The evolution of virtual events – The game-changer

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Believe it or not, the first virtual event was held way back in April 1993 in New York City. A time when the internet had just begun its journey. Many experiments have happened with virtual events since the 1990s. Eventually, the usage of virtual events increased exponentially in 2020 because of the covid-19 pandemic. Virtual events are an essential part of the marketing mix as they are environmentally and economically effective and bring thousands of attendees to an event from around the globe.

Event organizers started drifting towards virtual platforms for hosting their events in the challenging times of the pandemic. Several businesses, companies, and educational institutes began migrating to host virtual events to keep the business moving and prevent drastic financial losses. Common virtual events include trade shows, job fairs, conferences & meetings, college festivals, company gatherings, training, job fairs, expos, internal meetings, and sessions. A virtual event’s most significant advantage over a physical event requires a low operating cost and minimum space with fewer resources to host an event and Virtex is one such platform which fulfills all the requirements mentioned above. 

Expand your audience and Inclusivity 

Having a virtual event instead allows people with personal or logistics challenges to become a part of the event, adding an inclusivity element to your event strategy. Attendees from all over the globe can attend an event by signing up and connecting to the event. It boosts networking, the interaction between attendees, leading to the exchange of social and cultural values and better business relationships. Plus, the increasing popularity of the virtual events industry is bound to bring a tremendous amount of weight in terms of investment and creative business strategies. 

Technological evolution

There’s no denying that technology touched and transformed the event industry in every aspect of the past year. It influenced planning, production, execution, and follow-through. Despite dealing with the initial hurdles of organizing virtual events that had problems like server issues and technical errors like ‘page loading,’ and much more, the virtual events have evolved with increased usability and enhanced functionality, leading to the same: to bring more people to learn, to conduct business, to network, to support a cause, and be entertained. Virtual platforms have modernized. They go from offering only video conferencing to including many features like live sessions, live interactions, virtual booths for 1:1 interaction, exhibitions, social media integration to create buzz. Mobile technology and usage of smartphones have increased so much that 65% of attendees access virtual events using mobile devices. As technology is evolving, it is getting easier to access virtual events.

Hybrid events as a long-term solution 

Virtual and hybrid events are two sides of the same coin, technically. The main goal of hybrid events is to provide a satisfying attendee experience, no matter how they wish to join. With hybrid events, organizers can serve a larger attendee base and have their opinions and experiences contribute to the event. Diversity benefits everyone. That’s how the organizers will learn and grow. Organizers need to consider both audiences and how to make them feel engaged. Hybrid events will create virtual communities and fuel connections within them, just like in-person events. A well-managed hybrid event will lead to a less crowded and more eco-friendly environment with minimal wastage- a fact that is often overlooked and undervalued at any event. 

Reduced environmental footprint 

Everything we do in our day-to-day life has an environmental impact. For an in-person event, the estimated CO2 emission was over 170 kg emission per day for an average event. Virtual/ hybrid events generate negligible waste by using only digital-only materials (no paper printing and no wastage). Some tips to reduce environmental impact on your virtual events are using a green hosting company, decreasing the file size of photos and videos, schedule screen-free breaks, etc. The most significant contribution to reducing environmental impact is by turning off your camera, if not needed, in the virtual event. It reduces the footprint by a staggering 96%!

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The value of interacting face-to-face will never be matched, but there are times when going virtual is necessary, as the world has experienced because of the pandemic in 2020. Virtual and hybrid events have become a mainstay in event management, and they are here to stay in the future. Even when things will normalize, over 66% of event organizers plan to use hybrid events rather than in-person format, as they are less costly, time-effective, and incredibly versatile. Going virtual has provided endless opportunities for organizers in terms of creativity, customer loyalty, and better return on investments. The future of the events industry is going live, staying remote, and being connected.

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