3 predictions for the future of virtual, hybrid and in-person events
23 May 2022
Spoiler alert: everybody is right!
For corporate communicators using events as part of their channel mix, the last couple of years have been a bit of a rollercoaster. Conferences, exhibitions, careers fairs etc have been buffeted first by Covid, then climate and now economic and security concerns. We’ve read a couple of apparently contradictory predictions on the subject which appear to all be true. Here’s our cipher for this decision spaghetti!
Prediction #1 – Face-to-face events are the future! – TRUE – many people have recently experienced their first face-to-face events and it’s reminded them of the power of in-person meetings. But this format, many planners predict, will remain the preserve of a corporate’s marquee events only. Maybe half of events will return in person with roughly half the attendance. So you’ll reach 25% of your audience this way compared to 2019.
Prediction #2 – Hybrid is the future! – TRUE – hybrid events have a cake-and-eat-it appeal. Want to avoid a large carbon footprint? Or give attendees a choice of in-person or virtual attendance? No problem. But unfortunately, the hybrid event as a format awaits a technology breakthrough to simplify delivery, achieve genuine interaction between in-room and on-line audiences at a reasonable cost. For now, the format remains the future… unless by hybrid we mean: ‘the VIPs attend in person, everyone else can watch the show via a camera at the back of the room’.
Prediction #3 – Virtual events are here to stay! – TRUE – while many are dissatisfied with current methods for delivery, virtual events will remain central to corporate communications and even grow in importance going forward. How else do we reach the 75% of audiences that no longer attend in person? Communicators are hampered by a lack of tools that can be approved by IT currently, but new approaches to creating studio-grade events which meet stringent security standards are around the corner.
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