In-person Vs. Virtual Events: How To Decide What’s The Best

in-person events app

Is it difficult for you to choose between Virtual and In-person events? 

Over the past few years, virtual events have become much more popular (Thanks to COVID-19) than live events. But that does not mean traditional in-person events have lost their charm; there are benefits of in-person events. People still crave human interaction, and it is the best option for many enterprises. 

Hence, deciding on one is not easy and should not be taken lightly. Because the success of the entire business conference event or any event sometimes depends on its format. Some things go better in a virtual format, and some things work better in in-person events. Each option has its own set of pros and cons. It is crucial to have 360 views of each format before making any decision.

Let’s start by stating the difference between the two:-

Difference Between In-person Events & Virtual Events

Live events or in-person events are more personal. The whole “live” event aspect is difficult to replicate online. These are held in a physical location and offer an immersive experience – the chance to network face-to-face, engage in sensory-rich presentations, and forge lasting connections.

However, virtual events leverage technology to create online experiences. Attendees participate remotely, often through a dedicated platform that offers presentations, interactive elements, and networking opportunities in a digital space. They are more accessible as anybody can attend with a stable internet connection. Virtual events give you the opportunity to network globally and make new connections that you would not have made otherwise.

Besides these two event formats, there is one more which is getting popular these days – Hybrid Events. A combination of live and virtual events.

With Hybrid Events, you could have 50% of your attendees online and 50% of them in person. Although, the ratio can be changed as per your requirements and arrangements. You could host an event that combines both in-person and virtual aspects, such as using a mobile event app for attendees. Alternatively, you could organize a virtual event with some live components, which you can then stream to your virtual event platform.

How To Decide On In-person Vs. Virtual Events? Factors To Keep In Mind

The world of events has transformed. Today, you have two powerful tools at your disposal: in-person gatherings brimming with energy and virtual experiences reaching across borders. But with these options comes a crucial question – which format best suits your event?

Event planners should consider a few factors when deciding which format will suit their next best event and match with the virtual and in-person event engagement ideas (Engagement is a must factor!). Some of these factors include:

What’s Your Goal?

What are you hoping to achieve by hosting an event or conference? Before deciding between in-person and virtual events, you must be clear about what you want to achieve with your want.

If you are looking to reach a larger scale of audience or striving for a more interactive experience, virtual events are the better option. However, Live events let you connect more closely and directly with attendees. They can be the best choice if you want one-on-one engagement and discussion. For example, at an in-person event, you can have conversations with people that could lead to networking opportunities or collaborations.

Virtual events provide more ways to interact with an audience and make the experience more immersive. For instance, you can use them to distribute content to a large audience. Additionally, live streaming can create an interactive environment that gives viewers the feeling of attending the event in person.

Ultimately, you need to choose the best format based on your final objective. So, whichever option helps you achieve that goal should determine whether you choose a live, virtual, or hybrid event.

Who is Your Target Audience?

You must think about who your audience is when deciding between in-person, virtual, or hybrid. Does your event need to have a face-to-face interaction with your audience to leave the best impact? Check about these factors:

  1. Age
  2. Location
  3. Preferences
  4. Technical Abilities

Assess your audience early so you can decide which format is optimal for your event or conference. For example, if your attendees are aged or older or from different cultures and backgrounds, then the physical event is preferable as they are likely to attend due to their personal preferences. Being around other people can help you become more aware of and understand their opinions.

On the other hand, if your audience is younger, they can much more easily become friendly with the virtual events platform’s interface. They might be more comfortable and interested in joining and attending the event or conference. Communication and networking are easier for attendees in any online event. This is a key to dealing with your generations.

Go with a Hybrid event format when the audience demographic is mixed so that they can attend the event on their own accord. This provides your audience the flexibility to attend freely in their busy schedule.

What’s Your Event Timeline?

Timeline – This is one of the most important factors when deciding the format of your conference or event. The timeline to plan the event and the hosting timeline of many events both of them is crucial.

It is difficult to organize in-person events in a short time duration or with a tight schedule. You need months of planning or even a year to organize a successful live event that fulfills every requirement of your goals.

However, virtual events are much easier to organize because they don’t require as much planning or logistics. You don’t have to find a venue or arrange catering, for instance. Additionally, if your event features speakers from different places, it’s much more convenient to host it online.

The combination of both hybrid events also takes longer to plan as there are many factors to consider and decide on.

What’s Your Budget?

Budget is a factor that can’t be ignored, and it is a must thing to consider. Live events can be quite expensive, especially now, with budget cuts affecting event planners globally. When deciding whether to host a live event, it’s important to consider the following costs:

  1. Live
  2. Catering
  3. Trave
  4. Equipment
  5. Accommodation

On the other side, virtual events offer more control over costs and can be customized to fit within your budget. They also allow for a wider reach as attendees can join from anywhere in the world without incurring travel or accommodation expenses.

Many event planners believe that hybrid events, which combine live and virtual elements, cost twice as much. However, there are ways to optimize your budget for hybrid events. While a significant portion of your budget will go towards technology, it may end up being much less than the cost of a large live event.

What are Your KPIs?

KPI- Key Performance Index, it is crucial to assess your KPIs. On what basis you are going to measure the success of your event or conference? Utilize that analysis to choose the suitable format for your event which will ensure to meet your objectives.
KPIs include:

  • Did people come back to your event again?
  • How many people showed up?
  • Were people actively participating in your event?
  • Did people use the event app?
  • How likely are people to recommend your event to others?

You may need different approaches to gather these metrics. For live events, you can use surveys or collect feedback from attendees. For virtual events, you can use analytics tools to measure engagement and app usage.

Hybrid events combine live and virtual elements, offering benefits of both. For instance, using an event app at a live event can provide insights not available at traditional events without technology.

Clearly defining and monitoring your KPIs is crucial for understanding your event’s success. It also helps you make informed decisions about future events, whether they are live, virtual, or hybrid.

What’s Your Engagement Strategy?

Keeping your attendees engaged plays a major role in your event’s success- no matter what the format. Planning in-person event engagement activities is comparatively easier than in a virtual format. You can arrange live activity sessions or sections during the event in both formats. So people can participate and keep themselves engaged aside from the event’s main objective. However, the approach to maintaining the engagement will be different in both formats.

In-person Vs. Virtual Event- The Pros and Cons

In-person Vs. Virtual Event- The Pros and Cons

Now you know the major factors you should take into when making a decision. Another major factor is that each format has its own advantages and disadvantages. You must analyze well that any of the disadvantages will not break the experience of the event and that the benefits of in-person and virtual events will hit the event.


  • Virtual events break down geographical barriers. Anyone with an internet connection can participate, opening your event to a global audience.
  • Eliminates venue rental costs, travel expenses, and catering needs. This translates to significant cost savings, making them a great option for budget-conscious events.
  • Planning of virtual events can be done in weeks as long as you find the right virtual event management platform. 
  • The beauty of virtual events is that recordings can be made available after the event, allowing attendees to revisit key content or share it with those who couldn’t attend live.


  • Virtual events depend heavily on technology. A strong internet connection, a reliable platform, and potential troubleshooting can be factors to consider.
  • It can be challenging to hold an audience’s attention for extended periods online. Keeping virtual events concise and engaging is crucial.
  • Virtual events lack the personal touch and spontaneous interactions that come naturally in face-to-face settings. Building rapport and fostering meaningful connections can be trickier in a virtual space.

Pros and Cons of In-person Events


  • In-person events create a unique atmosphere that cannot beaten. The shared experience, live interactions, and chance encounters can spark genuine connections and lasting memories.
  • Live events are ideal for activities that require hands-on participation, such as trade shows where attendees can try out products and services.
  • In-person events create a lasting impression and leave a memorable experience because of all the emotions you create.


  • In-person events are geographically limited. Attendees need to factor in travel costs and time, potentially hindering participation from a wider audience.
  • Venue rentals, catering, travel arrangements – these events come with a hefty price tag.
  • Takes time to organize an in-person event, as there are many factors to consider and arrange in due time. 
  • For strictly in-person events, global audiences are out of reach, which can restrict participation and the potential impact of your event.

The Additional One

Pros and Cons of Hybrid Event


  • Hybrid events allow you to cater to a wider audience. Local attendees can enjoy the in-person experience, while geographically dispersed individuals can participate virtually.
  • Combination of the best of both formats. Get detailed analytics from the high-tech virtual event platform and create in-person event engagement ideas to boost the event.
  • Hybrid events provide great flexibility. You can tailor your event to meet your goals by choosing the right mix of in-person and remote elements.


  • The success of a hybrid event hinges on seamless technology integration. Ensuring a reliable virtual platform, high-quality audio-visual equipment, and technical support for both audiences is crucial.
  • Ensuring an equally engaging experience for both in-person and virtual attendees can be tricky. It’s important to design interactive features and content delivery methods that effectively cater to both audiences.
  • It is very challenging to manage as there is a lot to think about from both event formats.

Choose The Right One For Your Event

Now, it’s time to make a decision about hybrid, Virtual, and In-person events. Assess everything between all these events, make an educated decision, and provide the best experience to your attendees. Your event type and format are very important for attendees in deciding whether to attend. Choose wisely!

However, one thing is the same across all formats—the event planning app. Grupio helps you with the best event planning and management app to organize every format, virtual, in-person, and hybrid event. Plan an event that leaves a strong impact and provides a good experience. Contact Us Now.


What types of events are best suited for a live format?
Live events excel at fostering a sense of community and shared experience. They’re ideal for product launches, networking events, workshops with hands-on activities, and conferences where audience participation is crucial.

Is there a middle ground between live and virtual events?
Yes! Hybrid events combine aspects of both formats. A portion of attendees gather in person at a physical location, while others participate virtually. This approach can expand reach and cater to different audience preferences.

How can I ensure a high level of engagement during a virtual event?
There are several strategies! Interactive features like polls, Q&A sessions, and breakout rooms can keep attendees actively participating. Gamification elements and contests can also boost engagement.

How can I leverage data and analytics to improve my virtual events?
Many virtual platforms offer valuable data on attendee behavior. Analyze metrics like session attendance, engagement with polls and chats, and content downloads to understand what resonates and tailor future events accordingly.

What are some creative ways to encourage networking at virtual events?

  • Speed Networking Sessions: Utilize breakout rooms for timed, one-on-one interactions between attendees.
  • Virtual Networking Lounges: Create a dedicated space within the virtual platform for casual interaction and conversation starters.
  • Gamified Networking Challenges: Award points for attending sessions, participating in chats, and connecting with other attendees.

How can I ensure high-quality production for a virtual event to maintain audience attention?
Invest in professional audio and visual equipment for presenters. Utilize engaging visuals, clear audio, and dynamic presentation styles to keep attendees focused and interested.

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