As the UK recovers from storms Eunice and Franklin, their devastating impact is clear to see. At least 3 people have been killed and 1.4 million homes left without power, with most trains and some flights cancelled due to the extreme weather. The Met Office even issued a red weather warning, for only the fourth time in its history, with meteorologists calling storm Eunice “the worst in over 30 years”.
With global carbon emissions soaring back to record pre-pandemic levels, extreme weather events like these storms are likely to become more frequent and dangerous. Given the number of businesses forced to shut and events cancelled because of the storms, organisers will need to plan more resilient events to survive as extreme weather becomes more common.
Virtual events by their nature suffer little to no impact from physical disruption, such as extreme weather, transport cancellations or even a worldwide lockdown. The world embraced virtual events during the COVID-19 pandemic, as in-person gatherings were banned to prevent spreading the virus. Virtual event specialists like All In The Loop enjoyed a massive increase in global demand for hybrid and virtual event solutions, whilst Zoom hosted 350 million daily users in December 2020, compared to just 10 million the previous year.
What does this have to do with extreme weather resistance? Well, to take part in an in-person event, participants have to attend physically. If a severe weather warning advises your attendees to stay at home, damage to vehicles and infrastructure means they cannot travel, attendance could drop significantly if not completely.
By hosting an event virtually, organisers can ensure all participants are able to take part, without needing to worry about the weather or other physical barriers. Likewise, by opting to use a hybrid format, catering for both in-person and virtual attendees, organisers can quickly pivot to a fully virtual event. This would give those who signed up as in-person attendants the chance to still participate remotely.
As well as mitigating the effects of dangerous weather, virtual and hybrid events boast a number of advantages over solely in-person events. These include superior sustainability, which can combat the causes of global warming and thus extreme weather conditions.
Using a virtual event platform for virtual events or mobile event app can completely eliminate the use of paper at an event. Given the average trade show produces about 170 trees worth of paper waste, this can considerably improve an event’s overall sustainability. As previously mentioned, remote attendance removes the necessity to travel, which cuts down on CO2 emissions associated with your event, greatly reducing its carbon footprint.
Not only are virtual events better for the environment and more resilient to disruption, they are around 75% cheaper to host than in-person events. So, for sustainable, affordable, reliable events, the future must be virtual and hybrid.