The business is moving quicker than any time in recent memory. With the danger of COVID-19 organizers are confronting orders and calls to drop occasions all around. This was a hit to the business we never observed coming. Occasion profs around the globe are confronting the test of transforming their in-person occasion into a virtual occasion and quick. While our industry is no more unusual to challenges, this is one of the greatest we have looked in quite a while. Be that as it may, our industry is solid and we will go ahead!

Launching a virtual event is a great way to bring an in-person event online and grow your business. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, more conferences and meetings are going digital.

Some companies have already fully transitioned their onsite events online. Microsoft converted its Build Developer Conference into an virtual event. Google transformed its three-day Google Cloud Next 2020 conference into a digital experience. And Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference shifted its content online using livestreams and webinars.

What is a virtual event?

Odds are you’ve attended a webinar online, watched an on-demand workout class, or joined a meeting using a video conferencing tool. You might even have attended a conference from the comfort of your desk. These are all examples of virtual events. A virtual event is one where individuals experience the event and its content online rather than gathering in-person.

4 Main Types of Virtual Events
Client Success Webinar

With regards to your complete occasion program, virtual occasions can be added to the blend of occasions you have, occasions you join in, and your interior occasions. Virtual occasions are not a swap for different kinds of occasions, yet another sort to add and to upgrade your whole program. The following are the four fundamental sorts of virtual occasions.

1. Webinars

Webinars typically last somewhere from 45 to 80 minutes. Holding webinars virtually allows attendees from around the world to join in and listen as one or more speakers present the content. Companies can charge attendees to join webinars using online payment services or can be offered for free. Webinars typically use video conferencing tools that allow Q&A, the ability to present live or a pre-recorded video, and be offered as on-demand after the fact. Due to their one-off educational nature, webinars have thrived with 100% virtual attendance. These can also include internal and external trainings.

2. Virtual Conferences

Much like in-person conferences, virtual conferences are built around a live, complex agenda that includes keynotes, sessions, breakouts, and more. Virtual conferences include multi-session content and can involve community engagement tools. While not as effective in terms of lead capture and networking as an in-person event, virtual conferences allow attendees to view keynotes in real-time, build their own agenda from relevant, on-demand content, and interact with other attendees.

3. Internal Hybrid Events

These are town halls, sales kick-offs, companywide events, trainings, department meetings, and more. For organizations that span countries, even continents, internal hybrid events are used to share a message to the entire company when employees are not all gathered in the same place. While it would be great to fly every employee to your organization’s headquarters, it would be incredibly costly, and the scheduling required would be time-consuming. The next best option is to host events that are part in-person, part virtual.

4. External Hybrid Events

These events are held for those outside of your organization. They can be user conferences or industry conferences. These events require higher levels of video production so that virtual attendees are provided a similar quality to in-person attendees. These events allow attendees who are unable to travel to the event to participate and learn. It is challenging to provide the same value at external hybrid events, as in-person attendees are able to network more freely and engage easily with content than those attending virtually.

Why Host a Virtual Event?

Concerned about cost, accessibility, and flexibility when it comes to your events? A virtual event can be the answer to your event challenges.

Virtual events are a highly effective way to deliver content without the cost and planning involved in a face-to-face event. Never tried a virtual event? Here are a few reasons to consider it:

1. It saves time and money.

Short on time and budget? Virtual events offer incredible savings in both budget and time, making it the preferred alternative to a face-to-face event. If budget is the hurdle, you can deliver the same great content virtually to your audience for a fraction of the cost.

And if time is of the essence for your event, virtual events help you stay ahead of the game. Virtual events take a lot less time to deploy which is a big win when you need to push out urgent updates and high-priority amendments. Virtual events can be planned and executed in as quickly as 24 hours depending on the content.

If you’re tight on budget and time, but need to deliver a message to your audience worldwide, virtual events are the perfect solution.

2. Increased accessibility.

Virtual meetings reach a broader audience with the same content no matter the location or time zone. Anytime. Anywhere. How’s that for accessibility!

And as a bonus, your live virtual events can be recorded so that the content can be accessed long after the event as a reference or for future training, improving the consistency of your message to every attendee. This can easily be accomplished with our proprietary On-Demand Trainer/Learning Management System.

Virtual meetings offer both exponential reach and accessibility by easily bringing the content directly to your audience.

3. Improved technology.

Virtual event technology has gotten better with age. Technology challenges are far less likely now with the improvements in virtual technology over the past 10 years.

When you work with a corporate event planner like Miller Tanner, you’ll get access to cutting-edge technology and skilled technicians to ensure a seamless virtual event.

Our expert team handles not only the meeting logistics but is also available to troubleshoot any issues a participant may have in real time ensuring a successful outcome. For instance, we have deployed last-minute invitations and had additional attendees join right on the spot thanks to virtual technology.

Don’t let your event hurdles keep you from hosting a successful event. Virtual events offer a cost-effective, efficient approach to your events and allow for access to content management before, during and after your event.

In-person or Virtual – The Fundamentals Matter

Event planning comes down to the fundamentals. All events, in-person or virtual, are likely already part of your integrated marketing mix. Are you thinking about your in-person and virtual events holistically? Think about it. Your customers and prospects will attend both your in-person events and your virtual ones. They all work together with the rest of your marketing mix to reach and engage your audiences and give you the full picture of interest. So virtual events shouldn’t be soiled away from the rest of your events. They need to be integrated into your meetings and events program.

Event Planning Fundamentals

Virtual events, like in-person events, need good marketing. Without targeted, effective promotion, attendance suffers.
Content is king. In a virtual setting, your content is your event. Powerful keynotes and engaging sessions tailored to your attendees are critical.
Alone doesn’t have to mean lonely. Keep virtual attendees engaged. Offer options that are relevant to each attendee type and utilize online event guides for virtual events.
Data is the only way to prove event success. Measuring engagement and capturing attendee data are the only way to prove event ROI and activate the buyer’s journey

But In-person Events and Virtual Events Aren’t Exactly the Same

Virtual events have limitations that in-person events don’t. Where in-person events can draw attendees with a unique destination and the promise of networking, virtual events must rely on content. Marketers and planners need to market content to the segments that get the best response. And, for virtual events, planners must decide how to provide content. At in-person events, breakout sessions and multiple content options are held at the same time. Are you planning a virtual event that also needs to offer multiple content options simultaneously or are you offering multiple single content experience? It’s a decision that has to be made. Not only that, engaging attendees through virtual meetings is more difficult and requires creativity and event technology like mobile event apps to make an impact.

Virtual Event Elements

Live streaming has been around in the events industry for a long time. What is new, however, is the availability of technology that makes streaming accessible and the quantity of video that is consumed on a daily basis.

To illustrate the scope, Facebook reports 8 billion video views from 500 million users every single day and Livestream powers over 6 million events each year.

So if you haven’t thought about taking your event online, now is the perfect time to do it.

Here are the elements that make up a virtual event:

Event website
Event registration
Live presentation content
Live, one-way audio/video
Question and answer
Live polling
Note taking/favorite slides
Recorded content
Interactive video conferencing
Feedback surveys

The Basics: How to Host a Virtual Event

Virtual events still sound a little futuristic, but they’ve been happening since 1993 when the world’s first livestream brought us nail-biting webcam footage of a coffee maker in mid drip. The streaming pot brewed up millions of views.

In some ways little has changed in 2020. On TikTok, teenagers have gone viral with sleep feeds, raking in crypto coin as they catch some zzz’s. But tech and social media upgrades have opened the door to new ways to connect online, from virtual museum tours to live Q&As with astronauts in space.

Even some of the largest conferences have gone partially or completely digital. Moving events like this online can reduce costs and carbon footprints, and make attendance accessible to a wider audience. In 2018, Coachella’s YouTube livestream brought Beyoncé’s Homecoming to more than 41 million people in more than 232 countries, rather than just the hundreds of thousands in attendance in person.

Understand Your Audience

You need to have a solid gasp of your audience’s general psyche. Are they more inclined to partake in virtual event planning? How tech-savvy are they? There are so many more questions you need to be asking in order to build a strong demographic profile.

A few other questions to ask include:

What subject areas in your industry are they most interested in?
How familiar or active are they with basic social media?
What types of offer do they respond best to? (e.g. discount codes, sweepstakes)
Send out surveys or start a discussion forum to acquire answers from your audience. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you get the information one way or another.

Define Your Format

Just like live conferences, virtual event planning comes in many formats. It could be a seminar with one person taking the stage, or it could be more like a tradeshow or workshop. The key is to create a unique experience, something that is different than what the competitors may be doing.

If your budget allows, you can also hire a design firm to create a personalized theme or “storyboard.”

Choosing a Platform

There are so many livestreaming services out there. Some of the popular options include Periscope, Facebook Livestream, and YouTube Live. These services more or less offer the same basic features; it really is more a matter of personal preference.

Most services also offer a free trial where you can perform dry runs before the event. This allows you to familiarize yourself with the basic functionalities while testing virtual event planning services, such as the timeliness and helpfulness of live technical support.

Choosing a Host/MC

Who will be hosting the event? You can hire a professional speaker or it can even be an in-house staff member who is comfortable enough presenting live before a remote audience. Whoever the designated person is, he/she should be able to speak clearly, respond to questions fielded though social media, introduce speakers, and so on. The host should also be comfortable looking straight into the camera and not at a script in his hands.

Market Your Event

Virtual events have to be marketed just like a typical live event. This is where social media comes into play. Yes, there’s the usual methods of Facebook posting and tweeting. You have to go beyond that, though, and also incorporate other methods.

Perhaps you can use Instagram or Snapchat to show viewers the venue where the event will take place.

Choosing the Venue

Just because it’s virtual event planning doesn’t mean it should be held at your office. Yes, technically you can do that, and you will save a lot of money by doing so. However, remember that there will still be a live speaker and/or workshops and tradeshows, and you need space for those accommodations. While you don’t need an overly lavish and spacious venue, you still need to find a venue with the basics like a stage with a podium and audio/visual equipment.

Choosing a Time and Date

Geographical concerns are a total nonissue with a virtual event. The time, however, is still just as relevant as ever. Naturally, the best times are weekends during the early evenings. However, it’s not that simple. Is there other important stuff going on at the designated event time? Does the event time coincide with that high-profile sports game or finale of Dancing with the Stars?

You can even ask your audience for time and date suggestions and go with the one when most people will be available. Another thing you should take into consideration is the number of oversea followers and whether the time difference will work for them. Ultimately, though, you can always upload the video on YouTube after the live show, so don’t get too caught up in finding the perfect time.

How to Turn an In-Person Event Into a Compelling Virtual Experience

1. Scope the challenge and assemble teams

2. Shortlist your session content

3. Plan online audience engagement

4. Prep the team for live broadcast without an audience

5. Keep everyone informed

Including virtual occasions as a key advanced methodology to your gathering and occasion program is a smart thought. While we realize that virtual occasions don’t hold a similar intensity of face-face communications, conditions may require going virtual, some of the time without prior warning. Having an arrangement, and the best possible innovation, set up will mean a turn to computerized can be an elective you have full trust in, and one you can trust to convey the drawing in, instructive encounters to participants that you strive to make occur.