Throughout 2020/21 the events industry was massively hit and had to rely on digital processes to keep the business events world running. The main types of digital events consisted of; webinars, online summit’s, conferences and virtual fairs. Although COVID-19 has had such a negative impact on many industries and many events companies were on the cusp of being destroyed, digital has played a massive role on this – allowing the event industry to survive and in some cases, flourish. Digital events developed and turned into a huge success.
Digital events will now continue to be put into place as the accomplishment was high for businesses and the participants. According to Forbes magazine more than 52,000 virtual events have taken place since COVID-19, making events up by 1000%.
Firstly, a big factor for many businesses is that they would have saved a lot of money as there would have been no spending fees for sets or venues etc. There are also many other benefits for digital business events, including:
-Increased attendee count – allowing the business to have a larger audience
-Effective networking – building a good reputation for people to network at the event, according to World Cast 30% of people are more likely to speak to a person in a virtual booth rather than in person
-Saves a lot of time – planning and check ins
-Analytics (seeing when a user joined, location, how many people used the chat feature to network)
Also there are benefits for attendees to:
-Flexibility of attending (as the time and place is more available)
-More value, as there aren’t any booths and stalls which allows a closer look at the company with more valuable interactions with the exhibitors
-Effective networking – there are live chat options and options to look up other participants with names/emails and connect with them (building business relationships)
-Time-saving – no travel times, therefore being more likely to be able to attend
-Viewing sessions later – flexibility of viewing all sessions after as they’re recorded
-More interactive options for attendees – speaker sessions, interactive panel discussions, speaker sessions, virtual breakout rooms and networking sessions (improving attendee experience)
Cons of digital events…
-No face to face interactions
-No after hours networking opportunities
-Hard to hold attendees attention
Due to digital events having some flaws, a lot of businesses will be glad to be able to attend in person events again, as firstly it can be a great experience and they allow for a lot more in person interactions.
Will people stick to digital events?
Digital events have caused a massive turn in the events industry, proving that companies can still hold successful events even though they are just online. Many businesses will take advantage of this because of the benefits for both the business and their attendees. However some businesses may miss the opportunity to meet people face to face and shake a hand. Therefore businesses may run half of their events online or none at all.
Whilst the digital events world has many benefits, there are some physical event attributes which can never be replaced digitally, such as face to face interactions. According to www.statista.com 56% of people would rather attend a show in person rather than online.
Altogether event locations depend on the individual and what they would prefer and would most enjoy attending. There are many benefits and drawbacks to each type of event, however businesses do whatever they think is best for their business in terms of what their audience would prefer and be more up for attending.