Why Virtual Events complement face to face events, rather than replace them

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Post by
Matt Francis
Last updated :
August 9, 2023
 | 20 min read

Virtual Events support, not replace, face to face events

Virtual Event platforms have facilitated remote schooling and have been a lifeline during the global pandemic. During the pandemic Virtual Events have supported, and will continue to support, the return to face to face by allowing things that couldn’t happen in person, to take place virtually in the interim. In this blog we look at how Virtual Events can support the return to face to face.

Human interactions are the essence and social fabric of our society and something most are very keen to get back to, and soon (we don’t know about you but we can’t wait to see an actual, real, live gig again; we’re sure you’re with us on that, right?!…)

As society opens up, albeit tentatively, there is much appetite for in person experiences, real life, real time, human, face to face interactions. But we can’t ignore the success and acceleration of the virtual platforms that have supported our businesses, young people and health and wellbeing needs throughout 2020.

How can face to face experiences be improved?

As we move back to more normal socialising and reduced social distancing, how can we use the learnings of virtual experiences and virtual events to both improve and enhance our in-person experiences? Here are a handful of key areas that stand out…

Using and analysing the data

There are several learnings to be taken onboard following the surge in Virtual Events. Many of these learnings revolve around the use of data, analytics and measurement and the creation of meaningful, substantiated insight.

Virtual Events provide much data that can be used for a wide variety of purposes; from engagement, content development, sustainability practices, education, internal communications and much more. This, now much more normalised practice of using data will help support the detailed reporting of live and hybrid events to ensure that the overall organisational objectives of hosting that event are met. Led by the data and social listening, event owners can create a clear vision on how to best innovate, as we’ve never seen before.

Virtual Events can improve educational programmes

There has been a big increase in the appetite for, and the success of online events for educational purposes. Schools, universities and businesses alike have adopted new ways of working remotely, with great success and it seems that as a population we are keener to enjoy remote learning opportunities than we ever were before. With Virtual Events now a credible player in the communications, education and events mix, there is huge opportunity to supplement live events and experiences with additional educational events and programmes, but in a virtual format. Virtual Events for education, both in addition to, before, during, and after in-person experiences offer huge opportunities to individuals and organisations that would simply not have existed without a Virtual Events platform.

Virtual Events are kind on the environment

As shown in this great example of a recent annual event in New York, Virtual Events can produce up to 99% less carbon emissions than their in-person equivalent. That’s a staggering statistic and something that won’t be forgotten, even when we ‘return to normal’. The stark realities of the new ways we operate and the reduced impact on our environment will undoubtedly sharpen up the way in which we run in-person events, forever. The good thing? Quantifying this change. Since businesses have been operating remotely, the mindset of using data and measuring ‘things’ has become much more normal and easier as people have been forced to adopt technologies they’ve not been exposed to previously. Businesses will now have ways to measure and quantify the environmental impact of their events, and (hopefully) learn to better offset and reduce the environmental impact as a result..

How Virtual Events can add to the Live Event

When Live Events start up again, Virtual Events will help improve the Live Event in the following ways (to name a few)…

Content development Attendee engagement Improved networking and sales opportunities Enhanced educational programmes Easy to calculate return on investment Data analysis and insight development Setting and achievement of event objectives Sustainability

In summary

There are heaps of ways we can learn from Virtual Events and lots of ways these learnings can and will support better targeted, greener events with content that drives change and promotes a more prosperous world. It’s an exciting time.

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