Why In-Person Events Matter

Marilena De Niear

March 23, 2022

    Over the last few pandemic-ridden years, virtual and hybrid events have become a standard of the “new normal.” Despite a rise in in-person events upcoming in 2022, many organizations are still hesitant to transition back.   

    Furthermore, some of these concerns include the risks of low attendance and wanting to keep attendees as safe as possible. It’s important to remember the tremendous value of hosting in-person events that virtual events can’t offer. From learner retention to personal engagement to exhibitor interactions, in-person events prove a superior experience to virtual.   

    Let’s dive into more detail. Below are four critical areas improved by in-person interactions: event messaging, networking, education, and exhibitor value.   

     

    Event messaging  

    Being at an event versus watching it on screen produces very different results. One of the most significant differences in the attendees’ perception and understanding of the event’s message and purpose.  

    For instance, if your event message was “going green for the next generation,” it’s possible your virtual audience remembers the message. However, the opportunity to drive that message home tangibly is much more tremendous for an in-person setting. At this particular “going green” event, you could incorporate green practices like recycled materials, sustainable meal options, or eco-friendly swag items.  

    One way to promote your event’s message is through a customized event badge. Moreover, think beyond just attendee information and include your event tagline, message, or logos.   

    For in-person events, you’re not just asking attendees to hear your message; you’re allowing them to experience it. A live experience has a more profound effect on someone versus a remote one. 

     

    Networking opportunities  

    Some might argue that professional networking is what they look forward to most when registering for an event. Before COVID-19, going to an expo was a chance to gain industry knowledge and meet colleagues and peers in a relaxed environment. Attendees can form genuine connections over the shared experience of the event itself and the shared industry experience.  

    This kind of networking isn’t possible in a remote setting, no matter how many interactive options are available. There isn’t a virtual duplicate for sharing a meal or a drink with peers between break-out sessions or team-building exercises.  

    For ideas on enhancing the networking aspect of your next event, read up on how to transition back to in-person events. 

     

    Education advantages  

    If your event is education-focused, the quality of in-person learning is invaluable. In-person events offer a much more distraction-free environment compared to a virtual setting. If someone is attending a session remotely, nothing stops any work emails, desktop notifications, or text messages from rolling in to interrupt their learning. Further, having one tab of their search engine open can be tempting enough to cause participants to multitask on the internet.   

    Streamline in-person events to track attendee engagement through event software like digital attendee tracking to award participation credits. Sign-in sheets and session scanning apps for self-reporting are also helpful tools. Scan attendees in and out of sessions to verify they stayed for the required time and then quickly award credit after your event.  

    You can provide other engaging strategies like interactive study groups or sessions to review key materials. Thus, this encourages hands-on learning and promotes a more personable setting that allows learners to ask questions comfortably. 

     

    Exhibitor value  

    Exhibitors also gain the most value from in-person events. In a virtual setting, hardly anyone visits the virtual exhibit hall. Moreover, attendees are more likely to ignore booth personnel despite video and chat opportunities. They may download or view your materials, but they’re likely not to start a chat with the booth staff.  

    Exhibitors spend money on sponsorships to increase their return on investment (ROI), so it’s in their best interest to get attendees’ highest level of interactions. 

    At an onsite event, booth staff can walk up to an attendee and spark a conversation to get their contact information. Give your exhibitors the ability to collect as many leads as possible with lead retrieval technology. This event tech works with a barcode included on attendees’ event badges that allow exhibitors to collect their information automatically. Thus, this eliminates the contact exchange of business cards while allowing attendees to explore the exhibit hall.   

     

    COVID-19 best practices  

    To keep your attendees as safe as possible, especially with emerging variants, you may want to consider offering precautions. Here are several ideas that your event can explore:  

    • Offer free masks – This can also serve as a branding opportunity for your event or exhibitors to display their logo.  
    • Provide hand-washing and sanitizing stations throughout the venue  
    • Make free COVID-19 tests available upon entrance and anytime throughout the event  

     

    Most importantly, have a plan of action for confirmed cases. Then, if an attendee, exhibitor, or any other event guest tests positive for COVID-19, have a proactive plan set in place to prevent any mishaps. Whatever your action plan entails, have it written out as a standard procedure for attendees to follow. 

     

    Wrapping it up  

    In-person events still matter, and they’re not going away. The value of in-depth event messaging, networking opportunities, education advantages, and exhibitor value only solidifies their importance. 

    Furthermore, your attendees will walk away with more knowledge retained, a higher understanding of the messaging and purpose of the event, and more established networking connections. Your exhibitors will also stand to gain the most ROI and will be more likely to sponsor your events in the future. As a result, all of this translates to a more successful event for your organization. 

     

    How to create a stellar in-person event with Expo Logic  

    Expo Logic works with you and your goals to create a customized solution of tools, processes, and technologies. Thus, we’re here to make your job easier and your event a huge hit. With solutions like lead retrieval, onsite event check-in, badge printing, and floorplan management, you can count on a smooth event.   

    Click here or contact us to schedule a free demo today to learn more about what Expo Logic can do. 

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