Technology

Virtual Events vs In-Person Events: How to Choose?

Nishchal Dua
• May 13, 2020
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onferences or events are a big part of the knowledge professional’s ecosystem. People travel long distances to meet others from their industry, listen to the experts & network with their peers. And of course, this generates value for all the stakeholders.

But is there a better way to do this? The world’s changing and we’re seeing a lot more virtual conferences, events & meetups popping up everywhere. So what should you focus on? Virtual or in-person events? 

2020 saw a massive shift of offline events coming onto the digital ecosystem. But there’s an even bigger jump in the number of communities & organizations launching their virtual events for the first time.

It’s not an either/or question. Virtual events are growing rapidly in both quality & quantity. In-person events will always have their own charm but now they can be augmented with an online version that provides a broader reach & experience.

If you think a virtual platform can host only limited kinds of events, then you are mistaken. These platforms can be used for various events like tech conferences, virtual trade shows, career fairs, and workshops.

Remember, the key to hosting a successful virtual event is choosing the right kind of hosting platform. Use cases like workshops, meetups, tradeshows & career fairs all require a higher degree of networking & interactive experience. Airmeet is one such platform that offers both flexibility & a human-touch to build real connections.

What are the Pros of Organizing a Virtual Event?

Understanding the pros and cons of virtual events is essential and will help you in making an informed choice.

Pros
  1. Flexible: A virtual conference is flexible by design. You can create an event to suit the needs of the hosts, participants, and speakers. Also, these events offer you the fluidity of language, level of interaction, monetization options and much more.

    Another advantage of these platforms is that while a physical event has a time-bound duration, a virtual event can technically be extended for longer durations with limited resources.

  2. Cost-effective: An online conference is cost effective for not just the organizers but also the attendees. You save on the cost of venue, travel, hotel, food, and other overheads. The same budget could be allocated towards getting better speakers or leading experts from the industry. It would also help you attract a bigger audience.

    While an average offline event ticket costs between $500-$1000 each, virtual events are either free for attendees or charge a much smaller fee of $50-$150 per person.
  3. More participants: In a physical event, you may have to limit the number of participants for logistical & geographical reasons. This barrier does not exist in a digital event. A virtual event, in principle, can be accessed by any number of participants from any part of the world.

  4. Eco-friendly and Reliable: By doing away with travel and large conference rooms with air conditioners, you are playing a pivotal role in reducing your carbon footprint and making the world cleaner. Also, digital events don’t have to be deferred or canceled due to unreliable weather, global pandemics, or any other unforeseeable situations and hence are more reliable.

  5. Effortless Analytics: In an online event, organizers can quickly analyze metrics like the interaction level of participants, which speaker garnered a larger audience, which presentation was viewed the most, and more. An analysis of this kind will help you to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of your event and also let you plan better for the future.

  6. Smooth Feedback: Collecting post-event feedback is known to be a tedious task in offline events. Whereas in a digital event since your participants are already signed in, you could promptly gather feedback by sending out Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys right after the event (or even during the event).

People are more likely to give feedback during or right after the event. A short survey can be sent out during the networking break, while a detailed questionnaire can be easily set up online and sent right after the event.

What are the Cons of a Virtual Event?

  1. Lack of Face-to-Face Networking: Humans are social beings. We thrive on meeting people, making friends, and social interactions. Sadly you lose out on this opportunity in a virtual event since most events are simply hosted on a video conferencing tool that’s not designed for the real networking experience. This is one big problem that Airmeet solves for community managers & event organizers. Airmeet’s “Social Lounge” delivers rich networking features for an engaging and immersive experience.

  2. Distractions: When your participant is attending your event from a place of their convenience, there is little control over other distractions that could reduce their attention span & take them away from your event. As a community manager, you will have to find ways to keep the attendees engaged & motivated.

  3. Technological Challenge: Participation in a digital event is limited to those who are tech-savvy or experienced at using newer platforms. This could restrict attendance and audience participation. Airmeet ensures the event platform is easy to use, quick to load, universally available, and safe to use.

“Virtual events are the perfect combination of quality, scale & value and are best suited to engage & interact with your community!”

Virtual events are the perfect combination of quality, scale & value and are best suited to engage & interact with your community!

Conclusion

Virtual events are an attractive, adaptable, and innovative way of building, engaging & monetizing your community. The digital marketing landscape has clearly changed & online meetups are now a big part of every marketer’s strategy. 

However, the technology supporting your virtual event is the foundation of your entire experience. Choose wisely!

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Emma Clinton
Emma Clinton
5 months ago

Great post! In this pandemic situation it is a good move to incorporate virtual events as a main digital strategy to your event plan. Having a definite plan and the proper technology in place can make the event successful.

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