23 Mar 2020 | by Anthony Kelly

There is no denying that there's something particularly special about attending a live event or conference. The experience of a new environment, the buzz that emanates from the humdrum of participants as they build their networks and share knowledge, the silence that falls upon a packed audience as they hold onto every word of their keynote speaker and the brand noise that is created as participants snap pics and share across their social media accounts.

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All these aspects and more, make live events one of the top marketing and communications channels for both internal and external audiences. However, there are a whole host of reasons that can make a live event or conference a challenge that is not worth the risk.

Recently, we have seen examples of events being cancelled due to external factors. But there is a solution. Virtual events are becoming increasingly popular as businesses and brands still wish to leverage the power of a group communicating simultaneously on a wide scale, whilst mitigating the challenges that can be faced by live events.

1. Travel restrictions

Several factors can impact travel, from internal business policies, budget restrictions, political situations to natural occurrences and disasters (flashback to the Icelandic volcano eruption). If you know that a portion of participants will be impacted or that it is a safer option for all participants, it may be worthwhile exploring the option of hosting a virtual event.

2. Cost savings

Although we recommend that events and communications should always be viewed as an investment as opposed to a cost, there are often occasions where removing the need for participants to travel large distances, stay in hotel rooms or have their taxis or food drinks covered by expenses could allow funds to be diverted elsewhere. With a virtual event, a smaller team is required to organise the broadcast itself, and participants may not even need to leave their place of work.

3. Attracting a global audience

Getting everyone to a single location is a big ask, with varying time zones, targets and costs for different divisions or international offices. This is where having the benefit of instantaneous video broadcasting over high-speed internet can alleviate the woes of trying to get Vancouver and Venice in the same room. Additionally, if you’re trying to launch, sell or demonstrate something, the people 12 hours ahead of you can simply log on from their living room, rather than miss an event that would be prohibitively expensive or take them out of the office for too long.

4. Sustainability

Organisations are under consistent scrutiny when it comes to reducing waste and lowering carbon emissions, with some even measured on their travel and energy expenditure. By removing the need to fly, take the train or drive and then stay in a hotel room or visit a gigantic events space; smart organisations can offset their carbon footprint against their lack of event attendance. This also works for organisations who are hosting the event too.

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Despite these advantages, virtual events don’t come down to either/ or. There are still benefits to turning your live event into a virtual one and hosting a smaller event for more important stakeholders or taking a virtual event and making it into a much larger, less frequent event (think company anniversaries, big announcements, major product launches).

The key thing to remember is that at Penguins, we’re used to delivering large and small virtual events with short lead times that leverage our extensive events experience, access to state-of-the-art digital broadcasting technology and completely in-house delivery at our multi-studio complex in the UK. Oh, and we’ll customise your event completely to your requirements. We do say anything’s possible after all...

Anthony Kelly

By Anthony Kelly

Anthony began his marketing career back in 2008 after studying business management & marketing at the University of Stirling. He joined the events and incentive travel industry in 2015 after spending a number of years in the engineering, oil & gas and transport & logistics industries.More articles by Anthony Kelly