In person or virtual: how to choose the best event format



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By Viviane Lima, Senior Customer Support Representative

When planning an event, organizers have one common goal: to bring people together for a shared purpose. Before COVID-19, in-person events were the best way to accomplish that. However, since 2020, the event industry has adapted to unimaginable challenges by embracing innovative solutions, such as virtual and hybrid events. So what’s the difference between in-person, virtual, and hybrid events? We’ll tell you everything you need to know!

What's the difference between in-person, virtual, and hybrid events?

Virtual, and hybrid events offer the possibility of bringing people together, even if they can’t all be together in person. However, in-person, virtual, and hybrid events have some notable differences:


All attendees are physically present in one location. In-person events offer valuable marketing tactics as they offer a more effective chance for human connection.

That said, in-person events are more costly; a few of these costs include venue, food and beverage, travel expenses, and hotel accommodations. In addition, as of 1st quarter 2022, people are not yet quite ready to go back to attending events in person just yet, although there are a few exceptions. This is why virtual and or hybrid events are so important to consider right now.


Attendees participate in the event entirely online. Virtual events offer the flexibility of having attendees from all over the world connected in one place. Online networking opportunities also allow attendees to engage with each other and to have more significant connections. Attendees can join from wherever they are, whether on a desktop computer or a mobile device.

Moreover, with a combination of in-person streaming and pre-recorded content, you have the opportunity to create an environment that overcomes time zones differences.

Finally, virtual events are inclusive of all people, making them accessible to people who physically cannot attend in person.


Some attendees participate in person; others online. Hybrid events are the best of two worlds. They offer the possibility of an in-person audience at a physical venue, and a virtual audience online.

With a hybrid event, your main goal is to give a very similar in-person and virtual experience to the public -- and sometimes an even better experience because of the flexibility of offering features not seen at in-person events, such as gamification.

Use the event type in your favor

Each event approach provides its distinctive benefits. By understanding your audience thoroughly, you can choose the event style that works best for them. Generally, virtual events are better suited for audiences who are spread out geographically, while hybrid events could be more conducive for local audiences.

In addition, virtual events are a great option if you decide on an event you want to launch sooner than later. Without a venue or attendee travel time to worry about, you can organize your event within a shorter time frame.

Another key to success is to consider the type of event you are planning. Every event is different, and a trade show, for example, will have different needs than a conference. Pay attention to significant event elements and components; think of which ones would fit best for an in-person or a virtual format.

In other words, if physical elements play a crucial role in your event, a hybrid or in-person event might be the best option. If not, a virtual event may be sufficient or even better.

Choose the best path

The Accelevents platform offers groundbreaking solutions that can help you build virtual and hybrid events. Create an interactive event or conference without the complexities typically associated with event technology platforms.

Our intuitive all-in-one event software offers an elevated user experience for all stakeholders, including hosts, attendees, speakers, and exhibitors. By customizing the event ecosystem to match your needs, wants, and goals, there’s no doubt you’ll be on the best path possible to the best event you've ever hosted.

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