At a time when the world has transitioned into a ‘digital-everything’ kind of dynamics, it can be difficult to hop on the bandwagon without any prior knowledge of a certain shift. Similarly, whether you’re hosting an online conference, or looking forward to attending your first, it is quite natural to want to know what to expect from this experience. You must also have an understanding of the pros and cons of a virtual conference. The basic idea of a virtual event is the lack of physicality. Quite the obvious fact. However, there are significant ramifications you may not have considered. For instance, reports indicate a staggering $33,000 per year in savings for companies using video conferencing. So, without further ado, let’s see what the pros and cons of a virtual conference are and why they have been trending in today’s world. Pros Low cost Arranging a virtual conference implies a fraction of the price of a traditional business meeting. It eliminates the following costs associated with a physical event – room accommodations, venue insurance, rent, printing marketing materials, food, beverages, and other unexpected expenses. In fact, video conferences can cut business travel costs by 30% – money that can be invested elsewhere. On the other hand, a virtual conference entails the cost of the platform, internet connection, speaker, and sometimes an entry fee. This , compared to a traditional event, is still an enormously lower amount being spent by those involved. Time-saving A virtual event saves time from multiple perspectives. First of all, you’ll be able to get the job done in less time because a virtual conference is usually more fast-paced than a regular one. By eliminating downtime, participants will get straight to the point. Apart from saving time, it saves energy and resources as well, allowing for a broader focus on the objective at hand. Traditional meetings exhaust members before the actual event, resulting in less productivity and attention span. Secondly, a virtual event saves time by reducing total clocking hours. Participants will only register work hours during the effective virtual meeting, and not on adjacent commuting and accommodation. This ensures maintaining maximum energy as well as morale for the conference. Better logistics Preparing a virtual conference is way faster than an old-fashioned event. While an online conference can be up and running within minutes, a physical venue might require a days’ worth of planning and execution. Furthermore, sending invitations through a link is easier than handing out printed letters through the mail. Also, there are far more possibilities that can go wrong and stop a physical event than an online one. For virtual conferences, the only thing that can put it to a halt is a bad internet connection. Efficient marketing Sharing information about your company is easier and more effective through a virtual meeting as potential clients are just one click away from your products and services. On the other hand, an old-school event drastically reduces potential leads due to the physical constraints of the fair. Potential buyers have limited time and energy to walk around and investigate all the booths and companies. An online event sends the message more clearly, directly and effectively. More so, advertising is less costly. You’ll only have to invest a one-time cost in the development of a digital platform. Instead, the old-school way of marketing needs the production of hundreds of brochures, and SWAG items like PR bags, flyers, keychains, and so on, substantially increasing the cost of your event. Scalability A virtual conference is very versatile and adjustable. However, you must have an event manager at hand so he can modify settings and implement changes. That also implies that one individual can do the equivalent job of a team of event organizers. Not to forget that the adjustments are almost instant, compared to event coordinators who need forewarnings, time, and resources to rescale a venue. Wider outreach A virtual event can reach and host infinitely more people than a traditional business fair. The potential outreach depends only on your marketing skills and platform capabilities. While a physical venue is limited, a virtual conference can host astonishing amounts of global participants. It will also motivate on-the-fence investors to participate as it’s easier to have them online than to travel all the way. Even more, spectators would be able to watch the conference through social media sharing and other websites, furthering the relevance of your virtual event. Effective Networking While nothing compares to physical interactions, technology has still managed to find the closest, and on certain occasions, even more effective ways to network with audiences with the help of a virtual conference. A virtual conference entails live text, audio and video chat tools, as well as the opportunity of holding webinars and other interactive sessions to engage audiences and to ensure that they network with relevant individuals by providing them with information on significant personalities prior to the event (primarily to make sure no one makes a fool out of themselves). Evergreen Content You’ve spent a fair amount of energy in developing the material for consumption and have made sure to invite top-notch keynote speakers to carry out webinars. Wouldn’t it be amazing if all of this does not disappear with the stroke of the clock? As opposed to physical conferences, you can ensure that your marketing & informational material as well as the sessions conducted can be preserved for later usage in case of virtual conferences. Accessibility Most virtual conferences have a one-time entry fee, which allows members to use the same credentials next time. Also, some platforms have archive features useful for rewatching past meetings. Moreover, in terms of enabling the disabled individuals to access the event, click here to read about the accessibility features that vFairs offers, further enhancing the audience at your event. Data gathering Depending on the virtual platform, hosts can gather various data and information about the conference and participants. Furthermore, survey tools and inquiries can be deployed to the guests in real time. You can access whiteboards, graphs, and statistics and discuss them instantly. Wardrobe Last but not least, in a virtual conference, there’s no need to stress yourself too much about what you’re wearing. There are less planning and fewer expenses for suits and dresses. Most of the time, you’re only visible from the neck up. Sure, maybe avoid being too casual like many internet “stars.” You might be forced to get up from the chair in an instance, and you’ll ruin it for all. Cons Lacking human contact The social interaction in a video conference lacks human contact. It’s one of the main disadvantages of the virtual world. Until we invent transportation, this drawback will continue to persist. Not being able to establish a full human connection may sometimes prove problematic for high-stake meetings where negotiations are often reduced to establishing an interpersonal connection. Business owners must keep this in mind. Less excitement A virtual conference can’t compete with the vacation-like feeling of a glorious event in some big metropolitan city. Although it saves money, it also saves the fireworks of a well-planned venue. Substantially, the idea reconnects with the previous point: vital meetings should be reserved for traditional planning as they’ll benefit from the added human and physical aspect. Distractions A virtual conference can’t guarantee the exclusive attention of the participants. They might as well surf the web while you’re devising next years’ budget. They could also be distracted by their household environment or their neighbors. Undoubtedly, it doesn’t mean that a real-life participant won’t have his mind elsewhere when sitting across the table from you. It’s just harder to hide. Less effective sponsorships Some brands might find advertising their sponsorships a little bit more difficult in virtual settings. Once again, mainly due to the lack of human interaction with the client. Sure, you can still use similar rhetorics, but the delivery element might sometimes suffer. Limits technologically illiterates Not everyone is tech-savvy. A minority of potential buyers might not be able to access your conference because they don’t have the skills or resources to do so. Way Forward Companies around the world realize the benefits of virtual conferences. Apart from saving time and money, virtual meetings are customizable, require fewer logistics, offer better marketing options, and enhance reporting. Classic assemblies have the unique advantage of allowing human contact and natural social interactions. Which, in turn, can prove indispensable in some cases of important business gatherings. People and organizations are still getting accustomed to virtual technology. Still, strong indicators suggest that online conferences are the new way of doing business. Now you know the pros and cons of a virtual conference, so you are in a better position to take your business to new heights of success. Want To Know More About Hosting a Virtual Event? vFairs Can Help Schedule a Free Demo Author Bio Tobias Foster is a journalist and writer with more than five years’ work experience and big ambitions. Tobias is a proud employee at one of the most successful dissertation writing services UK. Philosophy, marketing, and business are his passions, and he has a wealth of knowledge in those fields. He is a master of his craft.