As businesses start to open up in the US, a new question has emerged: will events be virtual versus In-person this year? Will they have the same ROI as before? Which should we invest our time and efforts in? Well, here is a study to shed some light on the topic. Read on…

People Who Love People

As Babs used to sing, these are the luckiest people in the world and they have spoken. People want to see each other in-person. In fact 72% prefer it to virtual events. And here’s why: the networking is better, the body language adds to their experience and they prefer in-person demos of products and services versus watching them on the screen. Who can blame them.

Compromised Learning

A Community College Research suggested that virtual students were less likely to finish their courses and that the drop out rate for students who attended virtually versus in-person were higher. There, the conclusion is that the learning at a virtual event might not be as good as an in-person one. What this says for my poor 11-year old who has been subjected to yet another lockdown and zoom-learning, I’m not sure!

Nobody Wants To Pay

Yet another problem with virtual events is that people don’t as much value. In fact, attendees are balking at paying anything higher than $100 (35% of the audience) or more than $200 (45% of the audience who were asked). Most of the reason for this is reluctance to pay is that people don’t see the costs involved in a virtual event. It’s much easier to be bowled over by a gorgeous venue and the lavish meals at events, after all. The other issue is that virtual events are competing with countless free webinars that are designed to sell programs and products. Nobody wants to be sold to at a conference they’re paying to watch. Lastly, the biggest reason for not wanting to pay is that there’s no real networking going on virtually. Yes, I’ve been to many who have tried but it truly never worked as well in converting to high ticket clients for me.

Keep It Short Shorty

Virtual event attendees can only stomach an event for 1-2 hours. This is in sharp contrast to when people used to travel, sometimes with their whole teams, to an event destination. When you put your ‘out of office’ sign on and pack a suitcase, you don’t mind sticking around for more than a few hours.

Live Is Best

Lastly, when event attendees were asked if they preferred to have a live virtual event versus a recorded one, surprisingly these busy people said that they preferred live. A close second was the option to have both live and recorded virtual events.

The moral of this research is that live events aren’t going away. As soon as it’s safe to emerge, they’re going to be on the radars of every business. In the meantime, keep the learnings in this study for your virtual or hybrid events in mind and let’s all do the best we can to navigate the ‘new normal’.

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