The pandemic has changed many of our habits. First of all, we started using the internet much more frequently and for different purposes: some of us used online technologies to work remotely, and some of us to play on sites like https://vulkanvegas.com/en. But perhaps the biggest change took place in the event organization: we spent most of 2021 organizing events virtually. The biggest reason for this was, of course, the pandemic, but it is not possible to say that it is the only reason: we still continue to organize most events virtually even today when the pandemic is close to ending. So, what is the reason for this? Why are virtual events so much more popular than they used to be? Below, we will answer all these questions.
Virtual Events Are Not New
Virtual events are nothing new: they existed before the pandemic. This was a $57.715 billion industry in 2019, and most analysts were expecting a growth rate of more than 10% per annum even before the pandemic. Entertainment, conference and virtual expo fairs were the industries where this technology was used the most. At the beginning of 2020, with the pandemic, all predictions changed: the virtual events industry grew very quickly, reaching a size of 114.12 billion dollars in 2021. To share some statistics:
- In 2021, 20% of trade shows were held virtually.
- Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and Zoom Video Communications were the fastest-growing companies during the pandemic.
- Virtual events were mostly held in North America. It is followed by Europe and the Asia-Pacific.
It is easy to understand the rise in this industry during the pandemic period: due to the quarantine decisions, it was not possible for people to come together, and naturally, they preferred to meet in virtual environments. In other words, it is easy to understand the reason for the sudden increase in the size and value of the virtual event industry, at least for the period of 2020-2021.
But the COVID-19 restrictions no longer apply: we can organize events in the real world in 2022, just like we used to. Despite this, we see that most events are still held virtually. A “hybrid” model is often preferred: while a limited number of participants are accepted to the event in the real world, participants from all over the world are accepted virtually and the entire event is broadcast live. So, what are the reasons that made the virtual events industry so popular?
There Is No Single Reason
There is no single reason why virtual events have become popular. The advantages of this technology would make it more and more used over time, but its advantages became clear very fast during the pandemic period. In other words, this was a technology that would have become popular in the future, but it showed what it could offer to different sectors during the pandemic, and even companies that did not use it before learned the benefits they could gain. Among these advantages are:
- Virtual events can reach a much larger user base. You can join a live broadcast from anywhere in the world, and you don’t even need a computer for this – you can use mobile phones. 34% of event organizers say the biggest benefit of virtual events is the increase in attendee numbers.
- The costs of a virtual event are also much lower. A physical event has cost items that are not obvious at first glance. For example, you will have to allocate a budget for expenses such as security, transportation, accommodation, and food. In virtual events, you get rid of most of these expense items. 14.9% of event organizers consider the reduction in expenses to be the biggest advantage of virtual events.
- Virtual events are an incredibly useful tool for online marketing. Regardless of the sector in which they operate, 99% of companies can use virtual events as an effective marketing tool. This is most true for webinars. Three-quarters of marketers use virtual events as a digital engagement tool and are able to create long-term community engagements.
- It’s easier to create “hype” using other online platforms for virtual events. Marketers use social media posts, polling, videos, and short presentations to make the event attract attention much more easily. Knowing that an event can be reached with just one click positively affects the number of attendees.
In short, virtual events are cheaper, easier to organize and reach a larger audience. All these advantages show that their popularity will not decrease in the near and far future; on the contrary, this industry will continue to grow. The biggest disadvantage of virtual events is that there are fewer networking opportunities: 68.8% of participants complain that they do not have enough opportunities and/or time for networking. A company that develops features to make this job easier can grow very quickly, and we believe that will happen in the near future. Virtual events have no other disadvantages, and networking is a solvable problem. As a matter of fact, 40% of all events are expected to be held virtually in 2022: this is a technology with a bright future.