TLDR: Yes… obviously.
Ok, so it’s hardly going to send shockwaves through the business community that an event run online will reduce energy consumption (and therefore energy bills) when compared to a live, physical event. So the real question is, ‘Can you use digital events to make tangible energy savings without compromising customer relations?’.
That’s the question Marketing + Technologies Group Sustainability Officer, Dr Chiara Civardi, answers in her latest report (read here). The evidence-based guide is designed to help companies reduce their energy uses associated with customer-oriented activities. It focusses on how digital technologies can successfully support such activities; benefitting customers through enhanced accessibility and better access to support, while helping businesses to reduce cost and environmental impact.
Heat or meet?
In the decade between 2011 and 2021 the average electricity prices for non-domestic consumers in the UK increased by around 50%. Then in the period from 2021 to 2022 they nearly doubled again, putting strain on all but the most robust of businesses. This paradigm shift away from (relatively) cheap energy to today’s elevated prices has been forecast to last for at least the next decade, which is why reducing energy consumption in industry is now a matter of survival as much as it is about our responsibility to the environment.
This brings me back to Dr Civardi and her report.
Having established the premise that nearly all businesses in the UK need to reduce their energy consumption – whether to reduce costs or meet upcoming emissions targets – she presents the argument that a simple way to reduce energy consumption is to reduce travel and building occupancy:
“Therefore, while having a visitor for 1 hour would increase the energy requirements of a commercial building by 1kW, without considering any special equipment that needs to be switched on, moving online would only require 0.077 kW”
Just to reiterate from earlier, no one reading this is going to be surprised that hosting a customer online rather than in person is going to save you energy. The real question is, will that customer’s experience remain positive and lead to the same (or greater) opportunity for sales.
Have your cake and eat it
All studies done into the impact of virtual/digital/hybrid events (and there have been a lot since 2020!) show that a well-managed online experience can be just as effective as a physical event.
An online extension to your physical event calendar makes it possible to keep in contact with your audience throughout the year, easily updating content and remaining current with the ever evolving industry landscape. Accessibility is often greater for several key demographics and it’s much easier for your customers to invite their contact to experience your virtual event if it’s always on.
As we move into 2023 a lot of the conversations that V-Ex is having relates to importance of improving accessibility of events and addressing the ever increasing energy pressures. This report was commissioned to drive home the message that digital events are viable solution to both – something that every forward thinking business should be looking to add to their event strategy.