Cost Comparison: In-Person vs Virtual Career Fairs

 Cost of In-Person vs Virtual Career Fair

With the rise in popularity of virtual career fairs in recent years, we’ve not only found that virtual events create a more personal experience but also tend to be more effective at creating meaningful connections between students and employers. But is it more cost-effective as well? If you haven’t already figured this out yourself as you review your 2020 budgets versus actual spend, GradLeaders has created a cost comparison between physical in-person and virtual career fair costs.


Cost to Host an In-Person Career Fair 

Venue Rental: $5,000- $15,000 

Renting out a venue for your event is typically the most expensive cost. This price is dependent upon the size of the venue, the location, and the duration of the event. A mid-sized event with an estimated audience of 300 would cost around $8,000.  

Technology and Equipment: $1,000 

Setting up the venue with professional equipment including lighting, projectors, WIFI and employer booths all cost around $1,000. This cost includes a professional to assemble and assist with operations throughout the event.  

Parking: $1,000 

It’s important to designate a specific parking lot for your guests to prioritize their convenience. This typically costs anywhere from $1,000- $1,500.  

Personnel: $5,000 

To staff a physical career fair, you typically need 1 worker for every 12 attendees. If your career fair has 300 attendees, then you’ll need 25 workers. Their typical pay is $20 an hour and if your event is eight hours long, you’ll be paying your staff $4,000 plus $1,000 for a setup and cleanup fee.  

Catering: $2,100 

In-person career fairs can sometimes last up to 8 hours. That’s a long day for employers and recruiters to be talking with students, so they need a few things to keep them motivated. A break room with drinks, snacks, and breakfast/ lunch can become pricy with a larger group. If you’re serving 60 professionals at $35 per person, you can expect to pay an estimated total of $2,100 on food and drinks.  

Marketing: $13,250 

Effective marketing ensures that the public is aware of your event and excited to attend. But driving attendance to a physical event can be costly. To increase participation, marketing campaigns have to include email, print, web design and social media. This cost may be lower depending on your needs. But web design and event registration software typically costs $4,000, email marketing software costs around $3,000, social media software costs around $250, mobile event apps cost nearly $5,000, and print materials like flyers, signs, and maps can cost at least $1,000.  


Cost to Host a Virtual Career Fair 

Though some online event solutions can cost over $20,000, to host a virtual career fair through GradLeaders the starting cost can be as little as $6,000 for current customers. Plus, this includes everything from attendee registration and payment processing to event promotion, live video hosting and engagement reporting.  And if used as part of the complete platform, can handle everything from job boards and internships to advising, workshops, interviews, and more.



As shown above, the total cost of an in-person career fair can easily reach $30,350 or more in comparison to a virtual career fair which can start at just $6,000. On top of cost savings, virtual career fairs have less restrictions, increasing engagement and effectiveness leading to a more desirable outcome 

If you’re thinking about hosting a virtual career fair this year, give us a call. We’d love to help!