Benefits & Downsides of Virtual Events


READ TIME: 4 minutes

Virtual events are events that are held entirely online. Usually these events are formatted in a way that is familiar–as digital versions of their real-world counterparts. Just like a real show, there are typically sponsors of different areas, and ways for attendees to interact with vendors or speakers.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether to create a fully virtual event;


Single Audience

Virtual events tend to cater to a single audience: the online visitor. There are no face-to-face networking events or parties, meal functions, or pods.

Cost Savings

Virtual events can offer savings anywhere between 20% to 90%. Since almost all of the basic functionality of a trade show can be replaced virtually, there are savings in airfare, accommodation, shipping costs, food & beverage, venue rental, production, large trade show booth expenses, staffing and more.

Environmental Savings

The amount of energy required to put on a virtual trade show is infinitesimal compare to that of a live show that has an enormous carbon footprint of airfare, trucking, cabs, facility heating & cooling, etc.

Low Barrier of Entry

It’s easy to get to. If you have a computer and an internet connection, you can attend. No travel costs and less time away.


You will have a detailed accounting of attendees’ behavior: who they visited and for how long. This can be valuable information to the planner as well as vendors and sponsors.


Lack of Face-To-Face Social Interaction

Many experts believe that virtual events will never fully replace face to face meetings. We are social animals and there’s something about getting together and meeting people in person. With virtual trade shows and events, you can make initial contact very easily but you don’t get that immediate social and non-verbal feedback that comes with face to face communication.

Reliance on Technology

You’re relying entirely on technology. In live events, there’s almost always a way to salvage a technical problem. For example, a paper backup of a script or presentation outlines, or just speaking louder when a mic fails. In a virtual event however, if the core technology fails or the internet goes down, your meeting ceases to exist. It’s highly unlikely, but possible.

Audience’s Technical Abilities

Is your audience technically savvy enough to navigate the event? Some people may become frustrated not knowing how to navigate the virtual event, or utilize various features.

Audience’s Technology & Connection Speeds

Does your audience have appropriate computers and internet connections for a smooth and seamless experience? Your audience should have access to the internet at speeds that will make the event load and function without delays or glitches. If your audience has to wait around for load bars or page refreshes, you’re likely to lose them. Make sure they have the bandwidth to handle whatever content you’re going to throw at them.