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Hybrid and in-person events have made a major comeback in 2022. As events are shifting back to what used to be normal, the future of virtual events hangs in the balance. So, to help streamline expectations for all event professionals vFairs carried out a survey for “The Future of Virtual Events”.
The respondents of the survey were professionals from corporations, events services, NPOs, and the education sector. Here are some of the most important takeaways from the survey that event professionals need to know about.
2022 was a great year for virtual events and the survey’s respondents also hosted virtual events for their organizations.
The expertise of these respondents in the survey is important to understand the legitimacy of the information vFairs was able to deduce from it. The survey predicted the future of virtual events with remarkable accuracy and the results show that they are here to stay. Here are some of the key statistics.
vFairs also conducted some more proprietary research for the future of hybrid events through this survey in 2021. The survey results showed that:
According to both surveys, over the past few years, virtual events seem to be here to stay even if the trends move towards hybrid or in-person events. Which seems to be the case, as 1 in every 2 event professionals is inclined towards both virtual and in-person events for their future strategies. Organizers realize the importance of both types of events and we might see more hybrid event trends emerging in B2B and B2C markets.
Many might have predicted that virtual events will be a thing of the past after the pandemic is over. This could be a logical conclusion if you consider the importance of physical interactions among humans. The two years without in-person events were brutal for many of us, but our research still suggests that virtual events are here to stay.
We asked our respondents why they would still consider hosting a virtual event. Here is what they said:
Some other of the most common reasons for choosing to host a virtual event were relatively easier administration, inclusivity, and the lack of geographical and logistical restrictions.
We also ran a poll on LinkedIn and asked event professionals and attendees why they would consider attending a virtual event. Here are the top reasons and their corresponding results:
Virtual event stats show that these will just grow over time. However, they may not be there in the exact same way you might expect. In fact, there are a number of different opportunities organizers are already exploring. Therefore, here are some of the trends you’ll see this year.
As the surveys suggest, we might be moving towards hybrid events as the future of all events. Therefore, the technology stack behind in-person events will also change. One of the most prevalent trends over the current year has been the innovation of event mobile apps. You can make practically any in-person event a hybrid one by introducing a mobile app.
Mobile apps can make the entire event’s content available on-the-go and on-demand for all attendees. They are more popularly becoming the powerhouses behind communication and networking at in-person events. A mobile app might be the key to connect your in-person audience with the virtual one.
Now that companies have the tools to host their own events, they won’t just stick to annual or semiannual events. They will leverage these tools for smaller events throughout the year. Whether these are internal training activities or small-scale client interactions, virtual event technology will enable them to host easily throughout the year. This is because these do not have the same logistical and financial requirements as physical events, which make it impossible to have such packed schedules. Hosts can also invite more speakers and moderators over the course of the year, rather than all at once.
As virtual events become more accessible, companies are using them for in-house purposes as well. Whether it’s training workshops or on-boarding exercises, more organizations will carry them out virtually. So, this will lead to virtual event solutions like virtual training weeks and company get-togethers.
Major companies like Apple and Meta are experimenting with the metaverse. While it is currently most relevant to video games and other VR experiences, it will soon make its appearance in the event industry. vFairs is already making progress in this regard, with custom and inclusive avatars and high interactivity for virtual attendees. Over time, as the concept gets more commonplace, hosting virtual events may well involve VR technology.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are quite prevalent these days. Of course, they were bound to make their entry into the virtual event experience as well. They are already present in the data collection and reporting procedures. They let companies gather large amounts of information and compile them in easier formats..
There will be a rise in on-demand content. This is because such content allows viewers to access it at their own convenience. Therefore, it is perfect for global audiences in different timezones. In addition, if companies record their live events and leave them online over a long time period, they can get more engagement and interaction. So, on-demand content will increase over the coming year. Pre-recorded content can have the same impact, especially if it’s downloadable.
All of these trends bode well for the virtual event industry. Therefore, you should get on board sooner rather than later to be part of this progress.
In-person events were well and truly back in 2022 and beyond, but they have changed for good. Due to virtual fatigue and the sheer need for face-to-face communication, many people are more comfortable with the hybrid event model. Wherever it’s applicable, companies will prefer it over exclusively virtual events. Therefore, it brings hybrid and in-person events almost neck-to-neck in popularity comparison.
We ran a poll on LinkedIn and asked event profs how they want to host their business events in 2023. Here’s what they said:
An interesting take away from the poll is that virtual events are still not that far behind. While we may think that the trend is shifting back to in-person and hybrid – the split isn’t glaringly uneven. Therefore, virtual event solutions providers are now pivoting to expand their in-person and hybrid event tech offerings for more on-ground support.
Here are a few points which sum up how virtual events will only grow over the coming year.
In conclusion, virtual events aren’t going anywhere. Therefore, you should prepare for this eventuality. Hybrid and virtual events will be the norm, so you should be at the forefront of this shift.
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Syeda Hamna Hassan
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