The Evolving Landscape of Events for #Eventprofs: The Rise of Virtual and Hybrid Events

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COVID created a shock in the events industry. In-person events stopped and virtual events became dominant. New virtual event platforms grew quickly and many pundits were quick to say the world had changed for ever. Not so fast! Now that the in-person event industry is back, many are abandoning virtual events. The virtual event tech industry has faced headwinds and people are trying to understand if hybrid events are the future.

To understand these dynamics, Gather Voices asked leading event industry experts for their perspective, offering a glimpse into the evolving landscape of events. Here's what these professionals had to say:

Dianne Devitt, owner of Dianne Devitt, LLC and with over 30 years in the industry, states, "It is a choice to make. It is something the planner needs to define in terms of objectives and goals, and a set of parameters and criteria with her stakeholder, the protocol of how and when to use both virtual and hybrid events will continue to grow just like protocol with our devices continue to grow vibrators, silencing all these different noises and interruptions because the value of in person and face to face will continue to escalate as these tools are expanded."

This viewpoint highlights the enduring relevance of virtual events, provided they are planned with clear objectives and goals.

Kimberly Hardcastle, President of mdg, a Freeman company, states, "Online events can be an extremely convenient, efficient way for attendees to access educational content. But in-person learning can be engaging, inspirational, and entertaining.”

This duality suggests that the future of events lies in leveraging the strengths of both formats.

Eric Rozenberg, President of Event Business Formula, believes, "Virtual events are not dead at all... (but) there is nothing that can replace the engagement in the hall in the trade show, the serendipity of the conversation.”

This comment underscores the unique benefits of each format and the potential for hybrid events to offer the best of both worlds.

Megan Martin, Director of Events and Partnerships at Sessionboard, reflects, "I think they have a different meaning and a different purpose than when we initially started thinking about them. And I don't think we're utilizing them as an industry to their capacity when we could be making great strides with digital and hybrid formats.”

Her observation speaks to the need for innovation and experimentation in event planning.

Shelly Williams, Director of Sales at Hard Rock Hotels, states, "Hybrid events are still relevant... the cost of doing a hybrid event or even a virtual event has probably made people take a look at the ROI, whether the engagement truly is there.”

This perspective highlights the practical aspects of choosing event formats based on their potential to deliver value.

Vinnu Deshetty, CEO and Founder of EVA remarks, "What an exciting time for our events industry. There's so much happening in the tech world that's really changing the way we do events... This is a period for learning and sharing and just exciting things to come."

Her enthusiasm for the technological advancements influencing event strategies encapsulates the sentiment of embracing change and innovation to engage audiences effectively.

The consensus among experts suggests that neither virtual nor hybrid events are fading away. Instead, they are being reimagined and repurposed to meet the changing demands of audiences and the capabilities of new technologies. As the industry continues to navigate these changes, the insights from these professionals offer valuable guidance on maximizing the efficiency and engagement of event marketing strategies.

To hear the full answers of the experts we featured, click the image above or access the full gallery here.

At Gather Voices, we believe in the power of video to capture and share these evolving experiences, making it simpler for organizations to engage their audiences in meaningful ways. Explore how our solutions can enhance your next virtual, hybrid or in-person event. Schedule a demo today.

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