pandemics in general may be here to stay for some time to come. As such, the more organisers do in the near future to lay the groundwork for a future with fully or partially virtual events, the more effective they may be when it comes to building a loyal core of attendees, according to Direct Industry.
No one can say for certain what the future holds, but the more you do to present a wide variety of options to guests, speakers, panelists and so on, the better off you will be when it comes to appealing to the widest possible audience. With that in mind, cievents is here to guide you in planning that next great step. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help.
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