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Simply put, event strategy is a company’s ability to develop a purposeful and data-informed events programme across all in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. Event strategy is the roadmap to what a company hopes to achieve with their meetings and events and how one would go about achieving that success.
It is vitally important to select the right event type dependent on a company’s event strategy. Every event type should have a primary purpose, event goals, and objectives. If the event professional understands the purpose of the event, it will lead to better event planning and proper allocation of time and money. By focusing on these important factors, one can create a blueprint for an event that will help ensure its success.
Different Types of Events: An Overview
Different event types allow companies to focus and accomplish different things depending on a number of different factors—including event size, budget, timeline, and the location of attendees. Traditionally, live in-person events have been the best way to accomplish these goals but each event approach provides its own unique benefits.
- In-Person – All attendees are physically present in one location. The most effective form of communication and experience.
- Virtual – People attend the event entirely online, faster turnaround, lower cost, broader reach.
- Hybrid – Some people attend in person, others online. Flexibility to reach the greatest number of attendees
Allowing attendees to participate from wherever they are in the world – either in-person or online – offers everyone flexibility and most importantly the convenience of attending. However, even though virtual events are quick, convenient and easy, attendees lose the opportunity to interact with other attendees or the presenters. This can impact the turnout of an event as well as how the event is received.
Though technology has come a long way allowing companies to host virtual and hybrid events, these event formats still lack the in-person touch of physically talking to someone standing right in front of you.
It’s just not quite the same when you’re staring at a screen from the comforts of your own home. In the comforts of your own home people can get distracted, there can be technical issues and for longer events keeping people’s attention for long periods of time online is challenging. This is why it’s recommended to keep virtual events under ninety minutes if at all possible.
Virtual Events: Harnessing the Digital Space
Clients often choose virtual events because resources such as time and money may be at a premium. Virtual events can be deployed quickly with a significant cost reduction. Popular uses of virtual events include webinars, live streams, virtual trade shows, online classes, online tours and company events. All while using technology specifically designed to replicate the event experience online. There is a competitive market of companies offering virtual event software, all offering unique features and advantages such as;
- Breakout spaces for networking
- Live streaming
- Q&A sessions
- Virtual meetups
- Virtual booths
- Workshop facilitation
While a digital event lacks that face-to-face connection, the best virtual event platforms help a company recreate that atmosphere — and allow people to join from wherever they are in the world. This technology opens up an event to so many more people and gives them an immersive experience.
Different types of events need to be analysed from all angles. Each type comes with advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the cons of hosting a virtual event;
Harder to Hold Attendees’ Attention
It can be challenging for event hosts to provide content that keeps people focused. That’s not necessarily the fault of either the hosts or the people who are actually providing content. Anyone who’s attending at home will have moments where they need to step away.
No Face-to-Face Interactions
Even though there can be Zoom conferences, chat rooms, and other digital replacements available at an event, these stand-ins won’t replace the ability to hold a conversation face to face. Online there is a disconnect between those trying to have a conversation, not to mention the possibility of technical issues such as poor audio and video interfering even more with the ability to just have a conversation.
No After-Hours Networking Opportunities
Sometimes people make connections during an event and then continue a discussion or a conversation with a group of people after an event, such a thing is easily done in person. Online provides just that extra hurdle to get over when it comes to continuing these networking opportunities.
Lose the Experience of Attending an Event
At live events, networking is often partly planned, but much of it is organic. Part of the fun of the event is walking the exhibit halls, seeing who you bump into and catching up with friends you only see at events. Online events can sometimes lack that sense of wonder, sense of exploring what’s new and what’s currently making a statement within the industry.
But even though there are a number of disadvantages of hosting a virtual event, there are an equal number of advantages and benefits that could help overlook some of the possible downsides of a virtual event. Advantages such as:
Costs are Significantly Reduced
With no need for a venue and staff, attendee travel and accommodation, food and beverage and event materials, the costs of hosting an event online are dramatically reduced. The only real cost for hosting a virtual event will be the online meeting platform and any associated marketing costs.
Reach a Greater Audience
As long as participants have a mobile device or computer and internet connectivity, they can join from anywhere in the world. This makes virtual events very easy to attend resulting in a much higher attendance rate and larger global reach.
Easier to Manage and Organise
Much of the stress of organising an event comes from the need to find the perfect venue with affordable rent, the investment in preparing all the materials that will be delivered during the event.
Easy to Measure Results
A virtual event doesn’t just make it easier to provide information, it also makes it easier to get information. Resulting in some powerful data collection and analytic opportunities.
Hybrid Events: Blending the Best of Both Worlds
Hybrid events are the best of both worlds, a combination of in-person and virtual elements. Some of the participants are able to attend face-to-face while others are “brought in virtually”, thus adding to the benefit of the overall interaction. Hybrid events have certainly gained traction in the last 5-10 years, and since the pandemic, they are even more popular. But just like virtual events they suffer with similar disadvantages.
Additional Coordination and Engagement Requirements
One has to consider the customer experience for both types of attendees, and give both a fulfilling experience. With a hybrid event one has the challenge of managing not only an in-person event but also the virtual side of things, adding to the overall workload.
Due to connectivity issues, virtual participants are not able to get the complete experience. As a result, this demotivates the attendees connecting online, as it disrupts their experience considerably.
Hybrid events involve significant involvement and planning for both in-person and virtual attendance may cost approximately 20% more. While it is possible to be cost-effective with hybrid events, companies will want to be mindful of how quickly expenses can add up.
Hybrid events may create a comparison between the two audience experiences, and if not done well, could make one or the other feel neglected or excluded.
Even with the downfalls, these hybrid events are deeply enriched by growth related to remote work, video conferencing, and virtual platforms. Growth that has shown a number of substantial benefits.
Increased Scale and Reach
With the inclusion of digital attendees in hybrid events, the scale of an event has virtually no limit. Similarly, mixed events also have a new scale and reach capacity.
Easier Access to Data and Insights
With hybrid event technology, you can collect valuable data and insights from in-person and remote attendees. For example, both remote and in-person attendees can leave feedback via polls and surveys integrated with a mobile event app.
Build Stronger Attendee Communities
Hybrid events can foster professional matchmaking and networking across both virtual and in-person attendee groups. Regardless of how people choose to attend your event, choosing the right technology solutions encourages long-term community building.
Better Sponsorship Opportunities
Hybrid events are enormously valuable for sponsors because of their increased reach. Also, sponsors may themselves have the opportunity to participate remotely by setting up virtual event booths and giving presentations via video conference.
In-Person Events: The Traditional Approach
Within the events sector, there has been a significant amount of change over the previous year or so. However even with the rise of virtual and hybrid events, the importance and undefinable benefits of In-person events still shine through. In-person events are all about human connection. They’re a chance for people to come together face-to-face, interact, network, learn, and share experiences. While technology has made remote interactions more accessible, nothing compares to being in the same room. At in-person events, you can make eye contact, pick up on body language and tone, shake hands, and truly engage with others. But it’s not all plain sailing. Running events in person is no longer the same. It presents old and new challenges.
The most common costs for running a live event include venue hire, catering, technology and audio-visual equipment, staff labour and travel, and marketing and advertising expenses. All these factors can add up quickly, increasing the overall cost of running the event.
Limitations on Audience Size
The size of a venue can limit the number of attendees and although one might assume that a larger group would generate more interest in the gathering, large numbers of attendees can reduce participants’ engagement levels due to insufficient resources available at the venue.
Attendees have limited time and money to attend an event, especially if it involves travel. Not everyone has the resources to travel.
In-person events don’t always allow for accurate attendee data collection from conversations, and are limited to those who physically were able to attend the event.
Even with the negatives, In-person events got companies and businesses by in the past, and they still have numerous benefits till this day.
Creates an Avenue for Networking
In-person events provide an opportunity for businesses to network with potential customers, clients, and partners. These events allow business representatives to interact face-to-face, build relationships, and establish trust with others in their industry. There is a certain trust factor that you can provide if your brand or company is more tangible than just being visible through an online platform.
Better Engagement Over Online Events
Face-to-face interactions provide a stronger emotional connection for people involved in the event. Compared to virtual events, it’s easy to feel disconnected when facing a screen as you only see part of the person. You won’t see body language, facial expressions, or non-verbal cues in a virtual setting.
Offer Sponsorship Opportunities
Businesses may support physical events through networking, brand ambassadors, customised products, and physical advertisements. Sponsorship benefits attendees as well since it allows them to network with companies.
One of the main benefits of in-person events is the chance to talk to and network with other attendees. The perfect environment for networking, keeping up with old friends and acquaintances, meeting colleagues in your industry, and finding new opportunities for your career or personal life is provided by In-person events.
Types of Corporate Events: Tailoring to Your Business Needs
Corporate events are an effective way for companies to engage with employees or customers. They can have various purposes, from announcing important changes to creating networking opportunities. Here are some of the popular types of corporate events:
The primary purpose of a conference is to connect with target audiences and give them relevant information, usually to educate or motivate them.
Product launches are corporate events to announce a company’s new product or service.
The main purpose of a trade show is usually to connect companies with potential customers.
Some companies choose to host celebratory events for various milestones or anniversaries.
Companies organise team-building activities to improve employee morale and collaboration.
Some of these events lend themselves to certain event types (in-person, virtual, hybrid). Depending on the reach of the company, a virtual event might better suit a quick celebration of a company milestone. On the other hand, most team-building activities occur outdoors, usually in natural surroundings and organised by specialised companies.
In conclusion, make sure that your goal for the event will transfer well regardless of the format and assess the event strategy continually.
The Eventscase platform helps event organisers manage corporate events, conferences, and trade shows, whether large, small, in-person, hybrid, or virtual. No technical skill is required at all. Anyone can create beautiful event websites, registrations, badges, perform check-ins, event apps, 1:1 meetings and more. Everything under the brand and domain of your company can be implemented with an Eventscase whitelabelled platform.
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