In a time that still feels like it was just yesterday, the global pandemic forced an uncomfortably-quick shift from in-person events to virtual gatherings. Even as the impact of Covid-19 began to subside, there was still an understandable apprehension when it came to large gatherings.

As the weeks and months went on, many people began to wonder – is this the new normal? After all, the virtual events seemed easier to host, were fairly inexpensive, and pretty much got the same thing done, right? Well, not so fast.

Just as quickly as it came on, the novelty of virtual events seemed to fade. Even with the rapid advancement in hosting technology, they just never quite seemed to have the same impact as traditional events. With that growing sentiment, we have seen a steady uptick in the number of and attendance at in-person events and conferences. In fact, recent polls show a whopping 72% of respondents prefer in-person events over virtual. But what is it that has vendors and attendees coming back?

In this article, we will explore the top six reasons why in-person events are back on the rise.

Reason 1: The Limitations of Digital Engagement

While online platforms have their advantages such as convenience and accessibility, they are not without limitations when it comes to engaging with knowledge experts:

  • Lack of Personal Connection: Building rapport and establishing personal connections is more challenging through virtual interactions. In addition, Facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice play a crucial role in understanding someone’s message, which may be missed in online settings. It also makes any interactions had much more forgettable.
  • Technology Constraints: Technical issues, internet connectivity problems, or platform limitations can easily hinder smooth communication during digital events.
  • Steep Learning Curves: While there has been some improvement in this realm, many digital events still require the audience to learn how to navigate and best utilize the platform that is hosting the event. With dozens of hosting platforms for event holders to choose from, it can often seem like the audience is forced to learn a new technology with almost every digital event that they attend. It is very easy for attendees to miss certain content, or get frustrated and give up all together.
  • Distractions-a-Plenty: The convenience and accessibility of digital engagements can often be a double-edged sword. Registrants are often more prone to skipping digital events with the promise of recorded sessions being available after the event has ended. Even for those that do attend, it is rare that they give the sessions their undivided attention, often running the sessions in the background as they multitask with other work or personal endeavors. if you really want your audience to be present and pay attention, there simply is no substitute for being in the same physical space.

Reason 2: Authentic Connections + Networking

When it comes to professional growth, nothing beats the power of networking with peers. Despite the rise of digital communication, face-to-face conversations are still essential – and often preferred – for building strong, long lasting relationships.

In-person events offer a level of authenticity that virtual platforms can’t quite seem to capture. They provide multiple opportunities for:

  • Meaningful conversations
  • Sharing experiences and insights
  • Collaboration on potential projects
  • Learning from each other’s success stories and challenges

There’s something special about being in the same room as someone else, being able to shake their hand, look them in the eye, and have a casual chat over a cup of coffee. These physical interactions often lead to deeper connections, stronger trust, and more meaningful relationships with professionals in your field.

During an in-person event, you might:

  • Meet a future business partner during a networking break.
  • Find an answer to a burning question through a spontaneous conversation with an expert.
  • Spark an innovative idea through a discussion with another participant.

Success in any industry is often influenced by both knowledge and connections. In-person events provide a unique platform for forming these important relationships.

    Reason 3: Enhanced Experiential Opportunities

    Events positioned in new or exotic locations offer attendees more than just knowledge; they offer lasting memories, connections, and a sense of adventure that screens simply cannot convey. By integrating professional growth with personal exploration, these gatherings deliver value on multiple levels.

    Immersive Experiences

    • Unique Venues: Iconic landmarks or otherwise unique venues like The Mint or El Jebel provide distinctive backdrops that are simply impossible to replicate in a digital setting. Conversations flow differently in a noteworthy space, and help to make them much more memorable.
    • Local Culture: Events offer chances for attendees to sample regional cuisine, art, entertainment, and scenery, further enriching the overall experience.

    Creating Lasting Memories

    • Shared Experiences: Bonds forged during social outings or collaborative workshops at events often last long after the event has wrapped.
    • Travel as an Incentive: The prospect of attending sessions by day and exploring urban landscapes by night adds excitement, and is a potent motivator for attendance. Attending these events can also often be utilized as an employee performance incentive.
    • Stories to Tell: Participants return home not just with insights and contacts but with memories of their adventures that they are often eager to share with their colleagues.

    In-person events take advantage of our natural desire to connect with others and discover things together, further enhancing the overall experience.

    Reason 4: Direct Engagement with Knowledge Experts

    One clear advantage of live events is the ability to directly engage with knowledgeable keynote speakers and subject matter experts. Unlike digital platforms, in-person interactions allow for immediate feedback and personal connections that simply cannot be replicated online.

    Facilitating Meaningful Discussions

    When industry leaders and attendees come together in the same physical space, it creates opportunities for meaningful discussions and a deeper learning experience. Here’s why:

    • Spontaneous Questions: Attendees can ask questions on the spot, without any delay or limitations imposed by virtual platforms.
    • Seeking Clarifications: Complex topics can usually be better understood through face-to-face conversations where attendees can seek clarifications in real-time.
    • Diving Deeper: In-depth discussions on specific subjects are possible during networking sessions or breakout groups, allowing participants to dive deeper into areas of interest.
    • Interactive Workshops: Hands-on workshops conducted by subject matter experts enable participants to apply their learning immediately and receive personalized guidance.

    This direct engagement aspect is not just beneficial — it’s transformative, setting in-person events apart as a compelling choice for personal and professional development.

    Reason 5: Immersing in the Atmosphere of Live Environments

    The vibrant atmosphere of live environments is a compelling reason for the resurgence of in-person events. Gatherings like Experiential Marketing Summit in Las Vegas or Dreamforce in San Francisco are not just about the main sessions, but also about the dynamic energy and excitement that surrounds them. Attendees can immerse themselves in an environment pulsating with activity, where each interaction, big or small, contributes to a memorable experience.

    Extended Engagement Through Social Activities

    Consider the after parties and social activities associated with many in-person events. These typically serve as extensions of the main event, providing additional avenues for engagement and learning. These social activities offer attendees a chance to unwind, network informally, and forge connections that might otherwise be missed during formal sessions.

    Value of Spontaneous Interactions

    Let’s not forget the spontaneous interactions that happen at live events—the impromptu brainstorming sessions over coffee breaks or engaging conversations sparked by panel discussions. These unplanned moments often result in meaningful connections and valuable insights.

    While it’s true that virtual events have their own unique advantages, nothing quite matches the thrill and vibrancy of being physically present at an event. The energy, the excitement, and the sense of community that permeates live environments is something that virtual platforms strive to emulate but can never truly recreate.

    Reason 6: Amplified Brand Visibility and Engagement

    In the competitive marketplace, brand awareness is crucial for success. In-person events are a powerful way to increase visibility, especially among a carefully chosen target audience. When brands decide to participate in these live gatherings, they gain a valuable in-person platform to showcase their innovations and establish their presence in the market.

    How in-person events boost brand visibility and engagement:

    • Impressive Displays: Small digital banners in the footer of a virtual meeting space are little more than white noise. Our brains have become so used to tuning out online ads that we barely notice these anymore. Having the ability to develop large physical footprint at a live event allows for much more impactful branding opportunities. In addition, because it is in person, successful branding often leads to real-time conversations with the audience that you are targeting, as opposed to a link click and a form fill.
    • Showcasing Products and Services: An in-person event allows brands to present their offerings in an impressive and precise manner, often allowing potential customers to demo their offerings in real time. This grabs the attention of attendees who are actively interested or involved in the industry. Such direct exposure helps dramatically increase brand visibility, which can be challenging to achieve through other means.
    • Genuine Customer Engagement: Face-to-face interactions provide an authenticity that virtual settings struggle to match. These personal connections are powerful; they build trust and loyalty towards the brand among potential customers. Such interactions often result in stronger customer relationships and, consequently, a loyal client base.

    By leveraging the unique opportunities provided by in-person events, brands can significantly enhance their visibility and build deeper connections with those who matter most—their customers.


    The world of events is ever evolving, but one thing remains clear: digital events have a long way to go before they can ever match the impact of in-person gatherings.

    As we move further into a post-pandemic world, now is the time to revive the sense of community that can only flourish in the presence of others. We have the opportunity to create and participate in meaningful moments that touch us on a personal level and create lasting memories. It’s more than just an event; it’s a return to genuine connection and being present.

    Non Plus Ultra invites you to rediscover this magic. Let’s work together design unforgettable events that leave lasting impressions not just on business contacts but also in people’s hearts and minds. When you’re ready: