As many brands and businesses have shifted to virtual events over the past year, many digital conferencing solutions have popped up to help meet the growing demand for hybrid and virtual events. However, not all platforms and solutions are created equal.
In fact, while there are many solutions out there that meet the bare bones needs of what you might technically need to host a virtual event, many platforms lack the core experiences that audiences crave from an in-person trade show or conference in the first place, such as networking, shared experiences, and community. Without these elements, brands are left with something more closely resembling a pre-recorded video or webinar – and audiences are left feeling disconnected from the event itself.
To help ensure that you are not leaving out the core elements and experiences from your upcoming virtual event, here are five core features that we here at Bluewater have worked into our Parallel Live virtual event platform and that you should look out for when considering future video conferencing solutions.
1 – Secure & Flexible Registration
A successful event starts well before any of your attendees enter the conference or log on to the event. In fact, the event experience should begin the moment they register for their ticket. Make sure you are offering your attendees multiple registration options to meet their needs, whether that’s a full-access VIP ticket to all events or a basic ticket option to basic programming. You should also be able to enable tiered or pre-defined ticket options, so that you can collect the right information that you need from different levels of participants – such as addresses for any attendees who may pay extra to receive branded swag or gifts.
2 – A Multi-Faceted Environment
When you walk into a traditional big conference or event, you are not immediately funneled into one room where the content comes to you. Instead, there are usually multiple exhibit halls, vendor booths, stages, networking areas, and more. Therefore, to recreate this authentic event experience, make sure that you are creating a multi-faceted environment where guests can explore your virtual event – rather than simply watch it unfold. With our Parallel platform, this means working with brands to create a variety of landing pages that give guests a warm welcome, changing the layouts guests see based on schedule or available content, and even offering them dimensional views where they can navigate to different content areas – just like walking through an exhibit hall.
3 – Flexibility with Scheduling
A typical conference usually includes a mix of live panels and discussions, workshops, and a variety of other content types. Therefore, make sure that you are able to schedule your virtual event content with a CMS that allows live streams to be mixed with on-demand content. Having a mix of content types or scheduling allows your attendees to create their own personalized schedule tracks, and a good schedule-based CMS allows them to see all programming or filter only by the content that is relevant to their specific group.
4 – Communication Options
For many attendees, one of the most beneficial aspects of a trade show or conference is meeting and networking with other attendees in their industry. Unfortunately, basic virtual event platforms don’t always cater to this need in a way that allows easy communication between both event organizers and attendees. With Parallel, we offer rich chat, video chat, and help desk options that allow guests to connect with one another, speakers, and organizers in a face-to-face way that feels natural.
5 – A Space for Sponsors
Last but not least, just because you may not have room for physical signage around your trade show hall or exhibit room does not mean that you cannot create a dedicated, high-impact experience for sponsors of your event. Platforms like Parallel provide both virtual trade show floors (complete with exhibitor booths staffed by live video chat sponsors) and virtual stages for conference room presentations. You can even create dedicated sponsor booths that include branded videos, scheduled one-on-one meetings with attendees, or downloadable sales collateral.
To learn more about Bluewater’s definitive virtual event platform, Parallel Live, along with our in-house suite of services, such as strategy, creative design, production, and large-scale AV rental for hybrid events, be sure to contact our team today.