The events industry has shifted online, but the need for in-person events remains as present as ever. While technology and the internet play an increasingly crucial role in keeping essential business connections alive, some of the staples of marketing events such as merchandise, eye contact, and social gatherings all require participants to share a physical space. Furthermore, hosting physical events builds a strong brand association that can be extremely beneficial in the long run.
Since the onset of COVID-19, thousands of events worldwide have been cancelled or postponed. From the 2020 Olympics to Broadway shows, from the Met Gala to the Eurovision Song Contest, not a single physical event could go on while staying safe from the pandemic.
Despite this, a few events companies were able to continue their operations (or even grow) during the lockdown period, as they took this opportunity to translate their concepts into a virtual setting. Today, virtual events have become the new normal.
Even as specific regions start opening up again, virtual events have proven their worth, offering levels of reach, flexibility, and convenience unmatched by physical events. Online events are now a must for marketing efforts moving forward. We will find post-pandemic that these online initiatives have become a necessity in and of themselves, serving as new mediums with their own benefits as opposed to an alternative to in-person events.
“Virtual events have proven their worth, offering levels of reach, flexibility, and convenience unmatched by physical events. Online events are now a must for marketing efforts moving forward.”
In the near future, though, the circumstances will allow businesses to integrate the virtual and physical aspects of event planning and delivery into one model. Physical events might be streamed live to enable participants to engage no matter where they are. Some elements, such as Q&A’s, will be able to move onto digital mediums.
Hybrid events are foreseen as a vital part of the new normal in the events industry. Conferences, trade shows, global town halls, and sales kick-offs are just a few examples of events that will likely adapt effortlessly to the hybrid model.
The Ortus Club, an international marketing company specialising in knowledge-sharing events and roundtables for the C-level, managed to keep growing its global operations amidst all the lockdowns. Soon after the initial wave of cancellations and postponements, the company acted fast to turn things around, proposing virtual roundtable options for their clients.
The key to their success lies in a combined strategy of virtual team expansion and careful event design that maximises audience engagement and prevents the over-mentioned “Zoom fatigue”.
Sponsors worldwide appreciate that hybrid solutions will be the norm going forward and that virtual event management will keep growing. While the world keeps looking forward to when audiences will be able to gather together again safely, these challenging times have also offered the business world the opportunity to fully reap the benefits of the wonders of connecting technology. Hybrid events have only been one example.