If you have landed on this page, chances are that you will soon be planning a conference but aren’t sure what to choose between hosting a seminar versus a webinar. While many people strongly believe that virtual interactions will never equal in-person ones, the development in technology and the switch to remote work following the pandemic has shown that popularity of virtual events such as webinars has increased considerably and that they help companies and organizations to reach their goals.
So what is better between webinars vs seminars in order to help you reach your goals? Let’s start by explaining what they are.
The word webinar comes from the words web and seminar. A webinar is a virtual event held by organizations, companies, or individuals, in which participants can interact with each other by sharing knowledge about a topic, discussing shared interests, raising awareness, and promoting goods and services. Companies can use webinars as a strong marketing tool to reach and educate a global audience about their products and services, which can potentially lead to an increase in sales. Webinars are also an excellent tool to educate students on any particular topic as part of their curriculum.
A seminar is an in-person event that is aimed to gather and educate participants about a particular topic. Generally hosted by companies, organizations, and educational institutions, seminars can be events such as training courses, lectures, or panel discussions. Seminars can be used as a training tool by companies that wish for their employees to gain more knowledge to boost productivity. Seminars are also beneficial for participants who can feel inspired and motivated by the knowledge gained from guest speakers, and they can use what they learn during the seminar to implement it in their personal lives or careers.
While they are both great educational tools, webinars and seminars are not the same. The first difference is that a webinar is a type of virtual event whereas a seminar is held in-person. Because webinars are taking place online, they are a better marketing and promotion tool compared to seminars, as they allow companies to engage with a large audience from all around the world at the same time. Although they can both be used to share knowledge and to engage discussions about different topics, seminars are aimed at an internal audience, when on the other hand, webinars are intended for an external audience.
Webinars and seminars have a number of differences between them, including location, equipment, cost, presenters, and reach. We’ve covered the basics of each difference in a chart below!
If you’re choosing to host a seminar but don’t know if it should be virtual or in-person, there are a few things to consider. The first is to make sure you have plenty of staff ready during your seminar to help out any moment for an in-person event. To host an in-person event, you’ll also need the funds to not only pay for the venue, but also for any food services or travel accommodations. The accessibility to event analytics will also be limited compared to having an event through an experience hosting platform. However, if your audience prefers to interact in person and they value team building activities, hosting an in person seminar may be more beneficial.
Hosting a virtual webinar is always a good idea, especially if you want to save on costs that would arise if you hosted an in-person event. When you host a virtual webinar, one of the most important factors is ensuring you have enough engagement features to engage your guests. Look for a video hosting platform that includes features such as live chats, pools, and the opportunity to have breakout sessions for viewers. The reach you have when hosting a virtual webinar is another big benefit - with no venue capacity to worry about, your webinar can be broadcasted to viewers all over the world!
<span class="mid-size-title">1. Time Constraints</span>
With a seminar, your attendees have to make sure they’re at the venue at the correct time and place so they don’t miss out on any valuable information. With a webinar, you don’t have to worry about attendees not being able to show up- since it’s virtual, they can join from anywhere in the world!
<span class="mid-size-title">2. Cost-Effectiveness</span>
The cost of hosting a webinar is much less than the costs of hosting a seminar. With a webinar, the main costs you have to worry about are the hosting platform costs as well as equipment and guest speaker rates. Seminars, however, are more costly. You have to pay for not only the venue, but for any catering, possible travel expenses, and a team to film the seminar if it’s a hybrid event. An additional cost are the speakers you have at the event - they’ll need travel accommodations and more.
<span class="mid-size-title">3. Face to Face Learning</span>
In-person seminars are perfect for those attendees who learn better live at in-person events. Guests who live further away might find it more convenient to stream the event, so making your event hybrid is a great and safe option.
<span class="mid-size-title">4. Audience Analytics and Data Reports</span>
A difficulty you may find hosting an in-person seminar compared to holding one hybrid or fully virtual is collecting event analytics. With a hybrid or virtual event, the hosting platform you choose typically provides event and audience analytics. Having data backed reports from your event can help improve any future events you have as well.
<span class="mid-size-title">5. Team Engagement Activities</span>
A seminar is great if you want to have various team building activities in-person! Webinars aren’t without team building capabilities however; many hosting platforms have engagement features that encourage audience interaction, like live chats, breakout sessions, and gamification.
<span class="mid-size-title">6. Comfort</span>
Thanks to the transition of in-person events to virtual, comfortability is now a big factor in deciding whether to have a virtual or in-person event. People may have a preference now whether they want to attend an event that allows them to stay comfortable in their homes or go to a venue and attend in person.
<span class="mid-size-title">7. Networking</span>
A seminar allows attendees to create professional and personal connections face to face with other attendees or guest speakers. A webinar allows the same opportunity, but is limited to interactions through a screen. If you and your audience prefer in-person interactions, this is where a seminar would probably be the better option.
<span class="mid-size-title">8. Attention</span>
While a webinar has it’s benefits like comfortability and low cost, keeping guest’s attention is one virtual event aspect that can be hard to manage. Since people can join the event from all over, you never know what distractions they may face from wherever they are. At a seminar, it’s easier for people to keep their attention on the event content since it’s being presented first hand in person.
<span class="mid-size-title">9. Meeting Context</span>
There are differences between a seminar and webinar in terms of their contexts. With a seminar, it’s understood that people meet in-person at a specific venue to learn about a specific topic. With webinars, it’s understood that the event is taking place online and is fully virtual with people joining in from all over the world.
The best few years have shown us that anything can really be done virtually thanks to modern technology. We’ll cover some of the top benefits to holding a webinar:
<span class="mid-size-title">1. Monetization</span>
Webinars have plenty of monetization tactics. Including a unique link for every attendee as well as additional opportunities for monetization.
<span class="mid-size-title">2. More Inclusive</span>
Inclusivity is a big benefit of hosting a webinar. With the format of the event being virtual, it opens up the chance for anyone who would have limitations attending your event in-person to still attend.
<span class="mid-size-title">3. Easy Access</span>
Webinars make it easy for speakers with an extremely busy schedule to attend from wherever they are in the world. The price to have a guest speaker present at your webinar may even cost less from not having to worry about their travel costs.
There’s so much educational value to hosting virtual events no matter how big your audience is. If you’ve decided to make the move in hosting your very own virtual seminar or webinar, we can assist you! We’ve helped countless businesses hold virtual seminars and webinars for varying industries, and can help you tackle each step of the planning process. Reach out to one of our experts to begin the seminar or webinar process!