Virtual events. Are they here to stay?
Up until a couple of months ago virtual events were hardly spoken about. They were in the background as support to enable attendance at certain events and meetings without having to resort to travelling each week. But now they have helped rescue our communication needs because of our mobility being so badly affected.
But, what is a virtual event?
For those who are unsure it is simply a meeting held either virtually or digitally. Instead of meeting in person, the meeting room becomes a web site. As for the transmission of information virtual meetings have the same capacity as when being present. Improvements are advancing more rapidly in the last few months than in the last five years due to current needs.
If we speak of what we know as “networking”, we could say it is less fluid. For sure, all of us, even if only on a personal level, have made some group video calls that, at times, are somewhat chaotic. To do it correctly it must be well organised with a moderator (or several) to limit that “lack of fluidity” we are speaking about.
This type of platform becomes a fantastic tool, used specifically, as a support at “face to face” events. It undoubtedly increases capacity in terms of numbers of attendees. This is where the concept of the hybrid event arises, in which we mix traditional and virtual.
What are the most common virtual events?
Many uses can be applied to this type of platform. Obviously, its purpose is to connect people and, depending on the number of people involved and the type of requirements needed, we can use this type of tool accordingly. Those most used are as follows:
- Conferences: The structure is the same as for a physical presence conference, without being at a determined venue in person. These are sessions run by experts in the matters to be discussed. The same as in a meeting room, one can “raise a hand” to ask questions, with live interaction with the speakers.
- Meetings: It has been used for years, especially to hold internal meetings between the staff of a company that are physically located in different places. The objective is to get up to date without leaving the office.
- Webinars: Used mainly for training or chats. The virtual attendees can communicate with the speakers, albeit this communication is maybe more restricted in this format, because the main objective is to explain something in detail with most of the time being taken up by the speaker.
- Fairs: Designed in the same way as a normal fair, but in virtual space, instead of physical space. Exhibitors must be creative in their descriptions and capture the attention of the virutal attendees. Appointments can be made just as when there in person, but in this virtual format.
- Hybrid: This refers to the organization of the event in question, with a part of the participants attending in person and the others following the event with live streaming (in a virtual format). Now that we cannot gather a large number of people together it is a very good option, (nowadays, one of the most used by companies).
What are the advantages and disadvantages of this format?
Everything has its advantages and disadvantages, as with everything in life. It is clear that this tool allows you to communicate at less cost although, it is true, that the impact on the recipient is also less. It allows people from all over the world to become connected, albeit not with the proximity of “face to face”.
The use of these tools is a very valuable support which now, in the times we live in, help us to maintain those communicative needs. It must be recognised, not without regret, we miss living those moments in person. Creating an impact on participants on site is much easier than via a screen, to approach people is more accesible if they are in front of you, chatting is more fluid and the memory created is much more special.
What is required are certain added values to ensure virtual or hybrid meetings resemble the meetings we have always held. For example, if we organise a coffee break at a normal meeting, why not do so too in virtual format? We can send to the address of each virtual participant a full breakfast which helps us to approach them with something more tangible. We can also do the same with a dinner which we can liven up with a live show. We must not forget the importance of the moderators or coordinators in this type of meeting. They are really indispensable.
A support for the “face to face”
Now is the time for us to take advantage of the options offered by virtual sessions. However, the not too distant future will allow us to hold face to face meetings again but, now that the concept is more widely known, we shall keep this virtual support that becomes so necessary when time is lacking. We can also not deny thatthe hybrid format opens up a plethora of options hitherto little explored, which will continue to be used when meetings and events are held normally again. We can reach more people because we shall have the option to use this format to widen our audience.
We cannot deny that technology rescues us from the most complicated situations, no less so in this case. However, it is clear we shall soon travel again, enjoy meetings, get to know new people, make new contacts, enjoy a dinner, a show, chats in person that later you can rejoice in, and speak easily with all those accompanying you. Face to face will never stop being pivotal in all types of events whether corporate or not. The experience factor has been key in recent years and will continue to be so.
Currently, (please contact us for up to date information), events and meetings are allowed, although with certain limits, particularly in participation capacity and, of course, maintaining all safety and health guarantees. But this is a question of a short time. Soon, all those limitations will have been overcome and we shall be able to return to “normality”. In the meantime, we encourage you to try any type of virtual or hybrid event. Let´s not lose our rhythm! We are at your diposal to resolve any query or give you any help you may need. And, of course, we hope to see you in person, sooner rather than later!
We hope you have found this article interesting. Please contact us for ore information. We will be happy to hear from you!
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With a career of over 12 years dedicated to the Tourism Sector and specially to the Meetings and Events Sector, in this blog I share with you all that I consider interesting to bring value to our work. It is sometimes difficult to follow a world moving at such a rapid pace. Stop for a second and navigate these sites written for you. Have a nice day!