The year 2020 kicked off with unpredictability and uncertainty for all of us. For those of us in the events industry, a huge question remains: should you cancel your scheduled in-person event or create a virtual event? COVID-19 has unfortunately seen a sharp increase in event cancelations but it's also seen a huge outpouring of virtual events of all shapes and sizes. So what are some benefits of virtual events and how can they benefit your business?
1. Wider Reach.
A huge benefit of virtual events is eliminating the travel factor. Suddenly, your event can be accessed from literally anywhere and your audience can span globally. There's no need to include travel and accommodation in your budget for an event of this scale, which allows you to host a cheaper event with a larger turnout. That means more attendees, increased contact, and the possibility for more connections.
2. Time & Money Saved.
No need to book a venue, order food & bev, hire security, or exhaust yourself assembling and taking down an exhibit hall setup. A virtual event is a cost-effective way to host an event with on-demand support from the comfort of your home.
3. Easy Networking.
There are so many tools and techniques out there for facilitating networking amongst your event attendees in a virtual setting. From live chat, forums, video, and audio, there's many outlets to get creative and connect attendees with each other, with sponsors, and with speakers.
4. Quick Feedback & Lead Gen.
It's even easier to administer surveys, polls, and collect feedback online than it is after an in-person event where people are rushing from one session to another. Websites already have tracking in place to follow user paths and log conversions with your content. Video conferencing platforms have chat, polling, and post-session surveys as part of their software experience. Virtual events allow you to get a more instantaneous and holistic overview of the success of your event content and what's resonating with your attendees.
5. Evergreen Content.
In-person conferences exist for a few hours or a few days and then disappear. Virtual events can exist for as long as you want. Live sessions can be recorded and turned into on-demand sessions. Your content can exist in perpetuity and attendees can access it at their leisure. You can even repurpose your event content for future online marketing efforts. Traditionally, a multi-day event is expensive; virtual event costs don't necessarily change when it comes to duration.
At the end of the day, there's no direct answer to whether you should cancel your event. One way to test out virtual events is to create one to supplement your scheduled in-person event. This is a great way to generate buzz and begin establishing connections amongst attendees before they arrive at your in-person conference. If you need some guidance, check out our advice for how to host a successful virtual event.