We hosted a virtual event: Here’s why you should too

We are living in challenging times and in the business world, there is only one way to react: to rise to the challenge.

Just because Covid-19 has altered the way we work around the world doesn’t mean we can’t adapt and overcome.

That’s why last month we hosted a full virtual event for a whole roster of attendees. So what is a virtual event? It comes complete with live speakers, networking events, an exhibition, and even breakout areas for discussions and secondary talks. It was our way of showing what can be done even when something seems impossible.

We heard inspirational advice from leaders in the hospitality industry and life coaches, marketing gurus, and event specialists. The theme for the talks? How to pivot your business or even your personal goals, how to create opportunities for the current situation, and how we can keep moving forward.

The Covid-19 lay of the land

It’s a sad fact that businesses of all shapes and sizes have been affected by Covid-19 and it has been a challenging couple of months for us all. One area that has been particularly hard hit is events. Everything from conferences and exhibitions, to corporate mixers, training days, and product launches have been canceled or postponed.

It is a shame not only for the lost hours of work that go into planning an exceptional event but also for the lost opportunities. Events are key to a successful business, allowing opportunities for networking within your industry, building brand awareness, improving staff skills, and connecting with potential customers face to face.

So what if you could still go ahead with your event and create an authentic experience for everyone involved?

With the reverberations of Covid-19 set to be felt for a long while yet, businesses have entered a new phase of working, finding alternatives instead of the initial blanket cancellations that happened during the first pandemic panic.

And that’s where we come in. We decided to host our own virtual event to show just how simple it can be, just how much you can expect from new platforms such as Hopin, which we used on this occasion, and how you can create a successful experience for everyone involved. These virtual events are a chance to network, to learn, to get out there and represent your brand, all from the comfort of your home office. And with a virtual event management company on your side, you can make sure it is just as slick and professional as in-person events.

We cover ‘virtually’ everything

You may be wondering how on Earth you can turn an event normally attended by thousands of delegates into an online experience, but it is possible.

These event platforms can welcome up to 10,000 delegates at a time. Virtual event services include a friendly reception area where they can find out information about the event, they can network with other attendees, head to the main stage, and break out into smaller areas for more specialist meetings and talks.

Speakers can mingle in the Green Room, chatting amongst themselves live on video chat before taking to the stage. Attendees can even explore the exhibition hall to catch up with different businesses and networks.

What is a virtual event? It is just like the real thing.

A world of experts at one virtual event

We hosted six speakers for our virtual event. They came from all over the US and even Europe brought together on one stage through their expertise. Attendees registered from as far afield as Mexico, Philippines, and Spain, and across the USA. Once they were registered they simply had to follow a link to attend the event where they were welcomed, could spend their time talking to other attendees, touring the expo, and then listening to the speakers on the main stage.

Keynote speaker Gracie Jones, founder and CEO of Opulent Events by Gracie, offered an insight into the world of virtual event management. These new platforms go beyond the old-fashioned webinars that used to dominate the virtual landscape and offer high-tech, super secure, full-service events.

As Gracie explained, virtual event services include specialist insights for hosts. You can take advantage of expert data collection, top-level security, and final reports on engagement, numbers, and contact details provided by virtual event platforms. And with the support of a professional event management company you can ensure everything runs smoothly and is fully managed for you.

During our virtual event, sportswoman-turned-life coach Lisa Pachence didn’t just act as MC, she also spoke on how both people and businesses can take this time to focus on themselves and decide the next direction they want to take.

Brian Marcus, head of private clubs at Global Hospitality gave an assessment of an industry that should be decimated by Covid-19 but is pulling through with wonderful stories of hope and community, while Jeff Naylor General Manager at Teton Springs Lodge, in Idaho, had another positive story as he discussed an uptick in guests interested in getting away from it all with a break in the mountains, creating a new travel trend.

Michelle Nicole McNabb, of Emenee Marketing ‘n’ Events, shared her insights into the world of events and marketing and the steps businesses can take during these difficult times to keep connecting with customers, potential sponsors and event attendees, while Sarah Gordon, of Sarah Gordon UK content agency, discussed how businesses can use communication and content to connect with consumers and even grow business during Covid-19.

It was an uplifting event full of positive messaging and mutual support during extraordinary times.

What did we learn?

We all love the excitement of an event, the chance to catch up with old friends and new contacts, develop our businesses and learn new skills, and the world of virtual events provides all these same benefits without the need to travel.

Right now, virtual events are a necessity. But in a world of ever busier work schedules, environmental responsibilities, and a more considered approach to expenses, could virtual events become a viable long-term option? With no travel time, the ease of attending, and reduced costs, it is certainly a tempting option.

So what was our conclusion? We connected, we networked, we heard a roster of expert speakers and we came away with fresh, new insights, business leads, and a bulging contacts book.

And at the end of the day, isn’t that exactly what you want from an event?

If you’re thinking about hosting a virtual event, contact Opulent Events by Gracie to work with the experts. We can organize and manage your event from start to finish, offering virtual event management from marketing all the way through to final data capture.

Contact our specialists today.

Join us for our next Virtual Conference on June 3, 2020. Book early, the first 100 registrants are FREE!