During the ongoing public health crisis, many businesses and organizations have resorted to virtual events to keep their business running with a semblance of normality. However, while virtual events are more convenient than in-person events, they also have their downsides. Let’s list their top pros and cons here.
Virtual Events: The Pros
1. Virtual events are cheaper.
An in-person event is more expensive than its virtual counterpart because you will need to cover multiple expenses such as renting a conference room, employee travel costs, salaries for extra staff members like catering specialists, entertainment, audio system, and more.
And if you want the attendees to remember your brand after a live event, you’ll need to stock up on gift bags, flyers, promotional materials, personalized bottled water, totes, and T-shirts. An all-you-can-eat buffet might be in order too.
Virtual events, on the other hand, don’t require extra expenses. With the right online event platform, you can book 2D and 3D virtual event spaces which can fit a countless number of attendees regardless of their location. What is more, most speakers will charge you less because they can hold the event from the comfort of their home office and the extra exposure. All-in-all virtual events are more cost-effective than classic physical events.
2. Virtual events allow you have a close-up on customer habits.
Virtual events allow you to collect more data on attendees than an in-person event would. You can have access to information such as what your attendees are interested in, what content and resources they have tapped, and which of your staff members were more effective at what they do. You will next be able to use this data to create personalized marketing campaigns that you can deliver directly into your attendees’ inboxes.
3. Virtual events offer greater flexibility.
With a virtual event, you are not stuck to one location or a single time zone. Virtual events can reunite employees located across the world and those telecommuting. Also, attendees don’t run the risk of not being able to “make it” on time. And if they do fail to attend the event, you can forward a recording of it to allow them to relive the experience.
Also, you are not bound to one location, and you don’t run the risk of your event venue booking being canceled. You can also use separate event “spaces” also known as breakout rooms, to fit attendees by various criteria like interests and place on the corporate ladder. The sky is the limit with what you could do during a virtual event. Just make sure that you get enough feedback afterward to see what you have been missing.
Virtual Events: The Cons
1. Lack of authentic human connection.
This one’s the biggest roadblock when it comes to organizing a virtual event. People will miss handshakes and face-to-face interactions. It is also harder to chit-chat or have that water cooler conversation during a virtual event.
Authentic human connection is hard to replicate by a machine, and if the event is not properly organized, your attendees might notice. Also, buffets are a strong tool to connect people to one another, which you will never have access to if you go virtual. One way to mitigate this drawback is to schedule post-event in-person meetings with key attendees or to schedule an in-person event as a follow-up.
2. New tech might put some people off.
Virtual events are most embraced by those who already know how to navigate remote networking technologies. For the less tech savvy, a virtual event can be off-putting, especially when they have trouble connecting or setting up their computers or other electronic devices. One way to address this issue is to have an around-the-clock team of technicians that can remotely address these issues.