Pros and Cons of Virtual Events, Conferences and Webinars
"Necessity is the mother of invention", this proverb couldn’t be more useful in a situation like this. The global pandemic has driven every organization and enterprise to switch to new methods (or rarely used) of conducting business. Virtual Events and Conferences are the first choices for every corporate sector since we are prohibited from traveling, work, or even move out of our humble abode. These pros and Cons of Virtual Events and Conferences evaluate the overall impact on society, the economy, and our lifestyle.
Let's talk About Recent Virtual Events in 2020
Given that Virtual Events are the solution to many challenges faced due to COVID-19, significant events took place in the safest possible environment in 2020. Be it the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm and Oslo or the 72nd Emmy Awards; the ceremonies were streamed globally. Now let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of hosting an event online and paint the picture assessing the overall impact.
The Pros of Virtual Events
With many of 2020's industry events, big and small, being canceled or postponed, organizations have found another simplified method to conduct seminars and meetings. Webinars and live virtual events have gone common these days. This discussion brings us to look into the Pros of Hosting Virtual Events and gives us reasons how Virtual conferences and webinars can be helpful to small businesses.
1. Time and Cost-Efficient
Mail your colleagues the details to the event and connect to your team anywhere within moments; this is probably one of the commendable Pros of Online Events. Forget about the cost incurred in traveling, commuting, or even prepping up for the event hours before it starts. The accommodation comes as the next to our concerns.
Not only is a Virtual event cost-efficient option for organizers, but it’s also the most suitable option for attendees in terms of time and expenses. As an organizer, you won’t have to bother about planning and management resources. Therefore, hosting a virtual event is the go-to option in terms of increasing revenue and decreasing cost.
2. Sustainability -The best advantage of Virtual Events
How come virtual events help the ecosystem? Well, check the HR’s list of consumables, refreshments, and toiletries; the aftermath of every live event is the housekeeping staff dealing with the residue adds more to environmental concerns since you got to dispatch the garbage someplace. All of this directly or indirectly hurts the environment. As an organizer, conducting a live event benefits you in every aspect, from cost to saving the environment.
Additionally, a virtual event will lead to zero pollution or carbon footprints compared to a live event. Attendees won’t have to cover the considerable distance as they can participate from their home in just a few clicks. Be it a drop in the ocean, but your organization will contribute towards a better environment.
3. Forget About Traffic Excuses
By participating in a virtual event means, there are fewer chances for participants to miss it. Either they’ll have to attend it or come up with a perfect excuse other than getting stuck in traffic. Another possible benefit of conducting a webinar/virtual meeting is that businesspersons who have to attend an event will be there despite the exceptional circumstances. There is no chance you will miss a virtual conference just because your flight canceled, your city got struck by a hailstorm, or your car broke down in the midway.
4. Virtual Events are easiest to plan
Think about an emergency meeting, notify your colleagues and seniors via email, send another CC to your subordinates. Call them up to connect live through an internet line the following mornings. That’s how long it literally takes to plan a virtual meeting. That’s a better alternative to arranging a meet at your office’s conference room and spend hours or even days before the event.
5. Maximum Attendance
Online conferences and online events are another great way to ensure your employees are attending it. You can track your employees’ attendance and thank video conferencing tools like Zoom and Skype. Every video conferencing tool lets you arrange an online meeting for a specific number of members. Moreover, some tools offer advanced level tracking analytics allowing you to detect how many users have muted or how many are absent.
Cons of Virtual Events- The downside of Webinars and Online Conference
Virtual meetings seem to benefit every business organization in every possible aspect. Where there are pros, there are some cons to virtual events too. And since this research dives into the matter, there are some downsides of virtual and webinars worth mentioning. Here are some challenges you may come across while planning one.
1. The Human factor seems missing
You can’t overlook that virtual events are less personal and give you less freedom to interact personally with your audience. Connecting with people and connecting to people means different. However, given the ongoing crisis and travel restrictions, we think of conducting webinars and virtual events as the safest yet feasible option so far.
2. No Post-event brainstorm
Most virtual events are scheduled for a specific period. Let’s say, if your virtual meeting is from 10:00 to 13:00 hours, you’ll log off from the session as soon as the clock hits 13:00. Unlike a live seminar or conference, people have more time to interact and brainstorm on the concerned matter; however, in a Virtual Event, chances to discuss post-event measures or reviews are almost equal to none.
3. Time Zone Conflicts
Yes, Time zone conflict is one of the most dreaded disadvantages of live events. If you are connecting from your Melbourne office to your team based in New York, you can imagine the pain of getting up early or staying awake at night. One of two such virtual meetings would mess up your routine. That’s why, as an event organizer, your primary focus should be arranging an event, conference, or meeting at a timing that balances the time zones fairly. This does take a lot of legwork and time.
4. The "Wow" Factor Can Be Hard to Replicate
People go to industry events for a range of reasons—to make new contacts, close sales, learn. For many people, another part of it is the excitement of seeing what’s new and what’s making a splash in their industry. It’s the wow factor of a new product that everyone’s talking about or an amazing new exhibit feature that’s on everyone’s must-see list. Online events can sometimes lack that sense of wonder. There’s a difference between seeing LG Global’s video wall in person at CES 2019 and seeing it on YouTube.
But it’s not all bad. There’s a flip side, thanks to virtual technology—and the chance to turn this con into a pro.
5. Lack of Business Opportunities
Real-time conferences and seminars are commonplace for business organizations to crack new business deals and make potential clients. These places are where representatives from reputed companies network and socialize with each other. If you have attended at least one such event, then you can spot the sheer difference between a Virtual event and the actual event.
More networking means an extended friends circle, more business opportunities, and the possibility to generate leads. For some professional friends, in-person meetings are a way to strengthen their friendship.
What's Next is still a question
It’s challenging to give the final say on whether the pros of virtual events outweigh the cons or not. However, the disadvantages of virtual events and conference are not going to stay forever, a big concern for the events industry. With live streams, webinars, and conferencing going more common these days, professionals will get used to the latest trend. The day will come when organizers have to think about audience-engagement, cost-efficiency, and project requirements.