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Digital & Innovation Food for Thought – Article 3


Will physical conferences or congresses ever return?

About the Author:
Janice Chai
Suntec Singapore

Nearly 2 years into the pandemic now and when we take a back seat to compare content, engagement and delivery style of conferences, it is nearly a 360 difference.

Flashback - think of the pre-pandemic days where we had to iron out logistical factors such as air tickets, hotel bookings and whilst it present as a perk (to some) the opportunity to travel it also presented as a percentage of inconvenience to others with family and other responsibilities. A conference could be delivered over a period of 3 days however, factor in pre-conference workshops, post networking sessions and time difference, it could add up to a total of about 7 days in total away from your home country. There will still be a demand for physical events, think Persona A.

Now - it’s all convenience (well, not fully when we factor in conferences that are not within our time zone). We register and rock up to a conference with our cameras on and we are 100% in our comfort zone and the time spent on traveling would then be counter utilised for other matters. Of course, we will name this Persona B.

With that in mind - do we think that physical conferences will ever return? Let’s for a moment think of what the best part of a physical event would be - for me it definitely is the social factor. I love walking down aisles and visiting booths, just having a conversation to see what could work out. Moving on to the digital front, we’ve all seen how there are no limits with virtual events (literally, your imagination is the limit and of course budget). As described by Kate ("…"), they organised a prospecting event that lead up to nearly 5million pounds in the sales pipeline.

Imagine a marriage - between the physical and digital. Where technology is constantly evolving and we’re able to marry the best of both worlds, catering to the requirements of both the former and latter of the customer personas.

So I’m thinking a metaverse is aptly the next step towards events.

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