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Decoding the Value of Virtual Events – Top Insights from Industry Experts

The true value of virtual events and the predicted evolution of their physical counterparts were the overarching discussions at Engage Virtual and Event Tech Live this year. Here, we take a look at the key insights shared on the virtual stage by the event industry experts, influencers and leaders.

Virtual is still evolving, more efforts needed for transaction-based events

Since the advent of virtual events, questions have persisted over the real value they bring. Mykyta Fastovets, CTO at ExpoPlatform addressed the same by saying, “One of the key things we are still finding out is the format that generates value for everyone. Before we discuss additional revenue, we need to dig down on what value we are providing to exhibitors.” 

EasyFairs’s Head of Technology and Digital transformation, Stephan Forseilles, chimed in with an interesting observation, “The best ones are centred around content. We haven’t received a lot of positive feedback from online trade shows as the experience is not compelling enough.” 

These views were also echoed by UFI’s European Regional Manager Nick Dugdale-Moore, who stated, “You ultimately can’t do business via Zoom. Perhaps with the exception of content-based events, the value of exhibitors and customers is better served by live events.” 

There’s a need to provide real value to audience at virtual events

Tarsus’s Group Marketing Director Stuart Ledden highlighted the need of creating vital monetisation opportunities. “It’s important to meet our customers’ objectives, like selling lead-generation packages, education packages and creating revenue streams around multi-touch points. Generating analytics through digital platforms can become a new monetisation strategy,” said Stuart.

Stressing the importance of highly personalised event journeys, MBB-Consulting Group’s founder Matthias Baur said, “Create a series of multiple events that do different things – some might be about selecting products, others around different goals like networking, generating leads etc. Once you include the wow factor of personalisation and create a sense of FOMO [Fear Of Missing Out], then the money will follow.

Virtual events to complement in-person ones in the future

The industry experts unanimously agreed that virtual events would not entirely replace in-person events in the future, but complement them. “I really see hybrid events as an extension of live events. I think it works much better both for the organiser and for the exhibitor, as one can expand their brand visibility to a global audience and cater to live business opportunities at the same time,” said Stephan. 

As we shift from online into hybrid, the good things attained during COVID times will remain and we will have a compelling reason for why exhibitors and visitors should be back on your platform,” added Mykyta.

Event technology needs to play a crucial role

The industry experts also recognised the critical role event technology providers play in shaping the industry for the foreseeable future. “We have been able to host some big trade shows on our platform and experienced success in terms of both engagement and ROI. Capturing and analysing data is easier online and it helps us understand the success metrics in order to make recommendations to event organisers,” concluded Mykyta by sharing his experience of helping organisers host multiple online exhibitions throughout the year.