When we first get into conversations with new customers, we are often asked “but what is a virtual event?” You see, people often come to us with a business or communications challenge – like wanting to recruit the best people, or manage internal communications across different countries – but don’t fully know what the tools and options are.

In short, a virtual event replicates many aspects of a traditional location-based event but simply takes place over the internet. And the best part is this – all you need to host or attend a virtual event is an internet connection and a device, such as a laptop, tablet or smartphone.

We have included some frequently asked questions below to hopefully bring further clarity.

What type of event can be delivered virtually?

The quick answer to this is just about any type of event. An event online includes the same content as a location-based event and can be as interactive as required – including one-to-one chats or live seminars and presentations. And because iVent can fully integrate social media channels as well, delegates and speakers can respond and adapt content in ‘real-time’.

The most common online events include careers and recruitment fairs, global conferences, membership meetings, trade shows, and product launches.

If you would like to see more on how these events can work digitally, then please click here.

What are the main features of a virtual event?

This will always depend on what you want to achieve from your event. But to give you a flavour of what’s possible we can visualise branded booths, resource centres, sponsor areas, live presentation auditoriums, networking lounges, discussion groups and social networking.

It might seem like an oxymoron – ie a virtual event being personal and engaging – but it really is. We have lots of delegates giving feedback on how enjoyable and personal they find the experience to be.

“This is such a cool tool! Love the interactivity! Feels almost like a real conference!” Kuoni

Can I see who comes to my virtual event?

This is possibly one of the best-kept secrets of an online event. The data you can gather on your delegates – from those who register through to those who attend and every action and activity they perform whilst logged in – can give you extremely valuable information for analysis and future marketing purposes.

What sort of business would use a virtual or digital event?

Some of the biggest global corporates, through to universities and the public sector. They all share the same broad objective – to connect and communicate with their audiences (internal or external) in a meaningful and engaging way. A virtual event aims to do this cost-efficiently, overcoming barriers like time, resource and location.

Here’s a few that love what we do.

What are the advantages of using a virtual event?

For businesses hosting the event, the biggest advantage is being able to reach an unlimited audience regardless of location and in a cost-efficient way.

To the delegates attending, the main advantage is time and convenience. They can attend from any location and have a personalised experience as well as consume content in their own time.

How does a virtual event work?

iVent has a digital ‘platform’ that has been built and created in-house and that we customise for each event brief. It might help to think of this ‘platform’ as an online version of a physical venue. It both hosts the event and facilitates the delivery of it.

We have an in-house project delivery and technical team that help every step of the way.

Will my event delegates take to it?

We know from feedback that delegates really enjoy the experience. They say it’s easy to access information, take notes, and interact via online chat. They also value the fact that content is ‘on-demand’ – in that they can revisit all the resources again at a time to suit them.

But can you really re-create a live event atmosphere?

I suppose it depends on what aspects contribute to the live event ‘atmosphere’. If the atmosphere and buzz are about interaction, discussions, relevant content and networking then absolutely. Of course, there are not people in a physical room together, but in a world where people are really comfortable engaging ‘virtually’, our digital events really deliver an interactive experience. We know face to face is best for true engagement, but the benefits of a virtual event far outweigh not being ‘in person’.

Are virtual or digital events the future?

Delegate numbers are down for live events (Source: eventbrite.co.uk) and we know from our enquiries that it is getting more challenging to get people to a physical event – usually down to time or budget restraints.

Because a virtual event has an unlimited reach and works really well across different time zones, organisations are using them more and more as part of a ‘suite’ of key communications’ channels. There will always be a need to bring people together physically, but there is clearly a growing need to connect and deliver information in the most cost efficient and adaptable way as possible.

We hope there’s some useful information here. If you could like to chat further, please feel free to contact me.

With over 25 years working in the events industry, Gavin spotted a gap in the market for virtual events and created ivent in 2010. Highly motivated and spurred on by virtual event successes – including launching a client’s product to 60 countries simultaneously – Gavin is an inspiring, down to earth leader with great ideas. If you call him, he’ll happily share his favourite digital events’ highlights…

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