With the pandemic event planners, sponsors and attendees were forced to pivot quickly from in-person to virtual events. It soon became clear the traditional in-person event couldn’t simply be adapted to a virtual environment. It would have to be re-imagined ̶ and even re-invented. Mitel User Group Liaison, Denise Desjardins, has been organizing events for years and shares some insights…
The Virtual Advantage
No one should fall into the trap of thinking virtual is simply a stopgap measure. In fact, virtual events offer several compelling advantages in any environment:
Positively Productive – Virtual events eliminate the stress, time, and cost of travel, of course. But what’s not often discussed is the tremendous amount of flexibility they offer attendees, who can work their daily schedules around the agenda. Focus on the sessions that matter most and skip the less relevant ones. When people can take care of what matters in their everyday lives, they’re more engaged at the event. It’s the best of both worlds.
Extra Days, Extra Value – Unlike an in-person event, which has a defined start and end, virtual events can (and should) be kept open for at least 30 days past the live component. This extended period offers benefits for hosts, sponsors, and attendees alike. By making the material available for a longer time, hosts can create an agenda packed full of compelling content and speakers. Attendees can return again and again to watch videos and download content.
Always-On Classroom – Training is usually not possible for attendees to complete during the live event. The advantage of going virtual is that all these resources can stay accessible long after the event ends.
Return On Investment – Virtual events provide tangible evidence of success. By measuring attendance, downloads and other web analytics, sponsors can calculate exactly how valuable the event was for them.
In-Person, Virtual, or Both?
There are pros and cons to each type of event, in-person and virtual. One of the most compelling reasons to consider doing both is the ability to reach more people.
That’s because each type of event attracts different people. An in-person event is a big draw for those who enjoy the entire travel experience, from getting on the plane and staying in the hotel to socializing during sessions and at the end of the day. Some people don’t have the budget for travel while others are constrained by work projects or family responsibilities. That means there’s a strong argument for doing both: it gives you the opportunity to reach a wider audience.
Just like the workplace, expect to see the event industry adopt a hybrid approach. Virtual events are likely to dominate for a while longer. But as the world re-opens, events will become a mix of in-person and virtual.
Ensure your broadband and collaboration tools can support the virtual events in your future. Contact TCI today at (703) 321-3030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.