These days, many organizations are hosting virtual events instead of in-person ones. This could be for various reasons, but it seems to be working well for those doing it and for good reason. There are several advantages to having your event online rather than in-person. Some organizations are even doing it both ways: hosting the event in-person and stream it online for those who can’t attend.
A virtual event is an event that is held online, which means that attendees can view/participate from anywhere in the world. Typically, these events have a plan with various presentations, which are all streamed online. One of the companies that provides a great way to join the virtual event bandwagon is https://viafoura.com/.
Four Types of Virtual Events
Virtual events can be anything, but there are typically four types of virtual events:
- Virtual meetings
- Internal hybrid events
- External hybrid events
Virtual Meeting Platforms
So many people these days are working from home, so meetings are taking place on platforms such as GoogleMeet, Webex, and Zoom. These platforms are ideal for interactive sessions. Additionally, you can break up the sessions into smaller groups. The whole company typically uses the media, and the IT department manages them. These gatherings are typically internal and have no defined marketing goal.
A webinar is a virtual seminar and is a format that has been used for 20 years because it’s a beautiful way to share content with an audience. Typically, there is a single session with an objective. Organizations use webinars to build awareness of their products and services, increase conversions, demonstrate their expertise in a particular field, and so much more. In addition, since webinars are geared towards a different audience than a meeting, these platforms offer more capabilities for tracking attendees.
Hybrid Event Platforms
Due to the pandemic, virtual events have surged in popularity, which means the industry will more likely move towards more hybrid events. A hybrid event combines the virtual and in-person concepts. This way, if an individual would prefer to attend in-person, they have that opportunity. Still, if an individual is unable to attend in person or would prefer to attend virtually, they have that opportunity. This opens the events up to more attendees.
Advantages of Virtual Events
For many event planners, “virtual” is still a fairly unfamiliar concept. If in-person events are preferable, why would planners even consider organizing a virtual event? Planners are concerned that they may not get the same level of participation or reach revenue goals through virtual events, whereas they would with an in-person event. However, there are some advantages to virtual and hybrid events that may not be recognized right away. We will discuss five of those below.
When it comes to virtual events, one of the most common misconceptions is that it takes away from the organization’s in-person events. However, the truth is, they actually have the opposite effect. There are many issues, including finances and health reasons, that people can’t attend an in-person event. If you offer a virtual event, those who have issues attending an in-person event are able to participate. In addition, this may encourage them to invest in your future events.
Save Time and Money
Due to the pandemic, many organizations are experiencing budget cuts, which means that there’s less money for in-person events. Virtual events can be up to 75% less expensive than an in-person event, since no money needs to be allocated for things like accommodations, meals, travel expenses, staff, setup/takedown, venue, and other incidentals. Basically, the only cost for a virtual event is the platform.
In addition to saving money, you can save time when you host a virtual event over an in-person one. While there is some setup time required, such as creating an event website and registration forms, marketing and promoting the event, etc. and coordinating with the presenters, it’s a lot less than what is required for an in-person event.
Virtual events are ideal for those organizations that have budget constraints or need something put together quickly.
Since virtual events take place online, you don’t have to worry about committing to a specific venue for your event. you can host it from absolutely anywhere, no matter what type of event it is. Plus, your presenters are free to make their presentations from anywhere in the world and attendees can attend from anywhere. You’re not limited on how many people can attend because a venue only allows for a certain number of people.
Additionally, you can make your sessions interactive, offer various language options, invite guest speakers, and so much more. The possibilities are almost endless when you host a virtual event.
Collect Important Information
When it comes to any event, you must gather and measure feedback and engagement of your participants. However, it can be challenging to get people to participate and use tools such as mobile event apps or surveys with in-person events. In the case of virtual events, all participants need to do is use the online platform and the available engagement tools.
Plus, feedback on virtual events is done in real-time, so you don’t have to wait for all the surveys/feedback forms to come in and go through them. This helps the presenters see how their session is going and measures the event’s success as a whole.
Though the data produced depends on the platform and management software you use, it is much easier to gather data through a virtual event than an in-person event.
Since a virtual event can be put together in as little as two days, it is a great back-up plan for those times when an in-person event must be postponed or cancelled. It can be the key to saving the event instead of simply cancelling it to reschedule when the opportunity arises.
Since virtual events are becoming more common, it’s a good idea to add it to your repertoire of event planning due to a variety of reasons. While it’s true that perhaps they don’t have as much power as an in-person event, sometimes they are necessary. If you have a plan and the proper technology, you can be sure it’s a viable alternative to provide the engaging and informative experiences that your attendees need.