The Future of Virtual Events: Are they here to stay?
Looking back on the past year, it is bonkers to think about how much the pandemic changed our lives from grocery shopping to even dating. Some aspects of the “new normal” are bound to stick around (ahem…virtual events). Work from home is now a practice many businesses are encouraging, mask-wearing in crowded settings isn’t going away quite yet, and businesses continue to utilize technology to avoid commonly touched surfaces such as menus. Post-pandemic life is coming up fast, ladies and gents, and it is going to look different than the life we left back in 2020.
A ton of new practices have formed since March of last year. What will stay and what will go? This brings us to today’s topic: virtual events. Are they the new go-to method of hosting gatherings or will they become a pandemic-only practice? At Think Media Studios, we are no stranger to hosting both in-person AND virtual events. We have been streaming video content for upwards of 15 years, way before the pandemic came into the picture.
The pandemic reshaped how we think about events and streaming, but will that last forever? We think, yes, to an extent.
Pre-pandemic, TMS founder Brian Glazen held many events that attracted large audiences. Before 2020 rattled our lives, one of his events, The FEST, which is a family friendly music festival, typically brought in 55,000 attendees each year. When COVID hit, the appeal of hosting virtual events grew. With this in mind, The FEST opted to host a virtual event for summer 2020. This choice allowed visitors from all over the world to attend instead of just those local to Ohio. In total, 185,000 unique visitors from states across the country were able to attend. That’s a HUGE increase in attendees and an even bigger increase in possibilities for the future. Because of the success of last year, this year, The FEST will be both in-person and live-streamed virtually for anyone to attend.
“We have had eight regular clients this past year that needed to convert their live business events to virtual events. Of those, they all have found a new and hybrid method of moving forward in the future”, says Brian Glazen.
Virtual Events are Here to Stay
Many companies, brands, event planners, and average Joes now recognize the importance of having virtual options. By hosting events both virtually and in person, anyone who wants to attend can do so. Your event can now have locals from Ohio and visitors from China, Mexico, France, really anywhere! This not only increases attendance, but gives people from all over a chance to learn more about your company.
We here at Think Media Studios believe that hybrid-style events will be the way of the future. There are a ton of pros to hosting events in this way. For starters, you can double or triple your event attendance just by offering a virtual option! On top of that, it also gives attendees more options. If you can attend an event virtually, you do not need to worry about hotel costs, travel time, parking, and all the other hassles that come with attending events. On the flip side, continuing to offer an in-person option gives those who want to interact with speakers or participate in activities directly can do so. It truly is a win-win scenario!