With news of the Covid vaccine providing a welcome boost across the globe, event organizers are now thinking ahead and considering options for their 2021 events. And, rightly so, because there are now three main choices: virtual, physical and hybrid events!
Physical, virtual and hybrid events all have their advantages and disadvantages, so the challenge is to decide what’s the best fit for your event and your company. So, this begs the question… virtual vs physical vs hybrid events: what are the differences and what’s the right approach for 2021?
Let’s help you answer that question! We’ll take you through the main differences and pros and cons for each…
Personal contact has always been a fundamental part of any event. Connection and face-to-face contact are two extremely important tools when considering the virtual event vs physical event (and now hybrid event!) debate. One of the main goals of an event is to connect personally with people – and, it can arguably be easiest to do this face-to-face.
We spend so much time online on our computers and mobile phones, that it can be really beneficial to see others in the flesh! This kind of connection adds a different element to a professional relationship and can definitely be more memorable. It can seem easier to run activities such as team building or events that revolve around product sales face-to-face.
This said, physical events also have their challenges. Compared with virtual or hybrid events, the costs of running a physical event is higher, due to the costs of venue hire and staff. With a physical event, there are more limits such as capacity and geographic location.
Technology has a big part to play in the physical event vs virtual event debate too. With a physical event, you are limited to the amount of data you can access at the time. This means that the results from a physical event are less measurable and also less immediate.
The number of virtual events have been rapidly increasing by the day during Covid times! Now let’s look at the pros and cons of holding a virtual event over a physical event.
Virtual events can reduce costs and increase profit as there’s no need for costly venue hire or lots of staff! Planning can also be easier and less time consuming with no need to factor in physical logistics such as travel and geography. Virtual events also enable you to maximize audience reach – people can attend from wherever they are in the world!
With a virtual event, you also have the ability to be really innovative and creative. With online avatars, interactive displays and theme your event easily to capture your audience’s attention to give them the ‘wow’ factor.
Measuring results immediately in real-time is also possible with a virtual or hybrid event! This means you can more easily access your ROI, so you can enhance the event experience for the future.
In terms of cons when considering a virtual vs a physical event, as there is so much online activity happening right now, you have to work hard to cut through the noise! You need to have a strong strategy and marketing plan.
There can also be technical glitches and you’re reliant on internet bandwidth and the ability of your guests to use the technology. Don’t let this put you off, though, as help is on hand – read our blog on how to solve the top 3 challenges of running virtual events!
The clue here is in the name – a hybrid event is a bit of both physical and virtual. Some may say that this approach has the best of both worlds! Event planners can take advantage of what works best at a physical event and what works best at a virtual event and merge the two.
Hybrid events are beneficial when some of your attendees who would normally attend in person can’t. Guests can also choose whether to attend hybrid events face-to-face or online – or a bit of both!
Although offering choice and flexibility to your guests is a clear advantage with a hybrid event and may well boost attendance, it is also a disadvantage too. You will need to think about the logistics of a physical event and the technology needed to hold a virtual event. You need to plan for both!
So, there you have it – virtual events vs physical events, vs hybrid events! Now it’s just time to choose what’s right for you.