Emerging technology offers astonishing possibilities for the future of virtual events, such as remotely attending music festivals or lavish galas that feel hyperrealistic despite happening thousands of miles away. XR, or extended reality, platforms are offering event creators unprecedented opportunities to bring their most unique event concepts to life through stunning digital experiences. So how can the industry leverage it to develop event concepts that drive up the wow factor for their attendees? Well, the kicker is, even with rapid growth, the coveted event tech comes without a handbook.
Last month, BizBash caught up with the CEOs of four top virtual event platforms to discuss best practices for hybrid, how technology will play a role in the future, what attendees want now and more. We also dove into whether extended reality (XR) is the future of virtual events and rounded up some steal-worthy strategies from the tech-forward virtual edition of SXSW.
When live events were put on hold due to the pandemic last year, event planners were forced to innovate virtually so people could still gather—just from a distance. Cue the rise of virtual and hybrid events and, along with it, a laser focus on how to host a virtual event that could successfully engage attendees at home, so they felt as connected as they did attending events in person.
Today, however, there’s more competition than ever for people’s virtual attention. As people begin traveling and interacting more in person, virtual will compete with live events (and shopping and coffee shops!) as well.
So, you can’t find the right platform for the virtual event of your dreams. Why not build your own?
That’s the approach Brad Nierenberg took for the 16th annual Chance for Life benefit, which took place Feb. 27. When it became clear that his annual 2,000-person poker tournament fundraiser couldn’t take place in person due to COVID-19, the Alexandria, Va.-based entrepreneur—who is the president and CEO of experiential marketing agency RedPeg as well as the founder of the Chance for Life charity—decided to launch Poker 501, a new non-gambling poker platform geared toward charitable events.
More than ever, event organizers, brands, and everyone in between are relying on virtual experiences to engage with their audience—whether planning a conference, team-building activity, or a VIP event. And while the industry has taken great strides, there’s still a struggle to break through all the digital noise.
Creating the same level of organic interaction as an in-person event isn’t easy. However, with a well-thought-out strategy, you will keep your virtual attendees engaged and focused (and away from Slack!).
Whether caused by taking part in a series of daylong video conference calls, catching up with loved ones from afar, or attending an event or meeting via an online platform (or a combination of all of these), virtual fatigue is a very real thing.
Now a year since the pandemic began, it’s clear that certain brands and organizations are coming out on top — those paying attention and addressing virtual fatigue by placing both their audiences and storytelling at the heart, thinking creatively and embracing new yet equally relevant technologies to enhance the virtual attendee experience.
Sponsorship Boost recently worked with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) on their virtual annual meeting. Sponsorship Boost was hired to write the virtual prospectus and execute the Annual Meeting’s exhibits and sponsorships on the CadmiumCD platform so that AAC&U could focus on the speakers, educational content, and networking. With their guidance and virtual expo experience, the AAC&U team seamlessly integrated their exhibit/sponsorship goals with the opportunities available on the virtual event platform.
Virtual events are growing in number and capabilities but many businesses are still looking for better opportunities or rather alternatives. One such alternative is: hybrid events.
As the world begins to sort-of adapt to the coronavirus pandemic, realizing that it’s not a temporary thing but rather a long-term situation, businesses, sectors, and industries are adapting to the new normal.
In the virtual events industry, one of those forms of adapting is the rise and development of hybrid event
Read more at: https://eventtus.com/blog/successful-hybrid-events/
facial recognition systems are a form of technology that you may not even realise you are using on a daily basis. the fundamental use of this technology is that it is capable of matching a human face from an image via a camera or video frame against a database of faces. this is typically used to authenticate users within id services and works by using facial features within a specific image. the prevalence of this technology is best illustrated with the use of using your face to simply unlock your phone or check your banking. however, with the emergence of virtual conference software and corporate virtual events, we now pose the question of how facial recognition is paving its way into the virtual event world.
let’s go back to march 2020, that first three weeks of being locked down in the uk, where the realms of online meetings and events were so unknown; we were all waiting for someone else to take that first step to organise a virtual event.
now a year on, the situation has reversed, online events are the new normal, and at sevenevents we’ve successfully pivoted our offering becoming a virtual events agency to enable our clients to stay consistent with their calendar of events. we have our own online conference platform, hub7 and have been running online team building activities almost daily.
The value of face-to-face interaction will never go away, but there are times when going virtual is a necessary part of your event program. But how do you turn a multi-day conference, filled with networking opportunities, educational sessions, and the attendee insights they generate into virtual events?
And once you do, how do you ensure attendees are engaged throughout the event?
Read more at: https://www.cvent.com/en/blog/events/virtual-events
Did you know that the virtual events industry is expected to exceed $400 billion by 2027?
The latest data from Grand View Research shows exactly that. It’s a whopping growth from the $78 billion reported for 2019.
But this shouldn’t come as a surprise. With the coronavirus pandemic forcing people to stay at home for almost a year – and with new strains emerging, virtual events are here to stay.
Read more at: https://eventtus.com/blog/virtual-event-statistics/
In the new normal, there are virtual events and virtual booths.
Both businesses and attendees knew what a booth looked like at an in-person event.
As an exhibitor or sponsor, you knew the amount of space you had, your location on the conference grounds, and had the opportunity to play with shapes and colors to stand out.
But what about a booth in a virtual venue?
Have you considered how using virtual networking ideas can make your event more exciting?
You probably may have. But the problem is that many businesses don’t know how to manage a virtual networking session.
Their big question: Can virtual networking mimic networking in physical events like the old days?
The answer is: Yes, it can.
There’s no doubt about it, 2020 was a rough year. Many industries and professionals were hit hard by the pandemic, but perhaps none more so than the live event industry. However, when adversity comes to call, you can choose to lie down and take a beating, or you can adjust and thrive. Transitioning from live events to virtual or hybrid ones is no easy feat. But if you’re considering hosting your first virtual event, you don’t have to do it alone. Our team is uniquely equipped to help you adjust to the virtual arena and make your virtual event a memorable experience that you, your vendors, sponsors, and attendees will never forget.
One of the most important benefits of virtual events is that, much like any other digital marketing activity, they generate a wealth of valuable data about attendee engagement and more. This information is far easier to capture when events are held online since every action is trackable. That said, it is also important to collect offline event data in the case of hybrid and in-person events. But, regardless of how you collect event data, the challenge lies in demystifying it to drive smarter decision-making and determine event ROI, and that’s where virtual event metrics and analytics come in.
Dedicated to promoting diversity in the advertising industry, the first 3% Conference in 2010 took place when three percent was the percentage of women in creative director roles. Two hundred people attended that first event in San Francisco. By 2019, the Chicago event drew 1,300 attendees and the percentage of director-level minorities and women had reached 29%. Buoyed by this progress, conference planners were gearing up for the biggest 3% Conference yet when the pandemic turned the event industry upside down.
Read more at: https://blog.hubb.me/3-percent-conference
Is it live or is it Memorex? In a recent blog, we touched on the debate about pre-recorded versus live content for virtual sessions. Should presenters stream live or record before the event? Conference planners get this question quite a bit while trying to determine which session types are right for a virtual event. And we don’t think that’s the right question to ask.
It’s really a question of risk.
First, we just have to say, “How will participants know if a session is live or not?’” Unless the presenter blows a snot bubble or holds up a newspaper when they recorded, they won’t.
It’s Thursday, which means it’s time to get your favorite brew and join the Event Brew crew as they talk about yet another subject of debate in the exciting new world of virtual events. They put their heads together and tried to answer the following question: are virtual events really more inclusive and accessible?
As always, the answer to the question is complex, but our hosts succeeded to tackle it from various perspectives. Will, Dustin, Nick, and Thuy were brimming with wisdom this week. Tune in to learn how to make virtual events more inclusive and accessible!
Read more at: https://helloendless.com/inclusive-virtual-events/
A year ago, the events industry had no choice but to master the art of virtual events. As restrictions are slowly lifting and the worst is hopefully behind us, we can glimpse into the future of post-Covid events. Our hosts Will and Brandt are event industry experts, so believe them when they say that the next big industry standard is hybrid events.
One of the greatest challenges the future poses is hybrid event interactions. How can we bridge the gap between the virtual and the in-person audience? The last thing we want is for the virtual guests to feel like flies on the wall or as if they were sitting at the kids’ table, as Brandt cleverly put it. But we are getting ahead of ourselves – tune in and learn what else our lovely hosts have to say about hybrid audience engagement and interactions between the two audiences.
Read more at: https://helloendless.com/hybrid-event-interactions/
Many modern event platforms provide basic virtual engagement tools, such as polling, chat, and live Q&A sessions. However, they barely scratch the surface when it comes to building a strong community. Attendees have high expectations, and many are growing fatigued by the amount of time spent in front of the screen. As such, they’re just one click away from leaving the event, especially given the many distractions that come with working from home.
Read more at: https://www.aventri.com/blog/virtual-event-engagement
Impact of the Pandemic on the Events Industry
As CDC enforced social distancing norms in the US to control the spread of the virus, large in-person events had to be canceled. Several states also put restrictions on public gatherings and closed venue sites. Some businesses that could not handle these changes folded while others started exploring alternative options like online events.
Today, virtual events have taken a front row as protecting the health of clients, vendors, and employees is a priority. Aventri has been providing a virtual event platform to help thousands of brands globally transform how they plan, promote, execute and analyze their virtual, hybrid, or in-person events.
While most of us have grown used to socially distant virtual events over the past year, people are becoming increasingly wary of how much time they spend in front of the screen. Leaving an event is always just a click away, which is why you need to follow the best practices when learning how to host a virtual networking event.
With that in mind, here are eight proven virtual networking event ideas to bring high engagement levels to virtual and hybrid events:
I had my first experience presenting at a Virtual Conference and it was a success, as far as I’m concerned. If this is the new reality going forward, I believe we’ll be fine.
For all of the organizations that have depended on trade shows, conferences, and other types of events to help generate business (sales leads, product sales and demos, etc.), fear not. There are great companies who have figured out how to “pivot” – make sure that the event you’re signing up for is one of them!
There isn’t a single problem we can’t solve if we combine our collective intelligence. This is the primary reason why virtual meetings must be collaborative. Without it, we risk squandering insights, ideas, and the perspective of our stakeholders.
During my last class, How to Facilitate Collaborative Meetings Online, we identified multitasking as the primary distraction factor while video conferencing, both personally and for our audiences.
When it comes to events, people with a disability often end up excluded because planners overlook accessibility in design considerations.
For instance, if you don´t work on web accessibility, you will exclude people with a visual impairment.
As leading event professionals have pointed out, data is a key differential of virtual events.
The shift to virtual has brought richer event data analytics, but attendees´ craving for in-person experience and connections remains.
So, how is hybrid event analytics going to work? How can organizers evaluate data relating to the same event but from two distinct formats?
Find out the reasons behind Clubhouse’s overwhelming success and what event profs can learn from it.
Clubhouse is buzzing. Founded a year ago, the company raised over $100 million in January at a $1 billion valuation.
Celebrities like Elon Musk and Oprah Winfrey are turning up at Clubhouse rooms. Invitations to the app have been selling for as much as $125 on eBay.
Discover the key platform features that will support your hybrid event production.
Hybrid events are complex. Understandably, event organizers struggle to connect and engage both virtual and in-person audiences. Broadcasting, technical or audio-visual issues can get in the way of hybrid event production.
Crucially, solely virtual event platforms are not adequate solutions for the hybrid format.
Determining the right session content is at the heart of conference planning and key to producing a successful event. At some point, while discussion rages about what to put in the box lunches or how many strobe lights to use at the dinner banquet, someone eventually pipes up and asks, “How will we connect with people and deliver a valuable experience to them?”
Because we all have decades of evidence about what works at a live event compared to months of experience building virtual ones, the conversation often starts with debate about live versus pre-recorded sessions.