Virtual events have become increasingly popular in recent months, as many conferences and social meetings have had to relocate online. Although the transition from meeting face-to-face to meeting via cyberspace was an initial shock for many businesses, the idea of moving to the internet is actually far from new. In fact, at Yarnfield Park we still firmly believe in the power of face-to-face communication, so much so that you can read all about it here! But what is a virtual event, and why do we need to get more familiar with them?
To put it simply, a virtual event is an event that takes place online as opposed to at a set physical location. By hosting a virtual event, you’re allowing a higher attendance rate to happen due to its global accessibility. You can practically do anything you would’ve wanted to do in person, such as conferences, seminars or even product launches, all from the comfort of your own home. Virtual/ hybrid events allow flexibility and clarity: all you need is an internet connection and a device of your choosing.
What Makes A Good Virtual Event?
A good virtual event can consist of anything you want it to. What’s good for your specific business is going to be entirely different from what’s best for another. However, depending on what you want to get out of it, a virtual meeting can be customised to best suit your company’s needs. The best virtual events are the ones that are engaging, lively, and personal to your business and to your customers.
Features such as video conferencing almost seem like a given. But live chat options, presentations, and the opportunity to share social media posts and platforms in ‘real-time’ situations prove that there truly are no limitations when it comes to optimising your virtual event. A good virtual event solely depends on which tools and features you choose to implement to best represent your business.
If you’re considering hosting a virtual event, there are plenty of reasons for doing so. Here are our top reasons for deciding to opt for a hybrid event instead of a physical one:
Keeping Your Budget Small
By moving your virtual event online, you’re saving your business a lot of money. Everything you need to host a physical event is expensive, and over time those costs are going to add up. Throwing a large online event means you can avoid physical venue fees, travel costs, and even catering prices along the way.
Keeping Your Options Open
There are lots of things that can happen between planning an event and having it actually go ahead. Whether these things are accidental, unprecedented, or simply out of the blue, hosting an event online can mitigate anything going wrong on the day of. There’s nothing worse than having to cancel an entire event due to unforeseen circumstances, so hosting a virtual event significantly minimises that risk.
Keeping Your Meetings Accessible
If your event is in person, you’re actually restricting the number of people who can attend by massive amounts. By moving your event into the virtual space, you’re allowing people from all around the world and various walks of life to attend. Increasing your reach is imperative for any business to succeed, and keeping your meetings accessible allows for just that.
What Is A Hybrid Event?
A hybrid event is very similar to a virtual event in the sense that it doesn’t take place in any one physical location. However, a hybrid event often combines elements of both an in-person live show and an online one. These have become increasingly popular in recent years, in response to the popularity and success of virtual events. Not only are these cost-effective, but they’re a great way of bridging the gap between a physical show and one taking place entirely in cyberspace. These also tend to be more encouraging towards participation, and the sharing of ideas and content.
Who Can Host an Online Event?
The short answer? Anyone! Hosting an online event doesn’t mean it has to be exclusive, and although it’s become customary for many businesses to throw virtual events, the platform is available for anybody to use.
Even universities, as of late, have taken to broadcasting their lectures and seminars online as opposed to leading physical classes. Using online resources allows for lectures to be communicated with both internal and external online audiences, engaging anyone from anywhere.
At the end of the day, communication is key. If communicating with others regarding something you’re passionate about is one of your top priorities, then hosting a virtual event could be a definite step in the right direction. Fun virtual events are often cost-effective, inclusive, and meaningful: that also often makes them the best virtual events to attend!
There are four key types of virtual events to focus on when deciding on what your programme should consist of: virtual conferences, webinars, external and internal hybrid meetings.
It’s important to remember that online events shouldn’t ever be a direct replacement for a physical event, but a way to enhance any other potential events you have in the pipeline. Remember: you’re not replacing the doors, you’re opening new ones! If you’re struggling, here is some more information on each so you can decide which event is right for you:
Conducting a conference online is, in fact, incredibly similar to conducting one face-to-face. They’re often agenda-focussed, with notes to be taken and conversations to be had. Although many argue that the networking and social aspect is somewhat lost with a virtual conference, the ability to converse live and as a community is still very much there. As well as this, the ability to communicate and interact with other people (and the agenda) in the conference makes the virtual space feel that little bit more real.
There is a big difference between internal hybrid events and external events. Internal hybrids events consist of tasks and topics that run within the organisation, such as department meetings or town hall meetings. These events are often curated with the sole purpose of sharing information between team members of the company and is a particularly good idea if your employee base spans over cities, counties, or even countries.
External hybrid events, however, are run for the benefit of those who are outside of your organisation. These are, of course, great for those who would’ve had to travel from far away in order to attend, had the event not been virtual.
The downsides of external hybrid events are that they are more difficult to set up, as well as a higher standard is expected of them video-wise. It can be challenging to organise a hybrid event, but in the end, they are a fantastic opportunity to network nonetheless.
What Is A Virtual Event? Conclusion
The question ‘what is a virtual event?’ is now a thing of the past, and we’ve established that there are many advantages to hosting an online, entirely virtual event with an entirely virtual audience. However, one of the greatest advantages has to be the ability to see exactly who attends your conference. As a company, you can gather data on your attendees, which will not only help you analytics wise but also when it comes to planning your next cyber event. When planning your next cyber event, however, it’s important to remember just a few of the positives:
- Cost-Effective Alternative
- Risk Minimising Option
- Attendance Is Increased
At Yarnfield Park National Training Centre in Staffordshire has always prided itself on being a beautiful venue and meeting space, with dedicated staff and impressive service. Meeting in person will always be something we value, however, we are also proud to say that we are now open to host virtual events and hybrid conferences for our customers. We also have serviced offices in Staffordshire available to rent on an ad-hoc basis.