Why Virtual and Hybrid Events Are The Future Of The Industry

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While Friday quiz nights on Zoom, graduations behind a computer screen and empty venues are now distant memory, other forms of online events are here to stay. The events industry, like most, was hit hard during the pandemic, faced with enormous pressure to adapt as long-standing normalities were torn apart by government mandated lockdowns and social distancing rules.

But the appetite for events prevailed, as people turned to technology for their conferences, festivals, work gatherings and more, and whilst in-person events have made a strong come-back, transitioning to online events has shown people the benefits – benefits which mean virtual events are here to stay.

The benefits of ‘dialling-in’

For all the benefits of in-person events, it is impossible to shake the progress made by virtual events services over the past few years. In fact, recent research commissioned by EventsX uncovered that almost two thirds (65 per cent) of business decision-makers would be more likely to attend an event if it was virtual or hybrid, and here is why…

At the start of the pandemic, virtual events solutions were relied upon as a necessity and did not come without their issues, with limited features and connectivity problems taking center stage. But through that process, the online events industry took off and the scene has now been set, technical glitches minimized, and now people are able to enjoy events from the comfort of their own homes.

The ability to ‘dial-in’ from anywhere is a primary benefit for virtual events. Gone are the days of a 10-hour road trip to get to an event, virtual events cut both the travel time and expenses, meaning access could not be easier. At the click of a button, people can join a virtual event and connect with others all over the world.

The removal of geographical barriers opens up a host of possibilities, whether it be easier communication with colleagues overseas, international awards ceremonies, or family events with relatives across the globe. Fundamentally, virtual events help people to stay more connected than ever, a vital necessity for human’s who require interaction on a regular basis for their mental wellbeing.

Joining events online also makes the process of accessing event information, contact details, and summaries far easier. Virtual events also offer significant cost benefits for businesses, not only reducing travel and boarding expenses for attending employees, but sponsorship as well.

Sponsorship has traditionally been a particularly tricky area of events, requiring multiple different parties and websites to pay for and promote, but up-and-coming virtual events platforms like EventsX help streamline this process, allowing for payments, referrals, design and reports all in one convenient place to ensure the process is both easier and more cost effective.

By investing in a high-performance online events platform, managing, promoting, and attending an event becomes easier, providing unprecedented engagement and making networking smooth
and easy.

The best of both worlds

Now we have seen the benefits of both physical and virtual events, the next logical step is to bring together the best of both worlds, combining the desired human interaction that is vital for our wellbeing, with the convenience of connecting online.

Indeed, through recent polling, EventsX discovered that over two thirds (68 per cent) of business decision makers expressed a desire to attend a hybrid event in the near future, seeking to take advantage of the flexibility these events provide.

Hosting hybrid events allows attendees to choose their preferred method of attendance, whether that be face to face or online, providing the benefits of physical interaction for speeches and networking, whilst also allowing those unable to attend in-person to ‘dial-in’ to the event and not miss out on the action.

Ultimately, this will help to maximize engagement across events, removing key geographical, cost and time barriers, increasing accessibility for all.

Crucially, these events can rely on the latest technology, with artificial intelligence in particular a key tool for improving the operations of events. For example, a key use case for AI technology that EventsX offer is summarisation, with options for individual conversations, speeches, and even whole event summaries available, helping people re-visit key moments or allowing busy C-Level executives to simply scan a quick summary of an event and stay in the loop.

The future of the events industry

It is clear that the appetite for events is at a high with people keen to get back out there in person, whilst also reap the benefits of online. With this, the future of events will see a mixture of in-person and virtual events depending on company, type of event and other requirements specific to individuals, with the option of virtual made all the more possible by significant development over recent years. But the industry is ripe to take events a step further, introducing hybrid events into the mix.

Giving attendees flexibility as well as cost and time benefits, combined with providing organizers with an easier management process for the entire event, including sponsorship, will boost engagement for events and ensure the desire for events remains high.

By: Shoaib Aslam, Founder and CEO of EventsX