What Are Virtual Events and Are They Here to Stay?
The main issue faced by event organizers in an arguably oversaturated market is how to make their in-person events stand out from the rest. From experimenting with unique concepts, venues, and layouts to futuristic sonic droids, brands and event planners are constantly pushing the boundaries to create the most impactful and memorable events possible. With all efforts focused on hosting unique events, few could have anticipated the devastating impact of the recent coronavirus pandemic and the changes industry professionals would be forced to make.
One particular change that stands out is the explosion in the popularity of virtual events. One that’s had event companies and virtual production agencies alike working non-stop to keep up with the demand, while businesses do whatever it takes to minimize disruption caused by the pandemic.
Are Virtual Events Part of the ‘New Normal?’
Kind of. While virtual events have been around for decades, they’ve been mostly overlooked in favor of their offline counterparts. As the world continues to adapt to radical changes in rules on social gatherings, things like remote work, virtual business meetings, and virtual classrooms have become the norm. So, it makes sense that events would follow suit.
Despite many major events being either canceled or postponed, there’s no denying that this sudden shift to virtual events has opened up a whole new world of possibilities. With everything from conferences and seminars to music festivals and sporting events being moved to the virtual sphere, coupled with a surge in demand for digital events services over the next 12–18 months, there’s a clear indication that we’ll be seeing more virtual events in the future. What’s more, we can expect to see a lot more innovation thanks to collaborations between event organizers and virtual production agencies.
Benefits of Virtual Events
In addition to allowing events to continue during these uncertain times, virtual events offer a few unique benefits compared to in-person events.
• Better reach: Perhaps the most obvious benefit, virtual events are more accessible and generally free of the typical location and attendance limitations associated with in-person events. This enables organizations to target a much wider audience and attract more attendees than ever before.
• Cost-effective: Virtual events all but do away with costly venue and setup fees. Moreover, attendees are more likely to attend since there’s no need to offset travel expenses, thus offering event organizers a better Return on Investment.
• Increased immersion: The rise of immersive technologies like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality has led to virtual events being more immersive than ever before. Taking inspiration from the immersive education offered by virtual classrooms, virtual production agencies are harnessing these technologies to create virtual immersive experiences comparable to those offered by live events.
• Easier data collection: Data collection is an essential part of any event, regardless of whether it’s virtual or in-person. Virtual events, however, offer organizers an incredible opportunity to collect attendee data in real-time, which can be used for anything from tweaking the event on the fly to qualifying leads for the next event.
Looking Forward: The Future of Virtual Events
While purely virtual events might not be prevalent as they are now once things blow over, we’ll likely still be seeing them offered as part of global or hybrid events. Nevertheless, virtual events will continue to play a key role in the events industry throughout the rest of 2020 and 2021.
With years of experience working with global brands like Airbnb and Heineken, award-winning agency Untitled Project is pioneering virtual event production in Singapore through a combination of their live event production and technical expertise. Reach out today to get started on your next virtual event.