Virtual Events in the Post-Pandemic World: Are They Here to Stay?

We have seen more and more activities going online since the pandemic started until now. In fact, there are things people thought were almost impossible, or very hard to do in a virtual world before but are nonetheless being realised today. 

For example, many businesses have enabled thousands of their employees to work from home. People are now buying products and services online, from the most mundane items to even transactions that involve a lot of money. Feats that people believed were too hard to do online pre-pandemic.

In addition, there is a growing need to connect and communicate with others, from customers to clients and partners in the business. Organisations do this through various events, such as meetings, conferences or briefings. However, today’s landscape now requires them to conduct these online, as the in-person approach is still not possible – and maybe will not be for another year or so.

Companies that already have their events planned say an annual gathering, are compelled to choose between postponing or cancelling them, or pivoting the said occasions online. It is either physical or virtual – and it is clear that organisations are now choosing the latter.

According to a study, the global virtual events market size is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.2% from 2020 to 2027, as the technologically advanced digitally simulated gatherings are rapidly transforming the communications landscape. 

The use of these platforms ranges from small team meetings to large gatherings for communication purposes. These virtual events may also include standard member meetings, panel discussions, announcements, webinars or Q&A among many others.

In a separate survey, 91% of organisations said that their main objective when running virtual events is keeping members of the company connected. Some also cited trying to maintain normal programming throughout COVID, raising awareness of their organisations and even raising money through donations or sponsorship.

Organisations are now conducting their events virtually not only because they have no choice, but also because virtual events deliver some benefits that cannot be realised in-person. There may be things that cannot be replicated online but virtual events have many advantages that organisations are leveraging to further enhance their relations with their customers.

  • Wider reach: In virtual events, companies can advertise their events in more ways online. Not only that but they can also be connected with potential customers even after the event, increasing their sales qualified leads. In fact, 87% of marketers consider the opportunities generated by virtual events as a success factor. About 45.7% of marketers also say that the primary goal of virtual events is to generate pipeline.

  • Better presentations: Live physical events may experience various unexpected problems, such as speakers backing out at the last minute or sound system malfunctioning during the session. With virtual events, companies may opt to record the event prior to ensure that the sessions are the best versions and they can even make the videos available on-demand for attendees. In addition, sessions can be presented with various media that can be accessed through the participants’ devices.

  • Improved relationship with clients: Communications to the clients is one of the most important things to prioritise after the event, to see if they are satisfied and are convinced of your agenda. About 49% of marketers even said that audience engagement is the biggest contributing factor to having a successful event. With that, 64% of event organisers use the feedback received from their sales team to determine attendee satisfaction.

While this pandemic will come to end, many companies are still saying that virtual events will not be gone – at least not entirely.

In a report, 68% said that a hybrid solution that can manage both their virtual and in-person events is important to their event technologies that will play a key role in their 2021 event strategies. Others are looking for tools to engage their virtual attendees and solutions to connect their sponsors & attendees both virtually and in-person. 

Organisations have seen new and modern capabilities with virtual events. Looking forward, they will know that these benefits can complement their digital transformation journey. In addition, the technologies behind virtual events still have a long way to go - improving the user experience and modernising how we interact with each other.

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