With coronavirus having obvious impacts on the entire events industry during the majority of 2020 and 2021, what remains to be seen is whether any benefits have come from these unprecedented times, whether any lessons have been learned, and what long term trends can we expect to see in the events landscape beyond the pandemic.
From March last year, all event types, from sports and live music to conferences and trade shows, were either postponed or cancelled indefinitely. With revenue streams in most industries taking a huge hit, cost-cutting practices have become even more of an essential process in business decision-making.
With almost every company having to utilise digital means for both their internal and external communications, it is not uncommon for companies to regularly host Virtual Events. With this, it seems that businesses, and people in general, are finally seeing the true benefits of incorporating online events for discussing important commercial issues and for communicating their brand’s message. Such unexpected circumstances have created a drastic shift in attitudes towards Virtual Events, originally thought to take many years to establish, if not decades.
Findings from FIFA’s Financial Statements
The global football organisation’s 2020 financial documents revealed a few important findings. With amateur sport coming to a halt and much of elite sport being affected, one of the results coming from these documents was the fact that football’s governing body earned more money through video games (including eSports activities) than football itself. If you told that fact to 100 strangers, you’d probably see a room full of surprised faces.
On the events side of things, you can see the huge savings that FIFA has made by having an online-only event schedule, especially including their Annual Congress. Overall, FIFA’s 2020 events accumulated to just 16.7% the cost of 2019’s, and when comparing the cost of 2020’s Virtual Congress with the 2019 event, there is a staggering 93.6% saving (from £14.1m to around £800,000).
These kinds of cost savings have been revealed by so many large corporations around the world. So how is this the case? Simply put, Virtual and Hybrid Events are so much cheaper to run than Live Events for 3 main reasons: travel, accommodation, and venue costs. In the example of FIFA’s Annual Congress, the organisation invites attendees from each of its member associations, currently at a count of 211.
It is easy to see how transporting and providing accommodation for this large a number of delegates from all over the globe can costs hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pounds. A digital-only Congress would eliminate these costs completely. With an entirely Virtual Event the venue cost is also essentially zero, with the only cost being from the production and/or online platform utilised. Additionally, by utilising a Hybrid Event Solution, the venue capacity required for an international event can be drastically reduced, meaning that much smaller, cheaper venues can be used.
Our Experience and Other Benefits of Virtual Events
Being an events production company, Giggabox has helped produce over 100 Virtual Events since April 2020. This has included a multitude of Virtual Conferences, Virtual Webinars, and even Virtual Awards Nights. Case Studies of some of our Virtual Events can be read here.
One of the main things that we have found through hosting several Conferences virtually is the importance of such events to its organisers and attendees. Providing support for companies throughout the entire production process, we are always in close contact with the event organisers. Giggabox have constantly seen how grateful clients are for the provision of such services during these tough times. This is likely due to the fact that most last-minute, self-coordinated Virtual Events can seem very unorganised and often quite tedious. With our in-house graphics and events team, we enable businesses to produce visually appealing, branded experiences to a global audience seamlessly. This helps Giggabox Virtual Events create more engaging experiences for all involved.
Another, more unanticipated benefit of hosting Virtual Events, especially Congresses, is the increased legitimacy of the democratic process. When attending an event online from the comfort of their own home or office space, delegates are typically more comfortable during the voting process and in expressing their own opinions on more controversial topics and influential decisions. Because of this, it can be seen that delegates feel less pressured and influenced by other figures attending the event, making for better policy and business decision-making.
The Suggestion for the Hosting of Future Events
Similar to what David Owen discusses in his article, corporations of all sizes should host Live Events only when absolutely necessary, and when the benefits cannot be produced from a Virtual or Hybrid Event. In the example of FIFA, smaller events (such as monthly or quarterly committee meetings) and ones that require much unnecessary travel and accommodation should be conducted virtually. Some more specific highly attended events, such as those coinciding with World Championships and Major Regional Tournaments; however, should go ahead as Live Events. By having such a framework implemented into an event planning schedule, all businesses can reduce wasted resources required for full Live Events, whilst still receiving the same benefits as before.
If you require a production company or would like any information regarding Virtual, Hybrid, or Live Events and the options available to you, contact Giggabox today.
Guest post written by Philip Barnes – Marketing Assistant at Giggabox