COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted virtual events and accelerated adoption of virtual technology platforms. Seven key effects are listed below.

  • Mass cancellation of in-person events due to lockdowns, social distancing, travel restrictions, and health concerns. This included conferences, trade shows, networking events, training workshops, etc.
  • Rapid pivot by event organizers to adopt virtual event platforms as an alternative. Tools like Hopin, vFairs, Run The World, etc. saw huge growth.
  • Learning curve for organizers and attendees in using virtual platforms effectively. Issues like video conferencing fatigue arose.
  • Experimentation with innovating virtual event formats, engagement tactics, monetization models. Examples like virtual happy hours, 3D virtual worlds, gamification.
  • Challenges in fully replicating the spontaneity and serendipity of in-person events online. Networking and informal interactions were harder.
  • Benefits like wider audience reach, lower costs, saved travel time led many organizers to consider permanent hybrid virtual/in-person models.
  • Uneven adoption across industries and geographies based on digital maturity, demographics, tech constraints.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the events industry and accelerated adoption of virtual events. While challenges remain, virtual events are now seen as a core part of the modern events toolkit.

virtual event glossary