Our Director put a poll on LinkedIn, he asked “Do you prefer virtual or physical events?”. In total 67% of people said they prefer physical events. One person commented saying, “I think people will really value the face to face interaction but will be a lot more selective in the events they attend. It will have to be worth the cost/investment”.
The truth is no one knows what the future holds. However, after discussions with our clients we have a few thoughts about what the future holds for physical events.
People have realised the reach of online events
We have run multiple events during COVID-19 which have doubled the attendance numbers for our clients. This brings many benefits; for our clients it has allowed them to speak to attendees that usually would not attend their physical events.
This reach is unsurprising considering the lack of barriers to entry for attendees coming to online events. There is no need to travel to the venue, for those that don’t like networking – no need for small talk and you can watch from the comfort of your home.
Online events are more cost effective
An online event costs considerably less than a physical one. There is no need to book a venue, feed your attendees or pay for printed materials.
We believe in the future this may result in more hybrid events where event organisers will have a percentage of physical attendees and then allow the remaining attendees to join online.
People are going to want more than just presentations
The events we run in the future are going to need to be much more than just presentations from the speaker to the audience. We believe if events are simply just presentations from speakers it will make attendees seriously consider the need to go to a physical location and instead want to watch remotely.
We need to make our events interactive – really selling to our attendees the benefits of being at the physical event harder than we had to before.
Extroverts are missing interaction
A lot of extroverts have missed the social interactivity you get from events. They are dying to get back to the networking and post event drinks (we are too!).
Although there are some great ways of socially interacting online, we believe that people will appreciate social interaction more than ever in the future.
Physical events will be special
A few years ago people said that audio books and Kindles would kill books. In fact, although there has been an uptake in audio books and Kindles, people appreciate books more than ever. This proves that although we offer customers a more accessible and cheaper alternative, quality matters.
Indeed, events will make a return when we safely can do so. However, as event organisers we are going to have to think about how we can make our events interactive and give attendees a good reason to be in the room.