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Event Industry Trends – Virtual and Hybrid Events

The recent COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the event industry, causing event cancellation after event cancellation, leading to the rise of virtual events. Virtual events are events that take place entirely online, allowing attendees to participate from anywhere in the world. Hybrid events are those that take place partly online, and partly in-person. In this blog post, we will discuss what virtual events are, the benefits and drawbacks, and the cyber security and resilience considerations. The requirements for event public liability insurance and event employer's liability insurance are often a little different so it is worth checking what is required depending on the exact nature of your event.


July 4, 2024

What are Virtual Events?


Virtual events are events that are hosted entirely online, without any physical presence. They can include conferences, trade shows, music/comedy performances, webinars, and meetings. Virtual events use various digital technologies, including video conferencing, chat rooms, and interactive tools, to create an immersive online experience for attendees. Some in-person events make use of virtual tech to allow a portion of attendees to participate – these are called hybrid events.


Benefits and Drawbacks


Virtual events offer several benefits, including cost savings, increased reach and accessibility, and flexibility. Hosting a virtual event eliminates the need for physical venues, travel, and accommodation, thus significantly reducing costs. Additionally, virtual events can reach a larger audience, as attendees can participate from anywhere in the world. This increased accessibility also makes virtual events more inclusive, as attendees with disabilities or mobility issues can easily participate. Virtual events also offer flexibility, as attendees can access the content on-demand, reducing scheduling conflicts.


However, virtual events also have some drawbacks. One of the significant challenges of virtual events is the lack of physical interaction and engagement. Attendees may feel disconnected and disengaged from the event, reducing the overall experience. Additionally, technical difficulties, such as poor internet connection, can disrupt the event and cause frustration for attendees. In many cases, the reality is that virtual events may not provide the same networking and socialising opportunities as physical events, limiting opportunities for attendees to build relationships and partnerships.


Cyber Security and Resilience Considerations


Virtual events also present cybersecurity and resilience considerations that event organisers must address. Virtual events can be vulnerable to cyber-attacks, such as hacking, phishing, and malware. Event organisers must implement robust cybersecurity measures to protect attendees’ personal and sensitive data, including strong password protocols, data encryption, and regular software updates. If you are hosting a virtual event, it’s sensible to engage an expert contractor with access to the right tools, software, and experience to make this happen.


Additionally, event organisers must ensure that virtual events are resilient to technical issues and disruptions. This includes testing the technology before the event, having a backup plan for technical difficulties, and providing technical support during the event. A key factor in the resilience of virtual events is quality of internet connection, on which the entire event is dependant. It’s sensible to discuss your requirements with an experienced technology supplier – who may recommend using multiple internet connections operating concurrently. Event organisers should also think about how their virtual events can be accessible to attendees with disabilities, including providing captioning, transcripts, and other assistive technology.


Virtual events have become an increasingly popular option for event organisers, offering benefits such as cost savings, increased accessibility, and flexibility. However, virtual events also present challenges, including a lack of physical interaction and engagement and cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Event organisers must address these challenges and implement robust cybersecurity and resilience measures to ensure the success and safety of virtual events.


Hear from event organisers about the behind the scenes madness that comes with organising events, large or small, from music festivals to conferences, the insurance required for events, the chaos of the day itself, and the highs and lows of event organising, on Freddie’s podcast, WHEN SH*T GOES WRONG AT EVENTS.


Insurance in minutes!