Tech and social media upgrades have opened the doors 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. From live-tweeting to livestreaming, businesses and organizations are staging virtual events across the web.
So, is your company ready to get digital?
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.
When it comes to your total event program, virtual events can be added to the mix of events you host, events you attend, and your internal events. Virtual events are not a replacement for other types of events, but a new type to add and to enhance your entire program.
Here are the four main types of virtual events:
Holding a typical 45 to 80 minute webinar 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 these 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.
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 or 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?
Virtual events are held for the same reasons as in-person events: to deliver your company’s message to drive leads and revenue, drive adoption, and build loyalty lifetime value. Meeting and event planners have been making the choice between in-person, virtual, and hybrid events for years.
Here are some reasons why you should consider hosting a virtual or a hybrid event:
While the event is still being held in-person, virtual options allow you to accommodate attendees who are unable to attend in person.
Your organization needs to cut costs and making smaller events and webinars virtual can help move money to the biggest event of the year that brings in the largest number of leads. It also helps to have a virtual or hybrid option when attendee budgets to travel are a concern.
- When you don’t have another option
Whether due to the extreme weather, travel bans, or an act of God, you’re forced to make your in-person event virtual instead of cancelling it.
Are you ready to dive into the virtual world?
You’ve decided that you want or need to plan a virtual or hybrid event. So how do you do it?
Rely on the knowledge of the BluePoint Venue event experts and technical assistance team!
BluePoint offers customized streaming packages including camera rental, technical assistance, creation of a web page to broadcast your event, as well as other options that we would be happy to show you during your next visit!