Whenever we hear the word events or come to know that any event is happening nearby the very first sight which comes in our mind is a social gathering where people are enjoying their weekends and spending quality times with their near and dear.
But the outbreak of coronavirus has replaced “the normal” to “the new normal”. Also, this pandemic situation has compelled the event professionals to follow “social-distancing” for any “social-gathering”. In this unprecedented time, what comes to rescue the event industry is “virtual event”
If you’re still measuring how serious the impact is or how huge the loss that the event industry has to bear, then here’s a little piece of information: Exhibitions and trade fairs alone account for up to 60,000 events in leading 11 countries.
If we talk about countries like India where the event industry plays an important role in the growth of the economy of the country. EEMA (Event and Entertainment Management Association) recently conducted a member survey with 170 companies that were affected by COVID 19. The report highlights the loss of revenue that occurs in the Indian Event Industry.
Some of the key findings of the report:
- Around 52.91% of companies resulted in 90% of their business being cancelled between March-July 2020
- 63.1% companies i.e. around 107 companies suffered from a revenue loss of up to 1 CR
- Around 7 companies envisage a 50%-80% retrenchment of their current workforce and 35 between 25%-50%
- The ideal working capital/loan expected to keep afloat for the next 6 months is around 2-5 CR for 39 companies and 1-2 CR for 118 companies
- Around 97 companies will need to raise capital or debt from institutions or shareholders, VC funding, etc.
However, it is rightly said, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Similarly, the event sector made space for numerous innovative ideas such as hosting events in such a way that viewers can enjoy the performance of their favorite artists right from the comfort of their homes. Then most of us have realized that the future of our industry is virtual events.
So the team of eventshala has decided to introduce a series of blog posts to educate you from the basics to the broad concepts of the virtual events or a step by step guide on how to host virtual events. And here I am with
The ultimate guide to hosting a successful virtual event in 2020
Without taking much of your time. Let’s start with the very basic question of the virtual events.
What is a virtual event?
A Virtual Event or hybrid event (popularly known) is a new kind of event which allows people to interact in a virtual environment on the web using any sort of technology where no physical presence of guest or host is needed.
In layman language, we can say that a Hybrid Event is a gathering of people on an online platform with the help of the internet to meet their common interests. Such a Digital Event offers you a wide range of variety, say it, from business meeting to trade show, from virtual job fairs to a company wide gathering or it’s a new product launch.
Differences between a live event and a virtual event
This is a very common question which generally arouses in the mind of many newbie event managers. Especially for them, we have created this handy infographic summing it all up.
Benefits of Virtual Events
Now when you have cleared your doubts regarding how an in-person event or a live event is different from a virtual or an online event. Let me tell you some groundbreaking reasons why you should host an event digitally.
- Cost Effective
With the introduction of affordable and hand to hand technology, it becomes easier for the host and planner to save another penny. Thanks to the virtual event. The overall cost for throwing events will drop by up to 70 percent. Your event manager needs not to think about event crew, venue setup, hotel attendee’s, meals and travel costs. It’s a win-win game for both host and planner.
- Time saving
We all know Time is money. By choosing a Hybrid version of the event host and guests can add extra hours in their day. Since this is all digital you and your staff can save a lot of time. There is no need to travel and all hour-long stuff activity.
Although there is a need for event website, registration, event marketing and promotion, etc. but its relatively less than that of an in-person event.
- Global engagement
What business wants the answer comes with ease “expansion”.
A virtual event is becoming a change agent in the field of event management. An event planner is always trying to increase the event’s reach to engage more people. All credit goes to technology for making dream comes true. You can share your link and invite people across the globe to join. Simply Add more, Earn more.
- Flexible and variable
Because Virtual event take place online you have a lot of flexibility in how you want to broadcast your event. This digital road carries you to a vast variable i.e time, venue, person, attendee, host, speaker. It allows you to seat on the driving seat of the event.
- Easy data collection and feedback
Whether its science, economics, business or event everything run on data. The greater the data the better the performance. Here the plus point with the digital event that you can collect data through an online poll. A virtual event or virtual conference allows you to reduce the time consumed in the manual data collection by filling a form or by sending mail. In countries like India, with its dense population, it’s hard to assume people’s choice.
It almost sounds unbelievable that you can connect with attendees in the same way virtually as in-person. With one to one video conference and live networking room, virtual business card and integrated social media chamber its easier than ever to make a long-lasting connection.
Ops! You missed the event. No need to scratch your head, we have the recordings for you.
In the physical event once the event ended the doors are closed and you can return to the past. With the latest Hybrid technology, it’s possible to reorganize the event. A virtual event allows you to host the event multiple times. It can bring a fond memory back. Removing the outdated format of rigid attendance, this repeat telecast can boost the productivity of your conference.
Types of Virtual Events
Knowing the benefits of the virtual events must have pushed your interest to know more about it. So here below I have listed down the four main types of virtual events. Although the set-up and the components required for almost all these virtual events are the same as they all required an online platform to be hosted.
Webinars are virtual events that combine High Definition video, integrated audio, live polls and more to engage audiences from around the globe. This kind of online event lets attendees listen to or watch a speaker present content, no matter where they are situated. If you have good content for the webinar which helps the attendees to understand the topic of the discussion well then you will get good results.
Key Takeaway: In-Person Events which can be organized through a webinar are Product demonstration events, Board Meetings, Sales Funnels and many more.
If you are looking for an event software which can help you to host a webinar, Check GoToWebinar.
2. Virtual Conferences
Virtual conferences comprise multi-session content moreover as community engagement tools. Conferences are an amazing way to gather users, customers, and thought leaders in your industry to celebrate and learn.
In layman term, “A virtual conference is an activity, organized in a way that participants can meet and discuss themes of common interest through the use of communication tools at a central location on the Internet.”
Key Takeaway: If you are not much confident about the virtual event, virtual conferences are the best one to get intimidated with. In-Person Events which can be organized through this are Keynote Sessions, On-site meetings, Press Conference, Seminars and many more.
3. Virtual Music Concerts
Through the virtual platforms, you can attend live music concerts while sitting back in your home. It helps the organizer to cut the cost for putting huge setups say like stages, sound systems, truss and many more. These all setups will shrink into the artist room where he just required a high quality recording camera setups for better visuals with an integrated sound for clear audios.
The event planner can simply live stream the whole concert from his social media channels and can invite audiences from around the globe. Even the event marketing cost will come to half of the live concert promotions.
Key Takeaway: Organizers can use suitable virtual event platforms to host the concert and can seek charges from the targeted audience to get access to enjoy the concert. Collaboration with brands can help the event organizer to get revenue in the lieu of event sponsorship.
4. Virtual Trade Shows
In-Person trade shows are one of the major pillars of events and exhibition industry. Due to the pandemic, many exhibitions have been canceled which were supposed to held in 2020. GSMA, the organizers of the world’s largest mobile industry exhibition, the Mobile World Congress 2020 announced the cancellation of the event on February 13 after a large number of sponsors and exhibitors withdrew from MWC 2020 citing health concerns.
Virtual platforms have come into the rescue of such trade shows organizers as hosting virtual trade shows can bring many perks to the companies launching new products as they can grab audiences from across the globe. No need for huge venues and huge structures, No need to spends money on setting up registration booths and providing transfer facilities to the visitors. What you all need is to create a virtual trade show booth where you can easily showcase your products digitally.
Key Takeaway: You can host tech-based virtual trade shows, handicrafts or handmade products trade shows, jewelry products trade shows and many more. There are a variety of tools available in the market to host virtual trade shows say like INXPO, vFairs, eZ-XPO and many more.
How to host a successful Virtual Event: A Virtual Event Checklist
- Define your event
As similar to in-person events, the first and foremost step to host a virtual event is to define the goal of your event. You have to find answers for the below-mentioned question which can help you to define your event
- What do you want to offer?
- Who is your target audience?
- What is the main goal of your event? For example, sales, AGM, etc.
- Decide your event format or theme
The event format is basically the “type of event” you are looking to host. As already discussed, here are a few types of events that you can consider:
- Virtual Events
- Online Conference
- Define your target audience
Once you finalized the theme of the event, it will help you to find your target audience. Every event is organized by keeping in mind what your target audience wants or why they will spend their hard-earned money to pay for your event. So defining your target audience help you prepare the engaging content for your virtual event. As in the case of the virtual events are all about content, it may be visuals or audio.
- Prepare a budget for your virtual event
After defining the theme and finding the taste of your target audience, the next crucial step is preparing a budget. When it comes to planning the budget for hosting a virtual event, you have to be very careful as unlike an in-person event, online events have different parameters to decide how much money you need to invest and where to invest.
So you must follow a defined process for this to determine that the planning that you’re on doesn’t seem to be unrealistic. As a full proof budgeting can only help you to get a better ROI, any minor mistake can lead you to run for the money at the end of the event.
- Promote your virtual event online
Last but not least, either it is a live event or online event both need to be promoted strategically. A proper virtual event marketing is a must to get more registration for your virtual event. You can’t expect people to pour in unless you promote your virtual event.
Needless to mention, use social media extensively to promote your event. Be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, create some thumb-stopping content around your event. Social media will give you a great boost in registrations.
Tools required for hosting a successful Virtual Event
It’s a known fact that Virtual event totally relies upon technology. Organizers must consider some tools for broadcasting or recording a live event session, creating opportunities to engage event attendees, and solutions to integrate your virtual event data into your event management platform.
Here below I have listed down some of the essential elements of the event technology that you must use while you intend to organize your virtual event.
- Event Website
- Online Registration tool
- Email Marketing tool
- Event Feedback tool
- Mobile Event App
Like event technology tools, there are some smartphone apps that may help you to increase your productivity. I have shared a list of some top productivity apps.
Our ultimate guide to host virtual events in 2020 comes to end here. I have tried to take you through a step by step guide to host a hybrid event and make your presence online. Hope this post helped you to understand the basic to broad concepts of virtual events and now you are ready to host your first virtual event in 2020.
To get more updates about the virtual event platforms and technology, I strongly recommend you to read some popular event management blogs.
But if you are still in a dilemma that how a virtual event can be hosted and get huge ROI from them. Then don’t feel low as I have brought you a handpicked case study for some recent globally hosted or to be hosted virtual events and I believe these are enough to motivate you to go ahead for virtual events. Check the list below
- Adobe Summit 2020- March 31, 2020
- Facebook Developers Conference — F8 – May 5–6, 2020
- IBM Think 2020- May 5–7
- Katapult Future Fest 2020- May 18–20
- Comic-Con@Home- 22 Jul 2020 – 26 Jul 2020
- Apple Special Event- 22 June 2020
- Trade India- Virtual Trade Show- August 5-7 2020
- RIL AGM 2020- July 15, 2020
Comment below if you want me to post a detailed article on these events. And if you liked this article please subscribe to our newsletter to get event industry updates. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Vivek is a photographer by passion & content creator by profession. He is a writer in the day and reader at night. Driven by the purpose of making life worth living by mentoring people in all aspects of event management.