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Virtual Events: The New and Future Reality of the Events industry



The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the change of our conventional day-to-day work practices and the reconsideration of our daily lifestyles (our professional life, physical interaction, relationship with technology and the environment, etc.) Some countries have imposed complete or partial lockdown, stalling all forms of travel, reducing physical contact, and started supporting work to be done remotely to decrease of the spread of the pandemic. The events industry was deeply affected by the pandemic where there have been massive worldwide event cancellations, postponements and event organizers are unable to initiate annual events due to worldwide government restrictions and health concerns. Given its essential role in the enhancement and recovery of economies and ensuring business continuity, many organizers have had to seek for new methods in making events by utilizing the latest technological advances and started initiating Virtual events. Even if the situation improves and organizers are able to do in-person events again, crowd management, health and travel restrictions will always be points of concern. A virtual option will always need to be available to maintain the maximum event gains.
 
What are Virtual Events?
COVID 19 has showed us the massive importance of digitalization and seeking of new ways to cope with the global events and in turn, quickly provide services to satisfy the needs of beneficiaries. It has become difficult to expect what will happen or what the outcomes will be after the massive acceleration of events we recently witnessed. To maintain business continuity regardless of whatever happens next and overcoming the current economic challenges, industries had to seek for alternative solutions using tools and technologies through the internet, 5G technologies and artificial intelligence. The Events Industry was very flexible in seeking such solutions to shift from in-person to virtual events.
Like in-person events, virtual event programs may be divided into activities, panel discussions, sessions, workshops, joint and side meetings. The difference lies in the change from an actual event location to a virtual one that allows attendees to participate through several platforms which need to be accurately selected according to the event specifications.

Advantages of the Virtual Events
There are several advantages and benefits of virtual events, which equally benefit both the organizers and participants. Here are some of these advantages:
  • Overcoming movement restrictions: Travel and health restrictions shall no longer be obstacles for attending events. Participation in virtual events is much easier without any concerns about the obstacles that impede highly populated events.
  • A virtual event can be easily organized in a much shorter pre-event time-frame.
  • Lower costs in organizing and attending virtual events: Organizers won’t have to pay for venue bookings, catering, branding, production and massive AV equipment, etc. Also attending events won’t have include to include travel, accommodation and meal costs.
  • Feedback and problem solving are much easier to obtain. 
Our Virtual Event Experience
Coping with the latest technological and socio-economic developments, we are now offering our event organizers, delegates, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors the ultimate unique experience virtually reproducing an in-person event in all its aspects.
From the comfort of their couch or behind their desk, delegates will be able attend live sessions virtually, interact with presenters through online features such as live polling, surveys and live Q&A, easily join parallel sessions, access virtual exhibitions where they can meet new business leads and video-chat with exhibitors, view their presentations and download their brochures, virtually meet delegates, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors through our Meeting Hub and virtual networking rooms, export personal attendee notes in all event designated areas and contact live support whenever any inquiries arise.
 
Successful Virtual Event Components
To ease the organization of virtual events, organizers must take comprehensive steps to delivering unique and invaluable experiences to all attendees. Here are some of the most significant steps that need to be taken:
  1. Start first with creating your event topics, objectives and theme, then like actual in-person events, divide them into virtual activities, panel discussions, workshops, sessions and presentations with emphasis on the topics that are most appealing to participants.
  2. As the attention span of users is becoming very short lately due to the massive influx of digital marketing initiatives undertaken by entities within the current digital world, make sure that all event digital marketing activities are done in the most attractive, minimal and direct way possible.
  3. Due to the endless amounts of webinars and online meetings taking place within the current period, virtual events tend to be forgotten even when registered in. Ensure that those registered do not forget to attend the virtual event by sending them reminders via email and the calendar saving option in the email registration confirmation can be very effective.  
  4. Carefully analyze and look into all the features of the virtual event platform you will choose. In other words, make sure that the platform chosen is the most suited for your virtual event requirements.One of the key aspects that need to be always in mind when choosing the platform is to have the maximum interaction and communication levels possible from attendees through features such as session Q & A, live polling, post-session surveys and networking options where attendees can interact with each other, make relations and exchange contacts. Once the platform is chosen, make sure the designated team-members have taken all the needed necessary trainings on the platform and how to utilize all its features.
Hybrid Events
Once the worldwide pandemic situation improves and in-person events are organized again, the virtual option will always need to be available for those unable to attend the event. This gives room to the creation of “Hybrid Events”. It is an event experience in which both in-person and virtual options are combined to meet the needs of physically and virtually participating delegates, speaker, exhibitors and sponsors. Our virtual events platform can easily accommodate the needs of Hybrid events as well.
 
We are thrilled to get started on this pioneering virtual journey together!

ExiCon - Virtual Specialist team
22.07.2020