September 30, 2022

In person or online? A virtually impossible question to answer

When the COVID-19 pandemic went global in 2020, the events industry came to a crashing standstill. Organised events around the world such as conference, trade shows, product launches and workshops we’re all cancelled or postponed overnight.

Since then, it has been estimated by a recent BVEP (Business Visits & Events Partnership) report that the events industry in the UK lost a staggering £57 billion of its value, down from the pre-pandemic level of £70 billion.

As a result, virtual events and conferences came to the fore. Suddenly, they became the norm as everyone attended from the comfort of their home. But, even though this format allowed businesses to continue connecting with staff and customers, it couldn’t replace everything about a physical event. Nevertheless, the virtual event is a welcome addition to the experience sector and is here to stay – it’s earned its place in the post-pandemic world.

The real question is are virtual and in-person events going to naturally balance out – or will one format ultimately overcome the other?

Two heavyweight contenders

Virtual events have their undoubted benefits. For example, they have lower costs, are theoretically easier to manage and there’s no venue to work with. What’s more, you can avoid health & safety issues and not be confined by travel restrictions. Event platforms are now incredibly advanced, meaning audience engagement opportunities are limitless.

But can they match the excitement and emotion of an in-person event?

Live events give brands an opportunity to wow their guests arguably can’t be matched through a laptop screen. They can create incredible opportunities, enhanced marketing experiences and form better connections with their audience.

Traditional events can be creatively limitless, allowing your brand to come to life in a true experiential manner.

Best of both worlds

So if both formats have undeniable strengths, can the two work together as a hybrid? Hybrid events can undoubtably provide more flexibility. They give attendees the option to attend in-person, or do so virtually if they can’t (or don’t want to) be there in the flesh. They can also reduce the need for plane travel for overseas delegates, which in turn is better for the environment and allows for greater reach.

If you’d like to know how we can help with your next conference, event or product launch, give us a call. We’d love to help you plan and execute an in-person, virtual or hybrid event that’s out of this world.

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