How COVID Has Changed In-Person Events & Meetings Forever

“Even when in-person events resume, virtual and hybrid formats will remain a go-to…Event technology will become the connective tissue between in-person and virtual attendees, serving a critical and strategic purpose for every event.” Attendify Founder & CEO, Michael Balyasny

Wondering what corporate events and meetings may look like after the pandemic has subsided? You are not alone. Nobody has a crystal ball, but it is all but certain that virtual meetings and events are here to stay. For the last 8 months, the COVID-19 crisis has halted or impacted all in-person gatherings in some capacity- everything from global summits to big tech conferences, fundraisers, graduation ceremonies, weddings and everything in between. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how the global pandemic has changed in-person events and meetings forever and why they will still be virtual after COVID. 

Going virtual was already on track to take over and/or enhance in-person corporate events, but COVID sped things up. As companies pivot to a virtual platform, the demand for high-quality live-stream or webcast events, virtual town halls and remote video production is greater than ever.  If your organization does not already see the value in producing high-quality virtual events and meetings, consider the following: 

  • It is projected that, in 2021, video, including web conferencing, will account for over 80% of all internet traffic. This means that companies that embrace live streaming and virtual events will reap the benefits. 
  • 86% of online participants report higher engagement levels than in-person events.
  • According to Bizzabo, 80% of marketers believe that live events are critical to their success. When surveyed, B2B marketers rate events as the single most-effective marketing channel over digital advertising, email marketing, and content marketing.

Benefits of Virtual Meetings & Events

When asked what they liked about virtual events vs in-person meetings, meeting attendees from all industries stated that they appreciated being able to stay close to home while saving time and money on travel costs. Some event organizers have reported that taking their corporate event to a virtual platform allowed them to reduce the cost of admission, eliminate vendor costs, and invest more in high-quality speakers. 

Other benefits going digital include:

  • Reduce environmental pollution
  • Offering a more targeted event focus
  • More potential for global distribution 
  • Less downtime and lost productivity for attendees

What is the future of Virtual Events & Meetings?

Even after the global crisis has passed and it’s “safe” and convenient to gather in person once again, the cloud of uncertainty will remain for some time. Event planners are rightfully concerned that many Americans will not feel comfortable traveling or gathering in-person for years to come and will expect to have the option of participating virtually. Fifteen percent of travelers say they plan on avoiding public transport and large cities even after restrictions are lifted. 

We expect that the solution to a slow rebound of in-person events and meetings will be a new hybrid model of live and virtual formats. “Even when in-person events resume, virtual and hybrid formats will remain a go-to. Attendees may be given the choice between attending in-person or virtually, making every event experience and community a hybrid,” writes Attendify Founder & CEO, Michael Balyasny in this article. “As a result, the demands on event technology will continue to grow and the best vendors will accelerate years of innovation into the next few quarters. Event technology will become the connective tissue between in-person and virtual attendees, serving a critical and strategic purpose for every event.”  

This infographic, Virtual Summits and the Future of Business Gatherings in a Post-COVID Era, created by Data Connectors explores what the post-coronavirus era could look like for corporate events and meetings even after the coronavirus pandemic has passed.

Final Thoughts

Virtual meetings and events are here to stay. When the worst of the pandemic has finally passed, the changes that have resulted from it will remain.

“Even after live events and conferences make their way back into marketing strategies and budgets, virtual events will continue to be a part of the event industry,” writes Forbes Magazine contributor, Jennifer Best in Are Virtual Events A Passing Fad Or Here To Stay?.

“They may not exclusively dominate the event space as they are today, but I believe there are three big reasons virtual events are not going anywhere. Virtual events are budget-friendly. Virtual event technology is advancing. Attendee experience becomes more important.”

About Lime Crane

Lime Crane creates collaborative and engaging experiences for our clients and their audiences. Our unique webcasting solution enables clients to stream live town halls and panel discussions with every employee in their entire organization – even while all speakers, staff, and production crews are working remotely. We integrate our webcasting technology with your existing video conference systems to overcome the limited capacities of Skype, Zoom, Webex and others.

If you would like to learn more about virtual events and high-quality broadcasts to large unlimited audiences, contact the live stream experts at Lime Crane. Our team offers a rare mix of high-level expertise in Video Streaming Technology, Video Production, and client relations that you will not find anywhere else.

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