“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – James Dean
What is a Virtual Event?
A virtual event is an occasion that takes place entirely online rather than in a physical location. Despite the difference in environment:
- Presenters convey information to attendees through video, audio, or text.
- Attendees can engage from their homes, participate in live chats, and use Q&A tools.
- The types of events remain varied, including webinars, workshops, online broadcasts of speeches, interviews, and instructional guides.
Benefits of Hosting a Virtual Event:
- Access to a global audience, making events more inclusive.
- Reduced costs for attendees as there’s no need for travel, accommodations, or meals.
- A decrease in the carbon footprint without the need for transportation and catering.
- Typically lower hosting costs due to no physical venue.
- 80% of virtual events offer free registration for attendees.
- Ability to produce and repurpose digital copies of the event.
Drawbacks of Virtual Events:
- Lack of in-person interaction.
- Shorter attention spans among virtual attendees leading to a shift in the event structure.
- Potential for technological glitches and issues.
Planning Your Virtual Event: Steps to Success
Vision & Purpose: Begin with a clear understanding of why you’re hosting the event. Define your goals, objectives, and target audience.
Concept Creation: Design an engaging theme to make your event stand out.
Format Determination: Decide if it’s going to be a webinar, live stream, panel discussion, etc.
Event Blueprint: Outline the event’s timeline, number of sessions, their lengths, and include Q&A segments.
Budget: As with any event, determine your expected income and expenses.
Scheduling: Choose a date and time, ensuring minimal clashes with other major online events.
Registration: Develop a user-friendly registration form.
Details: Dive into specifics:
- Selection of guest speakers and entertainers.
- Consideration of sponsors and contests.
- Naming your event and creating a unique hashtag.
- Marketing strategies including the use of influencers, social media, and emails.
- Website development for event details, registration, and updates.
Production Needs: Decide if you can self-produce with tools like Facebook Live, YouTube Live, or Instagram Live, or if hiring a Virtual Event Production company is necessary. Ensure:
- The technology is user-friendly.
- Cybersecurity and platform compatibility measures are in place.
Making Your Virtual Event Stand Out
To differentiate your event:
- Exercise creativity and originality.
- Develop a unique theme and accentuate the virtual experience with advanced technologies.
- Use your already booked venue as a backdrop.
- Incorporate captivating speakers and unconventional entertainment.
- Engage sponsors to offer exclusive prizes and discount codes.
- Foster a sense of community through social media platforms, storytelling, and immersive environments.
- Add personal touches like home-delivered food or event “swag bags”.
To counteract shorter attention spans:
- Offer shorter yet more frequent sessions.
- Ensure engaging content and speakers.
- Introduce interactive breaks.
- Provide the event’s agenda beforehand to spark interest and allow attendees to prepare.
In the evolving landscape for Event & Wedding Planners, the direction may have shifted, but the destination remains the same. Embrace the transformation, capitalize on the vast possibilities of a global event, and revel in the flexibility that comes without physical constraints. Virtual events are the present and the future. Adjust your approach, and savor the journey.