Among the most important strategies for marketing that growing businesses employ, are hosting events. These affairs present the creative opportunity for companies to create stronger connections with their market. Through the years, technology has made events rather exciting occasions for people to look forward to, especially with the occurrence of virtual reality or VR.

Facebook had a highly successful virtual reality event recently and participants marveled at the efficacy of knowledge dissemination through VR. Indeed, it has taken the event experience to a whole new level.

Despite this development, live events remain completely relevant and will remain to be the top choice of marketing strategies for certain businesses. According to a top production company that organized the trunk show for Hermes in Abu Dhabi, people will always want a human connection. As amazing as virtual reality can be for engagement, it simply cannot replicate the exchange of authentic emotions among participants in live events.

The Setbacks of Virtual Reality Events

So far, many are impressed by how virtual reality can automatically transport you to the setting where you want to be, without leaving the comfort of your home or office. With a phone or headset, you can find yourself in a prime seat for a national debate, or an important seminar for your industry.

However, the overall VR event experience is still deemed incomparable to that provided by actual live events. Here’s how it falls short:

  • Most people are not yet ready to invest in the technology necessary for a VRexperience. For businesses that wish to use it, they’ll be isolating some members of their target audience.
  • Emotions aren’t authentic in virtual reality, if you can even detect them. In the first Democratic event streamed in VR, participants said, individual reactions of members of the audience were just impossible to read. This is definitely a setback as events thrive on emotions.
  • Although VR presents new ways to communicate, people still long for conventional human interaction. Therefore, no matter what kind of event you’re throwing – be it a simple product launch or an industry summit – most folks will prefer the arrangement they’re comfortable with and are used to.

Live Events: It’s All About the Human Factor

The core reason why live events remain relevant despite the rise of augmented reality or AR and VR is the human factor. People engage more in an arrangement that’s more familiar to them. It allows them to fully exercise their social skills and learn more effectively from doing so.

In live events for marketing, you harness the following benefits:

1.     Genuine reaction from the audience.

When you’re face-to-face with an actual audience, you can understand their reactions better and determine how you can use those reactions to ensure your business’s advantage.

2.     Suitability for all event formats.

There are fewer limitations to work with when you’re carrying out a live event. Using VR  is not ideal for anything that involves tasting new products. A food expo, for example, would be greatly disappointing if you’re just presented real-looking, delicious images of food. People come to these events to see, smell and taste – virtual reality simply won’t do. VR also falls short when it comes to events wherein people actually want to see celebrities in the flesh. Would a VR Lil Wayne Dubai concert, for example, satisfy the conventional concert experience requirements?

Only live events can provide the full set of sensations people actually look for.

3.     Socialization

One of the main reasons why people go to events is to meet new people or establish connections. While VR can also connect you with other participants, it’s just not the same as actually being physically present at an affair – feeling, smelling, and seeing people and all the small details to these experiences.

There’s no arguing that virtual reality is a wonderful development, but it’s more suitable for specific events. Meanwhile, live events are what everybody’s used to; they may have their flaws, but the strong human element to them makes them reliable, and thus relevant for business marketing, despite the changing times.



Hadi Al Rifai specializes in event management and audio engineering and holds a BA in business management from the American University of Science and Technology in Beirut. Before settling down in Dubai to manage Level Production, Mr. Rifai has worked with leading national and multinational event management organizations in the Middle East where he honed his AV production skills. Among the notable projects he has worked with are the X Factor and Baalbek Film Festival.