Webinar Reinforces and Complements In-Person Summit

According to The Virtual Edge Institute and ROI of Engagement, from their study "Measuring and Maximizing the Impact of a Hybrid Event," about why people attend in-person events versus remotely (virtually), 43% attended in-person to expand their network 41% preferred personal interaction with presenters/and or attendees 30% say they learn better in person, and 26% build deeper relationships with their network.

On the other hand, 56% of remote attendees focused on cost savings, 52% on time savings, 40% said to attend only the sessions wanted, and 37% just wanted to try a virtual event. And, if no virtual option was available, 93% of virtual attendees would not attend the in-person event, whereas 78% of in person attendees would attend a virtual option.

Shortly following the Summit, participants were asked to provide their evaluation of the event and provide comments about their experience. The questionnaire used a five point scale with one (1) being the lowest rating and five (5) being the highest. A summary of findings and a complete reporting of all data and comments was presented to Summit management. The results from direct observation, responses to the questionnaire and written comments provided by participants revealed valuable insight into how participants think and feel about their experience. The report includes a brief summary of results and key findings.

An important measure of success is whether attendees plan to use the information obtained and skills gained once they return to the workplace. According to questions relating to the action planned to take following the Summit:

  • 86% of participants plan to present virtual solutions to their company/clients. 
  • 74% plan on using virtual solutions with an existing program. 
  • 67% plan to use virtual solutions to create a new program. 
  •  66% plan on using new technology platform in the following year.

In order to determine what motivates the decision on how to attend the meeting attendees were asked to select from a list of reasons for attending and provide comments.

Why Attend in Person vs. Remotely 


% of Respondents 

Expand professional network




Prefer in-person interaction with presenters and/or attendees


Learn better in-person


Build better/deeper relationships with existing network


Source: Virtual Edge, June 2011

Pros of in-person attendance:

  • Rich networking opportunities 
  • Face-to-Face networking
  • Break from work 
  • No office distractions

Cons of in-person attendance:

  • Time out of the office 
  • Cost of attending 
  • Travel and weather hassles

Reasons for Virtual Attendance 


% of Respondents 

Saved money


Saved time


Selective session attendance


Interest in "trying"




Learn better (this way)


Source: Virtual Edge, June 2011

One of the perceived concerns surrounding hybrid events, says the report, is that once a remote option is introduced to a traditional, in-person event, in-person attendance will decline. A key finding of this study, however, is that 93% of virtual attendees would not attend in-person if the virtual option was eliminated. This dramatically confirms the power of a virtual option when it comes to extending the reach of an event.

If no in-person, would you have attended remotely? 

  • Yes            77.94%
  •  No            22.06

If no virtual option, would you have attended in-person? 

  • Yes            93.18%
  • No            6.82

Results from the study revealed some important differences between the in-person audience and the remote audience, says the report. One of the largest differences between the two audiences came from the responses to related statements about relationships and networking.

Barriers to Success for Virtual Audiences; (Average Meaningful Differences Between In-Person and Virtual Audience; 5 = Excellent)

Meaningful Difference

In-Person 2010

In-Person 2011

Virtual 2010

Virtual 2011 

Better/deeper relationships with people in my professional network





Know more people to help with implementation of virtual solutions





Sufficient opportunity for networking during Summit





Source: Virtual Edge, June 2011 (comparison of 2010 and 2011 sessions)

A short recap of recurring themes from insight gained from comments provided by attendees is included in the report. The two most important takeaways from the Virtual Edge Summit (In-Person Attendees) include: 

  • 10% of respondents stated virtual technology enhances face-to-face meetings 
  • 9% of respondents stated they liked the interactions with the other attendees/networking 
  • 6% of respondents listed the networking opportunities

And, the two most important takeaways from the Virtual Edge Summit" (Virtual Attendees) include: 

  • 15% of respondents noted the general knowledge gained on the industry.
  • 14% of respondents stated that a virtual element can enhance a live meeting and that concept is here to stay 
  • 9% of respondents noted the opportunity to see multiple platforms

When responses were filtered by generation, they revealed a surprising similarity in results across the generational groups. The average of all responses from:

  • Boomers (born 1946-1964) was 3.86
  • Gen X'ers (born 1965-1981) was 3.73
  • Millennials (born 1982 to present) was 3.83

Among the few noteworthy areas of difference support that Millennials are increasingly becoming advocates of virtual technology solutions. Millennials rated the following areas higher than Gen X'ers and Boomers.

  •  I am more confident that virtual solutions can accomplish business objectives
  • I am more confident that my audience will benefit from virtual experiences 
  • I have more trust in virtual technology platforms available today 
  •  I am more excited about the future of virtual experiences

The primary benefit of measuring the results of events is to gain insight that can fuel evidence-based continuous improvement, concludes the report. The following recommendations were developed by the ROI of Engagement Team in collaboration with Virtual Edge Institute, based on survey results:

  • Enhance attendee experience with best of class event production. Consider partnering with a firm for all audio/visual production, content and speaker management
  • Add quality control measures to assure high level of quality for content and delivery
  • Develop innovative means to connect people, both with in-person attendees, remote attendees and with each other
  • Maximize and extend networking opportunities by deliberately allocating time and organizing activities that connect both audiences before, during and following the event
  • Develop ways to integrate the in-person and virtual attendees so they can communicate better during sessions
  • Deliver clearly on a value proposition that focuses on time and money savings when marketing to remote attendees
  • Measure results following the event in order to identify gaps that will allow successful continuous improvement 

For more information about "Measuring and Maximizing the Impact of a Hybrid Event," please review the release and access the PDF complete report here.


1 comment about "Webinar Reinforces and Complements In-Person Summit".
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  1. Ruth Barrett from, June 17, 2011 at 12:27 p.m.

    Here are three more reasons to move to hybrid model in regards to sustainability initiatives: (1) to reduce the carbon footprint of meetings as in air travel, (2) begin to see the advantages of post conference education and awareness to seed the Web with the conference marketing becoming one continuous stream rather than starts and stops, and (3) use the content to position presenters as thought leaders thereby increasing their visibility - and yours. There is no reason you can't construct the virtual to generate revenue through fees or sponsorships - sponsoring a lunch or breakfast was a great idea, but let's move on and expand to promote sustainability awareness and adoption. This is not an expense issue especially if you take a look at how over budget you are in the carbon category and understand it can generate revenue.

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