Virtual is not working…

As the world reopens, pent up demand for in-person meetings is driving a wave of change. For virtual events, there is a slump in attendance and ROI is dwindling. Why? What can we do about it?
Vaibhav Jain
August 15, 2022

Ever since our species first set foot on earth, events have been at the center of our evolutionary story. Homo sapiens used to sit around the fire (the first event we experienced?), sharing knowledge for hundreds of thousands of years. Our need to flock to a place to gather and learn has taken different forms depending on the state of the world.

Pensive event marketer

The state of flux in the events industry in the last two years was driven by a market demand to pivot to virtual. Needless to say, the COVID pandemic and its impact played a major role in the pivot. It was hard, but we learned a new way of delivering content and building relationships.

Even though the virtual format wasn’t new, fast evolving event tech provided new opportunities. With Hubilo, we enabled virtual experiences that delivered ROI that
was setting a high bar. The benefits of virtual events seemed to be scalable.

Virtual was then. What about now? 

The world is reopening. The pent up demand for in-person meetings is driving a new wave of change. In-person and hybrid events are in demand, while virtual events are struggling. The slump in attendance and dwindling ROI is a challenge in purely virtual events.

 At Hubilo we wanted to understand the reasons behind the shift at a deeper level. We did a pulse check of 350+ event planners and CXOs and we uncovered key challenges to address. 

Virtual by the numbers

On the bright side, 8 out of 10 event organizers said virtual events are here to stay, so the need is being validated.

8:10 event organizers say virtual's here to stay

But 40% of them mentioned how audience engagement is their primary challenge. Out of our respondents, 20% highlighted the trend of low attendance and high drop-off rates after registration. It’s no surprise that the resulting ROI for sponsors and exhibitors isn't looking great.

How do we solve challenges with virtual? 

So are virtual events just a glorified version of webinars? Should you put to rest any expectations of driving greater attendance and engagement?

The answer depends on the approach we all take. If virtual events continue to increase our overall fatigue and dependence on the good old live chat for engagement, then yes, it's a futile endeavor. 

But if we learn to deliver captivating experiences that are format agnostic, we have a chance to elevate the level of expectations. So can technology partners rise to the occasion and partner with you to bring your imaginations to life?

For me and my team at Hubilo, the answer is a resounding YES! We have been listening to our community of customers and partners, more closely than ever. Virtual and hybrid events are still going to make up a huge portion of event formats in 2022 and beyond.

global make-up of events

We’re optimistic about the future, just like our beloved #eventprofs community. We have an exciting array of product updates that will empower you to trigger infectious energy and an immersive experience. We are releasing these updates to enable deeper engagement, not just between the attendee and your brand, but between people.

At the start of this blog, I made a declaration that "Virtual is not working" and asked the key question for us and for the events industry at large: "What can we do about it? I can’t wait until we answer the question - when we unveil the latest version of Hubilo: built for engagement, excitement, and so much more. No matter whether it’s a conference, trade-show, or a town hall - we continue to make Hubilo a platform that is built for you.

Join us on October 20th for NEXT, Hubilo's answer to these important questions. It’s free to register here.

Vaibhav Jain

Vaibhav is the CEO and Founder of the leading global event technology company, Hubilo. Under his leadership, Hubilo pivoted from $0 to a million-dollar company in less than a year and raised over $150M of funding from renowned global venture capitalists. Vaibhav is a computer graduate from Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA- IICT), with ten years of marketing, operations, finance, and sales expertise in the Information Technology sector.

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