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Unveiling the Hidden Costs of Your Virtual Event

Unveiling the Hidden Costs of Your Virtual Event

With fully and partially virtual events now part of every meeting professional's toolbox, it can be hard to determine what kind of costs – especially those that are “hidden” or less obvious – go into producing a virtual experience. This is where the experts at LAI come in! We can help you unveil the different types of costs that go into producing an event and how the costs that once were associated with in-person events get translated over to virtual. 

In our Plan V series, during our segment, Plan V: Virtually In-Person, we split up into breakout sessions, one of which covered the “hidden costs” of virtual events. Moderated by Senior Vice President of LAI Live and LAI Video Helena Lehman, this breakout session was solely about pricing in the world of virtual events. The hidden costs covered included: 

Keep reading to learn more about each hidden cost, and how they might apply to your next virtual event! 


As virtual events continue to increase in demand, we are seeing people repurpose what they were doing in the past into doing something new. This can be anything from building new skills to building new products for their organization. It takes time, and trial and error, for people to properly master these new skills or to create the perfect product for their organization – thus posing as a hidden cost to your virtual event.  


Along with mastering new skills, people are also required to do different types of work tailored to the virtual world, sometimes work they had never even seen before. As people stray further from the work they did in the past and continue to learn new skills, more time and money will be needed to dedicate to these new deliverables to ensure that these virtual events play out as smoothly as in-person events had. Hiring a seasoned virtual event producer is a really great way to manage all the new demands that come with virtual, while keeping your team focused on what they do best – planning meetings. 

Opportunity Cost ​​​​​​​

With there now being more of a balance between in-person and virtual events, time dedicated to researching and planning for one takes away focus from the other. In planning your virtual event, you'll be specifically focused on selecting the right technology platform, adding enhanced production and video elements, developing new and interesting types of content, and new ideas for sponsors and exhibitors. This is an opportunity to think beyond just the current challenges. As you're working to innovate your event format for the virtual world, consider how you might apply the ideas you implement for your virtual event to subsequent in-person or hybrid events.  

Unintended Consequences/Future Cost 

Working virtually made so many of us realize that things that we typically do in person – weekly meetings, speaker visits, coffee talks – can be done virtually from the comfort of our homes. Because of this, drivers for in-person events are decreasing, but not so much that people are choosing to only attend virtual events. The hidden cost comes in the form of a potential loss of attendees who choose to go to in-person events over virtual ones. 

Increasing Expectations 

Attendees saw it all during the stay-at-home era of events. As virtual events continue to evolve, Zoom is no longer good enough for many organizations when it comes to planning. As people attend more virtual conferences, they continue to want those elements of surprise and delight, anything from video, graphics, and engagement tools to special events within conferences.  


Sources of revenue that are reliable for in-person events – conference registrations, sponsors, exhibitors, and others – can be potential future lost costs in the virtual world. We cannot rely on traditional revenue sources that we depended on in an in-person environment. Now is the time to be innovative and see how we can apply the things we've learned from producing virtual events to in-person events and vice versa. 


It is important to note that hidden costs are different for every stakeholder. Different organizations have different needs, and their hidden costs will reflect accordingly. However, having an understanding of these basic hidden costs will help you better prepare for your next virtual event!  

As you plan your virtual event, LAI is here to help you determine event pricing, best practices, program enhancements, and more! Reach out to our team today to start talking all things virtual:

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