[Infographic] The State of Virtual & Hybrid Events: Trends & Opportunities

The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way event organizers plan, run and measure the success of meetings and conferences. Here are some insights on what attendees expect and how event planners are adjusting to meet the challenge.

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Virtual events stats:
  • Unsurprisingly, Google searches for “virtual event” and “virtual conference” have steadily increased in the US and Canada since COVID-19 struck in early March.

However, it turns out that virtual events were popular even before the pandemic:

  • 42% of organizations were already running virtual events in 2019 (Source: Wild Apricot 2020 Virtual Event Report)
  • When survey respondents were asked whether or not they think that in the future all live events will have a virtual dimension, 50.7% said yes. (Source: 614 Group)

 

PROS AND CONS of Virtual events

While virtual events are less expensive to run...

… attendees find them easier to skip out on.

But the good news is:

  • Just over three-quarters (75.4 percent) of event planners report that attendees gave the same or very similar evaluation scores to the virtual conference as to a comparable place-based event. (Source: Tagoras Virtual Conferences Report)

 

Before COVID, people attended business events to stay informed and connect with others:

  • 67.9% Learn about the latest developments in the industry
  • 64.4% Meet new business prospects and generate leads
  • 56.3% Spend quality time with current clients
  • 44% Socialize with peers
  • 37.6% Close deals
  • 37.6% Market their company

(Source: 614 Group)

 

Education and networking are no less important in a virtual environment, but people expect to be entertained as well. When asked to rate their interest (out of 10), attendees ranked these virtual event features most highly:

  • 8.29 Raffles or giveaways
  • 7.34 Live Q&A with presenters/speakers
  • 6.35 One on one networking based on job function, interests, etc.
  • 6.06 Live chat with product and/or service providers
  • 5.49 Virtual networking with peers (e.g. happy hours)

(Source: Covalent Careers)

 

VIRTUAL EVENT PLANNER STRATEGY

What are event managers charging for virtual event tickets?

  • 6% said more than what they charge for in-person events
  • 9% said the same
  • 12% said slightly less
  • 23% said much less
  • 27% said all their events are free
  • 29% said they charged for in-person events, but won’t charge for virtual events

(Source: Wild Apricot 2020 Virtual Event Report )

How long are event managers running virtual conferences for?

  • 25.7% Less than one day
  • 22.9% One to one and a half days
  • 11.4% More than one and a half to two days

(Source: Tagoras Virtual Conferences Report)

 

What kind of experiences are virtual event organizers offering attendees?

A majority of the organizations that have hosted a virtual conference offered the following features:

  • Live sessions delivered in real time (87.7 percent)
  • Archived recordings after the virtual conference ends (76.7 percent)
  • Real-time text communication between participants (69.9 percent)

Discussion boards, pre-recorded sessions with on-demand playback, and a virtual exhibit hall were offered less frequently. 

(Source: Tagoras Virtual Conferences Report)

 

How can virtual event managers maximize attendance?

When compared to attendance at in-person events: 

  • 70% of virtual event planners said they had “many more” attendees with a guest speaker.
  • 57% of organizations who had “many more” attendees reported that they ran a panel discussion.

(Source: Wild Apricot 2020 Virtual Event Report )

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The vast majority of organizations hosting virtual events are charging less than they would for an in-person event.

In-person and virtual attendees alike are motivated by making new connections and generating leads for their business. Brands running online events will have to actively encourage networking in a virtual environment.

Guest speakers and panel discussions will help you maximize attendance at your next virtual event.

 

 

Run your next virtual event with Attendease, the all-in-one platform for online (and in-person) event management.