In Person vs Virtual Events: No Contest

In Person vs Virtual Events: No Contest

Imagine that you are a rock star. You have made a fortune, which has come from many sources, from performing at live events to selling countless records, CDs or downloads and from being paid to appear on TV shows. Whenever there was an opportunity to bring your music to your fans, you did just that. You were lucky, your management team understood what to do as the world changed and moved on. They were your guiding light and you trusted them.  And of course, they were also paid for their efforts.

But what would have happened if your management team hadn’t been doing their job quite so well? For example, they decided that you should only do live gigs and your income was based on that one source. Well, you would be missing all sorts of opportunities to connect with your fans.

In our analogy, the management team are basically the event organising team and the rock star is their client.  I am sure you spotted that already. So how does this example apply to event professionals and the world they work in?

It applies because we have a complete mix of event professionals and how they use events. Some would be mortified to consider doing anything other than an in-person (traditional) live event. Whereas, other planners use all the event options and techniques at their disposal to help their clients achieve their event objectives.

Whilst it is healthy to have differing views as that leads to greater choice for clients, it is not good to say that one type is always better than another. This is dangerous thinking. To create such a binary argument is not helpful. To develop a contest mentality is not useful.

In fact, there is no contest. And there shouldn’t be. Each event type has a job to do.

Depending on what a client needs will determine what event option is best. At a traditional in-person ‘live’ event, attendees and other stakeholders are physically in the same space. For a virtual event, people log on and participate from wherever they happen to be. The hybrid option combines both the ‘in-person’ attendees with remote delegates who attend via a web-link.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, virtual events are playing a key part. They are prominent and rightly so because they enable events to happen even though delegates are unable to travel and meet. This demonstrates their value.

When the lockdowns are over, live events and hybrid events will come to the fore once again. However, that doesn’t mean to say that virtual events can then be discarded. All event types will continue to play their part long after the pandemic crisis is over.

The organising team that uses everything in their armoury to help their client and understands that there is no contest between event types, will truly turn out to be the real rock stars in the end.


This blog was written by Paul Cook, Events Content Writer, Hybrid and Virtual Events Producer. Paul is currently writing a series of blogs on virtual events for the IBTM blog over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for more excellent content from him.

In the meantime, why not visit our virtual resource hub, IBTM Connect? We created this with the event attendee in mind as a way to connect to the events industry virtually during this uncertain time. It’s packed with on-demand videos, blogs, industry updates, and webinars on a variety of different topics.

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