2 side-by-side images of an in-person rooftop party and a person attending a virtual wine tasting event.

It’s no secret that the pandemic changed the landscape of the events industry forever. Not only were in-person events put on pause for months, but it also put a spotlight on newer digital event platforms that allowed people to connect with each other while at home. In a world that now embraces both formats, how can you decide which is best for your event? In this blog post, we'll dive into the key considerations that can help you decide whether your event better suits a traditional in-person or virtual format.

Determine Your Event Objectives

When planning your event, think about this: what type of experience are you hoping to create for your guests? This question will help you determine the objectives for your event, which further helps you decide what format to go with. If your event aims to connect audience members by networking or educate using physical demonstrations, then it may be best to opt for an in-person event so that guests can get the most out of the experience. If you’re looking to reach a wider audience and make the information more accessible to more people, virtual events may be the better option for you since guests aren’t restricted by physical location.


Person looks down at a laptop while watching a lecture.

Find Your Target Audience

Going along with your objectives, it's also important to understand the target audience for your event. Ultimately, you'll need people to come to your event for it to be a success, so taking the time to understand their preferences can be crucial to your turnout. This is where you want to determine who they are (demographics) and where they are located (geographic distribution). An in-person event limits participation to those who can attend physically, which may exclude potential attendees who are unable to travel. A virtual event goes far beyond geographical boundaries, allowing individuals from around the world to join. 


4 people facing each other while speaking at a conference event.

Consider Your Budget 

Hosting any type of event involves financial considerations. There are several clear differences in the costs of hosting a live vs virtual event. An in-person event typically requires expenses for a venue rental, travel arrangements, printed materials, food and beverage, and higher fees for performances or speakers. The costs of a virtual event, on the other hand, mainly go into technology. This may include costs for a hosting platform, premium internet connection, video equipment, and so on. Analyze your budget to determine which option aligns best with what you’re willing to spend. In general, virtual events tend to be on the more affordable side, but that doesn’t mean you can’t organize a live event while on a tighter budget.


Woman speaking into a digital camera.

Audience Interactivity and Engagement

Some events required attendees to participate in various activities to bring the experience together. Consider how important factors like attendee engagement and interactivity are to the success of your event. Live events allow for direct, face-to-face engagement, networking, and hands-on experiences. Live events often come off as being more personal for this reason. When you get to see and interact with other attendees, it can create a more supportive and immersive atmosphere for guests. Virtual events, while lacking physical presence, can still offer a variety of interactive features. Many virtual events utilize features like chat rooms, Q&A sessions, virtual breakout rooms, and polls to allow attendees to engage with the event and with each other. However, it can still feel a bit disconnected at times and attendees can become easily distracted.


People dancing at a concert.

Timeframe of Your Event

One aspect you may not have thought of is that the timeframe of your event can also help determine whether your event should take place in-person or virtually. Planning and executing a live event often requires more lead time due to coordination with various vendors, securing a venue, and so on. Virtual events can be organized in a much shorter time frame, allowing for overall a shorter planning cycle and greater flexibility. That’s why it’s important to consider the urgency and any time constraints surrounding your event to make an informed decision.


5 sports fans sitting on a couch or standing while cheering.

Wrap Up

While virtual events have been gaining popularity in recent years, that doesn’t mean that in-person events are outdated. Deciding between a live or virtual event requires careful consideration of various factors. Regardless of the format you choose, being effective in your planning will help you create a memorable experience that will stay with your attendees forever. While you’re busy planning your event, let us take care of your ticketing. Schedule a demo with our team to see how easy it is to get started within 60 seconds.


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