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Are Virtual Events Losing Their Charm?
While virtual or hybrid events have become essential formats, but with the physical events opening up, many people are raising questions about their impact and engagement
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One of the biggest developments of the covid-19 induced pandemic is the greater acceptance and mainstreaming of virtual events and tech platforms.
Over the past few years, virtual or hybrid events have become essential formats, but with the physical events opening up, many people are raising questions about the impact of virtual events and the engagement they generate.
To try to understand the virtual vs physical event dynamics in terms of impact and engagement, we spoke to some leading experts from the industry, and here is what they had to say:
Ruchin Kohli, Founder Occasion Xperts said that we are living in a phygital world and covid has given birth to a hybrid model of events. The number of virtual events has definitely gone down since live events are back. However, by using tech, the senior management of corporations can join virtually in a live event as everyone has realised the power of technology.
"In my observation, clients are spending more especially on hotels as hotel prices have gone up and there is a marginal increase in event logistics billing as well due to the increase in pricing of raw products. Clients are also spending on creating experiences for their employees, dealers, distributors, and their clients. They are going all out in terms of spending on virtual events as compared to what was being spent during the pandemic," Kohli said.
Kohli added that as far as the future of event tech is concerned, it has great potential and there are a lot of dependencies now on technology. It has made this sector more organized and tech really helps to create experientially ‘wow’ moments for attendees.
Meanwhile, Abhinav, Founder & CEO – Almond Solutions said the world is a different place post the pandemic and while the interactivity and exhilaration of live events can’t be doubted, virtual events have established themselves as a stakeholder engagement solution with ROI, scalability, and longevity at its core. Businesses have understood that both can co-exist in the post-pandemic world and each has its usability.
With time technology becomes more efficient and affordable, and that’s why organising virtual events is more affordable compared to a couple of years back.
"While event tech has always focused on experience, in the post-pandemic world the focus will be on delivering ROI by being data-driven and setting new benchmarks of customer centricity. Event Tech also has a huge opportunity for innovation in Web 3.0 where a combination of hardware and software will challenge the limits of creativity and experiences," Jain said.
Jain added that if we really try to define engagement traditionally, the mere presence of an individual at a physical location has been understood as engagement whereas it should include parameters like message retention, business outcome(s), and longevity. Virtual events offer deep measurement of user behaviour and even though it can be argued that people spend less time on virtual events, the fact is that we can understand user engagement more objectively.
Deepak Pawar, Director, Streamy Tech said, "Virtual events have suffered to some extent however this format has now become a business model that we were expecting it to become. In fact, most of the events have moved to hybrid now, so the virtual setup is still required. As far as the revenue is concerned, any virtual event still costs you 20 per cent or 30 per cent lesser than a physical event. So, clients are not bothered about negotiating because those negotiations have already happened."
Clients have understood the virtual and hybrid model very well now and the amplification or the multiplier that they get, or the stakeholder’s convenience of connecting. So, there's no second thought about it. If there is an event, there is always a hybrid attached to it, added Pawar.