"Virtual Events" is how we describe multi-session (even multi-day) events like tradeshows, employee onboarding, association conferences, etc. that require different technologies than typical webinars, have many moving parts that need to be coordinated, or require heavy staffing to go live to cover concurrent sessions.
What’s distinctive about Virtual Events?
“Virtual Events” tend to be how people refer to multi-session or multi-day events that deliver the objectives and flow of onsite tradeshows and conferences that have more requirements and coordination. Three important parts of most Virtual Events are complex registration and attendee management scenarios, integrated ecommerce, and supporting sponsors and other vendors with virtual exhibit halls, etc.
What should you consider?
Virtual Events increase labor not only because of increased logistical and technical complexity, but because you’re coordinating speakers and rehearsals, vendors’ needs, and the need for multiple technical moderators (when there are simultaneous sessions). Further, the best virtual event platforms enable both live and simulated live sessions and offer both livestreaming and webinar options. Some clients even incorporate hybrid event sessions.
How does V2 approach virtual events?
One common thing we observe are Virtual Events where the planning begins as if it’s an in-person event...and then technical production team is brought in later. This may be fine with onsite venues, but it leaves money on the table when virtual. Why? Because there are a LOT of audience engagement tactics (even between sessions) that aren’t usually thought of when just scheduling content tracks and speakers. Our first motive is to meet you where you’re at no matter where you are in the process, but the sooner we can be part of the planning conversation, the more we can help you get beyond "pushing content" to "delivering experiences."
Supported tech and extras
Primary vendors include Hopin/Streamyard, ON24 and GoTo Webinar, while Zoom Events, Notified's InXpo and Webex Events (formerly Socio) are used by some clients. Virtual Events are especially awesome venues to incorporate other tools of engagment for interaction, contests, social-media style chatting, vendor promotion, etc. Virtual Events may also include virtual networking, event-wide chat that is separate from in-person chat, and/or the ability for participants to customize their own conference schedule/calendar.
At a glance...
Need to mimic the content of a multi-session (or even multi-day) conference with keynote speeches and concurrent, breakout event sessions
Need to welcome attendees with customized registration and ecommerce, welcome pages, customized event schedules, and integrated networking
Need to support sponsors and virtual exhibit hall(s), particularly in assisting them with preparing logos, banners, handouts, training for how they'll chat with attendees, and how they capture leads
Need to prepare lot of speakers both in terms of preparation for interaction (in an environment they may be less familiar with) and timing (when and how to join a 'green room,' how the session will go live and end, etc)
Assign dedicated point of contact (Program Manager) to coordinate team of technical event professionals
Direct the integration and production of various technologies employed
Coordinates real time engagement and support for online participants, including contests, giveaways, or other forms of interaction
Understands and coordinates gathering, formatting, and delivering reports for both individual sessions and global/overall performance
Coordinates and delivers customized attendance, participation, or continuing education certificates