published November 1, 2022

virtual reality headset on a person that is used to attend a virtual event
  • Virtual events include streaming, virtual reality, trade shows, conferences, campuses, learning environments, and business environments.
  • This new genre of meetings and events is critical to the growth and future of the industry
  • Even as the precipitating factors for the popularity of virtual events wanes, integrating and capitalizing on them is a key component of our recommended communication strategies.

As the world adjusts to a post-pandemic landscape, the need for virtual events remains. Hosting hybrid events provides numerous benefits for businesses, nonprofits, and organizations of all kinds and sizes:

  • Detailed Analytics — Sophisticated lead generation and other sorts of follow up activities are easier when you know who attended, why and what they did. There are also opportunities for collecting feedback and other value-add sentiment from attendees if your event has incorporated these features from the outset.
  • Rescheduling Flexibility — Unforeseen circumstances can throw a traditional trade show or event into chaos. If the location is no longer available, it’s a logistical nightmare to pivot to a different place or date. But with virtual events, digital “real estate” is much easier to manage and migrate.
  • Increased Marketability — The incorporation of not only Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but also other niche verticals and measurement can be done using bespoke markers that can identify audiences you may not have previously considered or even known existed.
  • Eco-Friendly — Anyone who has attended a “brick and mortar” event can attest to the amount of waste generated by traditional foot traffic. Everything from paper cups for the coffee fueling the attendees to the energy costs required for the AC pumped into the conference hall comes with an environmental cost.
  • Reduced Travel Costs — Related to but different from the environmental costs is the investment needed to purchase airline tickets, booking hotel rooms and other hospitality-related expenses. This doesn’t include or account for the opportunity costs that may occur if your staff contracts COVID-19 while en route to an event.
  • Central Database — Virtual events provide a universal receptacle for data related to attendees, including all action items that can be parsed and assigned to various departments in your business (sales, design, research, etc.).
  • Greater opportunity for diversity — This is a bit esoteric, but is nonetheless a real benefit of virtual events. They allow for greater accessibility. Other-abled individuals may have an opportunity to attend remotely, or be part of the conversation using tech devices.

According to a study commissioned by Meeting Professionals International, the impact of GenX in the event space will be felt in years to come: 

Virtual and hybrid meetings were chosen specifically for this study as they are identified in the literature as the newest genre of meetings being planned and are critical to the growth of the meetings and events industry.

Virtual meetings are explained by the industry as “digital events, meetings and learning technologies that include: webcasting (streaming media); virtual environments (2D and 3D) such as virtual events, virtual trade shows, conferences, campuses, learning environments; and perpetual (365 days per year) business environments” (PCMA, UMB Studios and VEI, 2011, p. 3). Hybrid events involve a mixture of physical events with elements of a virtual event usually running simultaneously and with overlapping content and interactive elements.”

(PCMA Invests in Virtual and Hybrid Meetings, 2011)

a person watching a virtual yoga class and performing yoga on a mat outside

While the impact of COVID-19 may eventually fade into the background, the need for virtual and hybrid events is here to stay. To stay competitive, attract top talent, and succeed in your operations, optimizing virtual and hybrid events isn’t a ‘nice to have.’ It’s a key component of navigating the new normal.

PGM can help.  Learn how your organization or business can capitalize on integrating virtual events into your communication strategy here