Virtual events exploded onto the scene in 2020. What was largely a a niche format, almost overnight, became an essential platform as event professionals worldwide pivoted to virtual events in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic. While events in the UK are set to make a return on 17th May, virtual events are not going anywhere soon, with many speculating that they are here to stay. As Millennium Point Events recently unveiled our own virtual events packages, this blog will give you a bit more insight into why going virtual could be the perfect solution for your event.
WHAT’S A VIRTUAL EVENT?
A virtual event occurs completely online, with attendees interacting in a virtual environment over the internet rather than meeting in a physical space. A virtual event could be anything from a business meeting to an awards ceremony, conference or showcase. They occur on a variety of platforms, from being broadcast on YouTube, Vimeo or Facebook Live to dedicated software platforms.
BENEFITS OF CHOOSING A VIRTUAL EVENT
It’s the safest option against Covid-19
This one is obvious but an incredibly important benefit. Hosting a virtual event means no physical attendance, therefore no concerns over managing large groups of people. It also eliminates concerns for delegates and attendees over their health and wellbeing. Similarly, hosting a virtual event means that it wont be affected by lockdowns or changing restrictions so therefore much less likely to be cancelled or postponed.
Even now with restrictions easing, we can’t predict what is round the corner – hosting a virtual event eliminates any uncertainties around the ebbs and flows of covid restrictions which is why many big brands, such as E3, are opting to remain virtual for the time being.
Increases your audience through accessibility
Despite what you may think, virtual events are actually likely to register higher participation figures than their in-person counterparts. The reason for this is simply because it’s more accessible. With an online event there are no travel times, attendees can drop in and out as they please, they don’t have to socialise and are not committed to staying for the full event. It’s also more accessible and inclusive, allowing people with personal or logistical challenges to be included. Lastly, a virtual event eliminates geographical barriers which means people around the world can now access your event increasing the reach significantly. In short, hosting a virtual event is a lot more flexible, convenient and accessible for attendees compared to a physical event, which widens appeal and opens up a larger audience.
Virtual events are generally more cost efficient than physical events. In most cases, you have no operational costs or overheads such as venue hire, staff and catering. In other cases, such as a virtual award ceremony, you might need a studio space prior to film some content but while there will be some overheads these will be considerably less. Similarly, there will be no travel costs for your attendees and participants, which in turn lead to a more appealing event.
Being 100% online gives you the opportunity to track, capture and make the most of attendee data in ways that would be more difficult to achieve in a physical event. Virtual platforms offer deep data analytics such as attendees, views, reactions, engagement, drop offs during the event – all of this type of data allows you to determine your users interest and behaviour during your events and after. These analytics can also be used as a hook for prospective attendees, sponsors and partners who can use the data to find who requires follow-up after the event based on their interactions.
More value for exhibitors and sponsors
In 2020, reports found that exhibitors and sponsors felt they gained more value out of virtual events. As mentioned above, virtual events tend to have more attendees and deeper analytics. Exhibitors/Sponsors can connect with participants virtually at any time, showcase & promote their services through virtual social communities, and no longer worry about empty event booths at the physical venue. Less of travels, more of valuable, effective interactions.
Feed your pipeline
All of the content can be recorded – from the action on screen to the live chat. Compared to a physical event this gives you a lot more opportunity to feed your marketing pipeline after the event. You can break the recording into bitesize segments for social media, share the full event and capture new audience members and you can also use it as an example when pitching to new sponsors to give them an idea of what to expect.
HOW TO HOST YOUR VIRTUAL EVENT
We hope this has given you a lot to think about when planning your next event. Whether you’ve planned a virtual event before or not, it’s easy to get started.
Here at Millennium Point, we have both virtual and hybrid event packages available that are both affordable and top quality. Start exploring how adding a virtual element to your event can benefit you today by getting in touch with our multi-award winning events team.
WATCH A HYBRID EVENT IN ACTION
Get your free ticket to our own hybrid conference Talking Point: The Future of Events from 2pm – 4pm on Wednesday 26th May. This two-hour event consists of two panels that will examine what the next 12-18 months has in store for the events industry. You can join online or in-person to see how a hybrid event at Millennium Point works as well as join in a vital conversation around kickstarting the events and hospitality industry across the UK.
To reserve your ticket, or for further information, visit the dedicated page here.
Find more interesting content from Millennium Point over at our news section, or follow us for daily updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn with @MillenniumPoint. Millennium Point is a landmark public building and multi-award-winning events venue in the Eastside of Birmingham City centre. Profits from our commercial activity are invested by the Millennium Point Charitable Trust into projects, events and initiatives which support the growth of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and education in the West Midlands.