The concept of virtual events is not new by any means — in fact they have been happening since the beginning of broadband internet. But with the emergence of the pandemic in early 2020, thousands of businesses adapted to this new norm, switching their planned events to online platforms. Back in May, we answered a pool of frequently asked questions by organizers considering virtual event platforms for the first time. Concerns about online engagement, building networks, measuring success, and how to leave a long-lasting impression remained prevalent. vFairs enabled hundreds of businesses to connect in a disconnected world during those unprecedented times. Over a couple of months we witnessed a lot more companies relying on virtual events — essentially because of the value they generate. Although vFairs has been serving virtual events for a few years, the recent trend was dramatically reflected in the volume of events we serve, growing by 50x (in 2020) and helping earn our place as a top virtual event provider. The current situation drives our attention to the following question: will the concept of virtual events stick around in it’s existing form, or is it going to transform with time and innovation? We can always draw some possibilities. Having said that, let’s now dive into some predictions and analyse what the future holds for the virtual event landscape. The overall transition to virtual events According to a recent survey conducted by TrustRadius, 67% of companies are planning to invest in web conferencing software in the near future. This means that the demand for local and customized virtual events will be even higher in the coming days. If we look into the background, we realize that although the hype of online conferences was recently driven by the pandemic, there’s more that will contribute to the demand in future. Why? Because, as companies gradually move toward online ways of hosting their events, they are learning the various benefits that were undiscovered before. These virtual event organizers are observing some of the clear advantages as follows: Higher participation, as more people can join from across regions and borders Improved targeting — ideal attendees can be recruited based on preferences Ease of access from the comforts of home More cost-effective and sustainable — eliminates travel cost, etc Real-time reports measuring ROIs and other event insights on a go Eco-friendly — eliminates plastic and carbon waste Physical events may not pay off alone With the business world evolving, event planners are also adapting to creative tools for running events in a competitive landscape. Technological advancements have paced up significantly in recent times, making many conventional ways obsolete. Physical events are still often favorable in making connections and showcasing products in a real environment, but they come with their downsides. For example, renting a venue can be costly — event hosts usually have this on the top of their budget list. In doing so, they also have to consider the space limitations of the venue, as it doesn’t allow events to exceed its physical capacity for visitors. On the flip side, participants also have to take their travel costs into account, which makes the overall experience challenging even if everything else is perfectly designed. In a nutshell, companies end up spending too much money and effort in setting up an event — and only reaching too few people in the process. Hybrid event formats will become more popular The phenomenon of hybrid events has gained rapid popularity over the past few months. A survey of event professionals by Etc.venues revealed that almost three-quarters (73%) of them are planning a hybrid event before the end of the year. Even as physical events resume, online and hybrid methods will stay in place. Participants may have the opportunity to choose: either online or in-person. This will serve more flexibility and help in expanding the event’s reach. Event technology will most likely become a connecting platform between in-person and online attendees. Today, events are seen as flag bearers of providing value to sponsors. As the technology catches up, we may witness an incredible growth in event sponsorships. As a result, the demand for virtual platforms will continue to increase, leading to greater quality-based competition among service providers. This will further shape the events industry, and bring continued innovation. Takeaways: Since most agile businesses have adopted remote work, it is unlikely that they will fully go back to offices even after the pandemic is over. The same applies to online events; as people realize the advantages of virtual platforms, they may not want to shift back to traditional ways of running events. To conclude, it seems that the good-to-have virtual solutions of the past will most likely become crucial infrastructure of the future. Those are some of our speculations but we would love to hear about your thoughts on the future of virtual events. Stay Connected with vFairs. Follow Us for Product News and Resources Visit Our Profile About vFairs vFairs strives to deliver top-class virtual events for all audiences, with an intuitive platform that recreates physical events through an immersive online experience. With a range of powerful features and dedicated support for users around the world, vFairs removes the hassle from organizing, exhibiting at, and attending events such as conferences, trade shows, and career fairs. Contact the vFairs team to learn more or request a demo to see a virtual event in action.