A survey of 650 investment professionals in the UK, US and South Africa carried out by Asset TV has found that in 2020, 79% of professionals have participated in a virtual conference.

The findings are unsurprising in light of the shift from in-person to digital events in response to the global Coronavirus pandemic.

The survey also reveals that almost 90% of participants anticipate taking part in further virtual conferences in the future; a potential sign that current trends may become habits.

How does virtual face-up?

37% of respondents said that virtual events were either ‘great’ or ‘excellent’ when compared to face-to-face alternatives. Meanwhile, 43% said virtual events were ‘okay’.

When asked what would make virtual conferences better, responses included 14% stating a preference to keep events short. Almost one in four said events need ‘more interaction’, whether that’s via virtual networking or Q&A sessions.

One in five complained about there being too many technical ‘gremlins’ whilst 14% also said there needs to be better, more diverse content presented.

Analysis – virtual is here to stay

The pandemic has certainly sped up digital transformation for organisations around the world. The big question on many peoples’ lips is ‘will the trend stick’? This research suggests that the answer may be ‘yes’.

Whether there’s a mix of virtual and in-person events, or perhaps even hybrid events, the benefit of serving an online audience means that you can reach much further than a physical event will allow.

Combine the social-distance requirements of the pandemic with calls for more diverse conference schedules and a shift away from unnecessary travel and virtual events look set to become the default rather than the alternative.