As Aventri’s CEO Jim Sharpe says, “we know nothing beats the value of face-to-face meetings,” however, what happens when in-person meetings and events are restricted because of events like the coronavirus? Should meeting and event professionals just cancel their events altogether? The answer for many will be no, thanks to technology, like virtual event platforms.
In this guide, we will discuss some of the benefits of switching your in-person event to a virtual one. But first…
What are Virtual Events?
Virtual events, in its simplest definition, are events held online. Virtual events use web-based platforms to connect dozens to thousands of attendees from across the globe and often include interactive engagement features such as polling, Q&A, chat boxes, etc. Some of the top virtual event providers include Digitell, Evia, Intrado, ON24, Zoom, GoToMeeting and more.
Virtual events, like in-person events, can cover anything, but typically there are four types of virtual events: virtual conferences, webinars, internal hybrid events, and external hybrid events.
In light of the coronavirus, going virtual has become an increasingly more popular option as it helps organizations save money and all the hard work they put into their in-person events. Some examples of events that made the decision to go virtual during the outbreak include Salesforce's World Tour Sydney Reimagined, Facebook's F8 Developer Conference, and Microsoft Build.
Recommended Resources: Don't cancel your event, go virtual with Aventri! Learn more in our press release.
7 Benefits of Hosting Virtual Conferences
1. It’s Less Expensive
Meeting and event planners are always looking to save money, with shrinking budgets. Thanks to virtual events, the overall cost of putting on your event will be greatly reduced, 75 percent less expensive to be specific. Planners will save on staff, venue, setup and takedown, attendee’s hotels, meals, travel costs, and so much more. The only thing planners have to worry about paying is the costs of the virtual meeting platform.
2. It Saves Time
Because your event is virtual, you’ll also save yourself, your staff, and your attendees so much time. Although virtual events do require some setup time (e.g. event website, registration, event marketing, and promotion, etc.) it’s tremendously less than that of an in-person event. They also require no travel time! So, your employees and attendees can use that time to work on all the other important things that need their attention.
3. It’s Global
Planners are always trying to increase their event’s reach to engage more people. With virtual events, that’s easy! You can easily promote your event by sharing the link to your website and social media channels. People from across the world can join instantly without thinking about travel. Hosting a virtual event allows planners to grow their audience and get everyone to participate, no matter where they live.
4. It’s Flexible and Variable
Because virtual events take place online, you have a lot of flexibility in how you broadcast your event. Whether you’re hosting a thought leadership conference, a virtual town hall, a sales kickoff, or another type of event, you can choose to make the sessions interactive, offer different language options, invite guest speakers, and more.
5. It’s Easier to Make Connections
Because virtual events tend to be faster-paced since attendees don’t have to move from session to session or booth to booth, it can be easier to make connections with other attendees and speakers than an in-person event. And since everything is online, attendees can easily record important information, like people’s names, titles, etc., right on their tablet or computer.
6. It’s Easy to Collect Feedback
Like in-person events, feedback is crucial for virtual events. But unlike in-person events, attendees are constantly online at virtual events, which means they can easily answer real-time polls or surveys in sessions. Not only will this real-time feedback help presenters gauge how their session is going (which is especially valuable since these presenters cannot see attendees’ faces during some virtual events), but it will also be useful to measure the overall success of your virtual event.
7. It’s Easy to Measure Results
Although the data that virtual events produce varies depending on what platform and event management software you use, it should be easier to gather certain data on your event and attendees during your virtual event than an in-person event. Why? Because everything is done online, so it can be easily tracked. For instance, you can know when your attendees logged on, from where, the number of people attending, how they are paying, and so much more.
While the interest in virtual events has certainly spiked since the coronavirus pandemic, these benefits can be applied to the world of meetings and events long after the end of travel bans and gathering restrictions. If you're new to virtual, consider adding a virtual component to your future in-person events as a starting point and seeing how it goes. You're bound to discover a new way to expand and reach your audience.