Meetings Pro Tip: Don’t Let Go of Virtual Events Just Yet

Despite virtual events being less common before the pandemic, recent research shows that remote meetings are gaining in popularity—because more people have had a chance to try the experience.

Pandemic risks aside, your association may be ready to fully embrace in-person events once again.

But don’t let the desire to go back to the convention hall dissuade you from the progress that your organization has made with its virtual event offerings, both in full virtual and hybrid settings.

Despite the circumstances of the past couple of years, an ongoing virtual event strategy could be a long-term opportunity that outlives the pandemic.

What’s the Strategy?

A recent report from Kaltura found that, despite the slow return to in-person events, many event planners are looking closely at keeping virtual events going in 2022, with 94 percent of organizers saying that they still have virtual events on their schedule and 48 percent expecting to put on even more virtual events next year.

In a news release, Kaltura’s Executive Vice President of Product, Renan Gutman, noted that such events were sticking around because they have gained additional value for many organizations.

“Virtual events don’t exist in a silo, they are part of the entire marketing funnel,” Gutman said. “It took time to make the shift, but the benefits have quickly become clear, and as a result, nearly half of organizations plan to host more digital events next year.”

Why Is It Effective?

Part of the reason virtual events might be showing sustained value is because more people have done them than in the past. The Kaltura report found that before the pandemic, just 45 percent of respondents had attended a virtual event. This quickly shifted after 2020, and now 87 percent of respondents are familiar with the format.

Attendees, additionally, found the experience enjoyable, with 73 percent of respondents approving of the experiences they had at the event. The result is that 84 percent of respondents now want to have the option to attend any event as a remote attendee.

What’s the Potential?

Virtual events obviously have their share of complexities (just ask any vendor trying to get a handle on the expo hall), but the truth of the matter is, it could be an opportunity to add additional educational offerings, including a more asynchronous approach to meetings that allows your organization to reach different types of content consumers than an in-person event might.

While virtual events don’t have all the bells and whistles of an in-person experience, they still have plenty to offer. And building for that experience could come in handy at a time when professional development is seen as a useful way to prevent burnout.

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Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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