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Live in-person events vs virtual or hybrid events

There is a huge amount of uncertainty around live events and virtual events currently, lets face it, both options have created a lot of controversy and stigma, but the two are worlds apart in regards to what they offer the end user and what message or goal you are trying to achieve. 

Let’s break it down…

Who is your audience
First of all, who is your audience? Do they know each other? Or have they never met before? What do you think will engage them more seeing each other on Zoom or Face to Face? Online platforms such as Zoom are great and come free of charge up to a limit of people and time, then you need to pay a fee, more than likely it will cost less than hiring a venue. 

Plans for live day
Think about what you want to achieve from the day, do you want everyone to network? Share ideas and stories?  

You will find it tricky to do so virtually with more than 20 people unless you have an expert team helping you break it up and engage with them all both independently or as a group. 

Do you need your teams to break out into rooms for activities?  

You can do this online but it can get messy and complicated if you’re not well versed in managing this, at a venue you need to think about the costs of these extra rooms, but you could also utilise the space you already have in your meeting room.  

Is there a particular message you want to send, an image you wish to portray?  

These things are really important to consider when you are deciding whether to run a virtual, hybrid or in-person event. 

Your budget
Then you would start to think about your budget, so although online platforms are free or charge a fee for numbers, you will more than likely need to have some event technical support that you will need to source out of house unless you already have a Digital team in house.  

The right event Support
You will need someone to run that event for you, make sure all the attendees are accepted into the room, set up break outs, timing, recording, resolve any technical issues – chances are you may well get them it happens on most virtual events. You may not know of them when you have personally been online but that’s because there is a technical support team behind the scenes making the event run seamlessly.  

Remember if you have screens and slides to share depending on what device the user is watching from it could obscure their view of what you are sharing on screen with them. 

Room hire fees and inclusions
Venues charge room hire prices, always make sure that that AV is included within the price as you will most than likely need this for your event.  If it’s a hybrid event – how is the venues connectivity for live broadcasts and do they have a facility to house this in their venue or will this be an additional cost. 

With venue hire you will need to think about if you wanted to pay for refreshments or lunch? The beauty of online events is that it cuts that cost out straight away, as they will have their own at home, even if you opt to send them a kit out chances are it will be a faction of the cost 

Event logistics
The logistics of your event, have you thought about travel? Is there parking available? Do people need overnight accommodation?  – will you have to pay for this as part of your budget.  

One of the most important aspects of running a live event from an Events Agency perspective is… Atmosphere.  

You cannot buy the true natural atmosphere that a venue full of people can give you, the vibes and energy that people bring is something you will never get virtually.  

From the moment you walk through the doors of your venue the atmosphere comes alive and that is what people talk about and want more of, from the scent of the room, the dynamics, to the way the room is laid out, where people choose to sit and who they choose to talk to.  It’s all one huge factor to consider and one we think is very important.  

Although Sheer Edge believe in Virtual and Hybrid events, we have seen how they can work well on numerous occasions, we have lived and breathed all things Virtual for the past 18 months, however, we feel although virtual and hybrid events will be around to stay, those types of events will never take over from live in person events.  

Virtual events have undoubtedly created opportunities for some of our clients, enabling them to reach a wider audience that their face-to-face event historically has not.  

It has been the backbone of many companies’ communications worldwide, their saving grace, times move on and in order to stick out and stay ahead of their competition companies have needed to adapt and run their meetings, conversations and events online, diving into the virtual world of events. 

We cannot deny that virtual and hybrid events are here to stay, but let’s not get complacent.  With the right protocols in place lets embrace getting back out there and meet new people, share stories, memories and elbow bump as we go.  

For support with your next virtual, hybrid or in-person events please do get in touch we would love to help support you with your next event: or call us: 0330 223 3176

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