What the release of Zoom Events means for the events industry
A few months ago, Zoom announced a new platform to be released soon, Zoom Events. Zoom Events is the company’s new virtual events solution, allowing users to organise and promote events on Zoom. Functionalities will go beyond the basic Meetings, Chat, and Video Webinars features, as Zoom Events will let virtual event planners monetise their events.
The release of Zoom Events is big news for the virtual event industry, but it’s not the first (or only) platform dedicated to hosting virtual and hybrid events. Will Zoom Events turn the events industry on its head? Will it replace traditional event management companies?
What Zoom Events means for virtual events
Event organisers that want to run a virtual or hybrid event had multiple options before Zoom Events came along. It’s one of the biggest names in videoconferencing since the 2020 pandemic, however, so it’s likely to be a popular choice for many people wishing to organise events.
Zoom Events will let users create an event hub, use customised ticketing and registration, allow integrated networking, track event statistics, and provide event access control from one convenient portal. For smaller events or organisations running internal workshops and webinars, Zoom Events could be an ideal solution.
For corporate virtual events of a few thousand attendees or more, however, the Zoom Events platform may fall short. To coordinate such a large event, organisations would have to have someone train on Zoom Events, and some companies may not have the resources to dedicate to learning how to use an events platform. Zoom Events also cannot replace the expertise and support of companies that specialise in virtual event planning and management.
The benefits of virtual corporate events
Zoom Events is riding the virtual events wave that the COVID-19 pandemic brought. Zoom also bet on the fact that virtual events aren’t going anywhere, even more than a year after the pandemic first started. Virtual and hybrid events have too many benefits for corporate organisers to give them up so easily.
One of the biggest advantages of virtual events is cost savings. You don’t have to rent a venue, pay for catering, or even pay for entertainment. Reaching an audience of 20,000 people online, all over the world, is less expensive than hosting an onsite conference for 5,000 people in one location. Reach expands with a virtual or hybrid event, and more attendees are able to participate when they don’t have to travel to do so.
Your company might have to invest in live streaming tech or higher-quality audio-visual equipment to pull off a professional event, but the cost of more sophisticated gear is far less compared to hosting an in-person event. Plus, when you work with a virtual event management company, you can get access to their dedicated audio-visual team.
Will Zoom Events displace virtual event management companies?
Zoom Events is an interesting solution for some organisations, especially for internal meetings, workshops, and webinars. Companies probably shouldn’t rely on the platform to host large-scale corporate virtual events, however. Zoom Events can only do so much.
An event management company with experience running hybrid and virtual corporate events is still the best way to pull off a high-profile, professional event. Whether you’re hosting a virtual conference, product launch, symposium, awards gala, or expo, a platform can’t do everything for you.
Zoom Events can’t help you recruit keynote speakers, nor train those speakers on using your live streaming tech. It also can’t advise you on how to structure your event agenda to maximise audience engagement, nor can it help you brainstorm ideas for promoting audience participation in your virtual event.
Zoom Events allows monetisation, but it doesn’t help you secure sponsors. If you’re hosting a hybrid event, you still need a stage or physical venue to stream from, and Zoom Events can’t help you prepare for that. You also don’t get an audio-visual team to help make sense of the streaming and filming equipment, and who can manage any tech issues that come up during the event.
All the details of your virtual event that make it look more professional can’t be handled by an app. You need an event management company to handle those aspects because they have the experience with staging virtual events that you need.
Virtual events are here to stay
Zoom conducted research in 2021 about the future of virtual events, and found that 80 percent of their US respondents agreed that virtual events will continue post-pandemic. The cost-savings benefits to companies, and the attitudes that the general public has toward in-person events will likely lead to a future with more virtual events than ever before. For this reason, Zoom Events is only one of many new virtual event platforms that has been released in the last year.
Going forward, solutions like Zoom Events will change the events industry. But a platform can never replace a professional event management company when it comes to planning a corporate virtual event.
Author bio: Paul Campbell
Paul Campbell is the founder and director of the Purple Patch Group, a business that started life as an event agency in London over ten years ago. Through years of live events experience on both sides of the fence, managing them, and sitting front row, Paul and fellow other director Holly created the Presentation Experts as well. Through Purple Patch Group they develop corporate events and conferences for brands and companies who are looking for a reliable, but innovative event agency!