Hosting a virtual event requires the same care and attention as an in-person event. With both events, you need to effectively promote the event, engage your attendees, create memorable moments for attendees, and prove event success. The only thing that’s missing is the venue and the attendees on-site. But, by thinking of virtual events not as small one-off presentations, but as value-added, engagement-driven experiences, you can create an impactful event that extends well-beyond a computer screen.
Four main types of virtual events
When it comes to your total event programme, 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 programme. Below are the four main types of virtual events.
Webinars typically last somewhere from 45 to 80 minutes. Holding webinars 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 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 per cent virtual attendance. These can also include internal and external trainings.
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 organisations that span countries, 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 organisation’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 organisation. 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.
Access Cvent’s full guide to virtual events here, including how to promote your virtual event, engage attendees and create memorable moments.