The virtual event is very much a staple of the present, but it is also a developing model of the future. As event planners look to lower cost, increase reach, and attract more attendees, could the virtual event model answer these needs?
It's more than just cost, but sustainability that is at stake for your business model and of course the planet. As you look to extend the event life cycle and generate new revenue streams - we are looking to protect the life cycle. The virtual event could help both.
The first, and very obvious long term cost effective benefit of utilising the virtual event delivery model is venue cost. If your event is entirely virtual, then you will save yourself any rental cost, and the security deposit.
Any event, even virtual will have to be staffed - Whether that be technical support, or marketing staff etc. However, the long-term cost saving of spending nothing on catering in future events, will undoubtedly please the pocket.
One of the biggest spending costs over time, depending on the size of your event, or those attending, is travel and accommodation. You'll spend next to nothing, if not anything on ensuring the transport of entertainment, nor the accommodation of attendees.
Depending on the sponsorship and branding potential of your event type, virtual events have incredible scope for sponsorship deals, and social media branding. One main reason why sponsors love virtual events is the reach, everyone with an internet connection is viable.
The diversity of your expanded audience potential is gold dust to sponsors, this scope also helps them to gain insights into demographic behaviour, further increasing chances of engagement and sponsorship in the future.
Hosting a virtual or hybrid event also gives you the perfect chance to enhance your branding. This is the perfect opportunity to understand what your audience responds to digitally, and this will give you long term confidence in your branding management.
One of the biggest costs, and time-consuming aspects for many organisations, is paying for and creating quality, audience applicable content. Enabling your streamed event to be recorded, edited and accessible afterwards will inevitably increase your sharable content.
In the long run it will be invaluable to have a large source of content, increasing every time you host an event. This will drive engagement to your website, not only improving your position within your industry, but it may increase event registration, which could lease to sponsorship.
The advantage of having an ever-increasing amount of on demand content, is the social media impact this can have. To create trust and traffic to your brand or organisation, your audience needs the content to share the brand. Let the work you’ve already done continue to do the job for you.
The appreciation and utilisation of audience feedback and behaviour will not only help you understand what your audience responds to, it will also let you know what they really don’t like. Success metrics will help you pinpoint the areas of development of your next event.
Feedback forms alone are a process many organisations use to help improve desired results across any industry. A virtual event simply expands this process, from dropout count, click counts or any virtual engagement metric.
Any data that points you in the direction of understanding where you are, and where you could possibly go wrong, is always a wise investment. As time moves on, the more you focus on processing and gathering event analytics, the more understanding you will have.
Sadly, virtual events are not completely energy free, and will not eradicate emissions. Computers will still be processing, and electricity will still be used. Sustainability isn’t about eradication, but simplification and optimisation of usage, virtual events are perfect for this.
It is also good to keep in mind that sustainability legislation is on the increase. Those organisations who have chosen to ignore more sustainable options, may have no other choice in the future.
Since 2015 The United Nations (UN) have promoted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) looking to create a “a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all". It is better to prepare now and incorporate more sustainable work models instead of trying to keep up in the future.
It isn’t just sustainability you have to keep in mind when preparing for the future. Digital habits suggest that virtual and hybrid events may keep on increasing every year, thus sponsorship and engagement will see rising potential.
As with a greener future, it would be unwise to ignore the changing trends. Nobody has suggested that in-person events will no longer exist in the future, but with digital technologies evolving, it would be best to stay ahead of the game.
There are many aspects of a virtual event in the current and ensuing future that we should be excited about. As with most emerging and developing trends, competition will grow with it. As technology moves on, you have no choice but to move forward. If your motivation is to increase reach, produce leads or solidify your consumer base, it would be wise to invest in virtual events, it’ll help a lot now, and could revolutionise your future.