Are virtual events better than physical events?

When Hosting a Virtual Event might be better than a Physical Event

We get this question a lot from university coordinators who started dabbling with virtual events due to COVID. Some see the results of their virtual event and wonder, “isn’t this just better than a physical event?

The obvious answer is that it depends. Virtual events outperform physical events in some metrics, but lack the critical in-person interactions that physical events enable.

There are a few particular situations though, where a virtual event can be decidedly better. We list four of those scenarios below.

  • When Physical Events are disallowed/discouraged for some reason

Perhaps this one was obvious. When physical gatherings are literally illegal, virtual events are obviously the better alternative. Although we’re now halfway into 2021, many event coordinators are continuing to opt for virtual events for the time being, matching many of their attendees’ better safe than sorry attitude.

  • When you have to host an event on short notice

With the right platform, virtual events can be set up with incredibly little notice.

Using, you can very quickly set up an event with the modules you need on short notice

Virtual events have a unique advantage over physical events in that they’re super easy to set up.

Physical events generally require much longer lead-up timeframes because of several factors:

  • Attendees need to make travel and lodging plans before the event
  • Venues, catering, program planning usually need at least several weeks’ of lead time to have set up before an event
  • Rounding up volunteers and staff to manage the event requires proper notice and lead time
  • When your budget is prohibitive but you want high attendance

Physical events require a budget that scales with expected attendance. Every additional person means more accommodation in terms of space, food, and event staff.

Virtual events on the other hand, managed properly, can scale for much cheaper. The most basic version of a virtual event, a simple live stream for example, requires almost no additional work or money for additional viewer/attendee.

In this way, if you’re looking for a high attendance event, a virtual event might be the better alternative.

  • Worth thinking about: When you want your Event Content to persist after the event

Virtual events can be seamlessly transitioned into year-long communities through savvy implementations.

Many virtual event platforms offer beautiful platforms for the features they provide. Why should your attendees only be able to use them during the event. If your virtual event system is well-crafted, you can ask your vendor on options to have it persist throughout the year.

We offer some interesting examples below. Your Virtual Org Fair can be transitioned into a year-long Organizational listing

An org-fair powered by It can easily be transitioned into a year-long directory of students to browse even after the event. You can use your Orientation’s social network feature to kickstart a University-wide social network for your school

By Patrick Monaghan

Product Manager at

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