Virtual Events: The Trend That Is Here To Stay
This March marks two years since the start of the pandemic worldwide; two years since the last conferences and face-to-face events. Some will feel nostalgic about going physically to an event to acquire new knowledge and meet new people; Others will remember the fatigue of traveling, spending all day away from home and specifically for the organizers, setting up and dismantling the stands, and managing the logistics of the event.
Given the virtual alternatives that have emerged along with the pandemic, there is a division between those who see with nostalgia and eagerly await the return of face-to-face conferences and those who have come to favor the immediacy and comfort of digital. Whatever the perspective, to avoid contagion of COVID-19, online events have been a more than necessary solution to the vacuum caused by canceled face-to-face events.
It has not been easy, in this transition, there have been multiple obstacles and challenges that, over time, the industry has managed to overcome; for example:
- The changing roles of professionals in event logistics: With the change of platform, what worked in the past, does not work in the present. Event organizers had to adapt to the needs and expectations of virtual attendees, industry representatives, and guest speakers. Some hospitality tasks are eliminated outright, while those related to ICTs become more important.
- Provide an effective networking platform: One can feel less involved by moving from physical to digital. Effective virtual spaces between talks and activities are needed to facilitate interaction and networking among attendees.
- Create new experiences: It is obvious that, with the pandemic, there are no longer show floors that one can navigate in its wake; there are no physical product demonstrations or face-to-face conversations with industry representatives. To solve this challenge, a certain physicality is needed in the virtual. This has been achieved by providing a space for companies to display their company’s name, services, and products via video, designs, images, and videoconference rooms, just as they did in convention centers.
Benefits Of Virtual Events
Now, not everything is just an obstacle; virtual conferences are immediate and comfortable for everyone involved. You can enjoy endless events of all kinds from each one’s home.
With every virtual event, attendees and organizers alike learn something new, and the benefits are many:
- Greater reach in virtual events: previously, events happened in physical spaces; an unequivocal statement, but one that turned out to be the first barrier to entry for many. Traveling from one city to another requires time, money, and planning, which is not always possible depending on personal and professional responsibilities. With a virtual event, regardless of the location of each attendee, you only have to log in to be part of it.
- Less expense in logistics: The highest costs in the organization of events are those derived from these logistics. There is simply no need to spend on hotels, plane tickets, etc.
- Important steps to sustainability: The waste and greenhouse gases are significantly reduced by organizing and carrying out virtual events. There is no need to spend on gasoline to transport people or use plastic and paper during an event. Digitization is an integral part of the sustainable future of companies, and this includes events.
- Better leads and connections: virtually everything is handled with digital data. There are no printed CVs, business cards, pen, paper records, badge assignments, or anything like that. Instantly you can measure the attendance and engagement of the attendees and mold activities to their interests and preferences. With the digital data obtained, the actions of companies are more direct and faster when doing business and hiring professionals.
Having said all this, the advances in virtual events could not have occurred without those in communication technologies. Through ever-faster networks and higher-quality, lower-latency live streaming sites and shows, broadcasts can now reach millions of people simultaneously.
One year after the pandemic, this success has been evident. It is not enough to enter LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, or any social network to realize that, at any given moment, there is a virtual event happening. To date, the quality and quantity of them have increased exponentially. While a return to conference centers can be expected shortly, virtual events and the digitization of physical ones are a trend that will most likely survive the health crisis.