As planners all over the world move their events online or to a hybrid format, the use of virtual event platforms continues to grow.
These platforms can help event planners and organizers market and host a virtual event, like a conference or a trade show, that delivers the same quality and value as a live event. The right event platform can also provide planners with a large amount of useable data that can then be applied to the marketing and logistics of the current event or applied to those of future events.
Many of the best features of an event platform can make the organization and planning process much easier for those in change. But, here’s the thing, virtual event platforms can go a long way to improving attendee experience as well.
Attendee experience plays a significant role in the success of your events, virtual or otherwise.
To that end, here are the top 7 ways that a virtual event platform can improve attendee experience:
1. Easy Registration and Ticketing
When you find a product you want to buy, the last thing you want or need is to fight to complete your purchase.
An events platform can help you build an event website that clearly displays ticketing details and purchase options.
The platform should enable several different payment options to satisfy the needs of most potential attendees.
Registration forms can be filled out in advance of the virtual event so that you can collect data in real-time but attendees will not have to worry about it on the day of the event, they can simply sign in and show up which means that can have access to your great content immediately. Attendees will be able to pre-register for specific sessions and reserve seating for keynote addresses, panels, and other important sessions.
2. Easily Accessible Agenda
Virtual attendees will have a lot of different things competing for their attention. A virtual event platform can help you create a clear, informative, actionable event agenda to help them navigate the occasion.
At physical events, a paper agenda is one of the first things to go missing. Using a virtual platform means that attendees can double-check events they have registered for as well as the timing for other sessions. This helps attendees know where they should be and when. In a virtual setting, the agenda should link to each event room so no one has to fumble to find the right virtual meeting room.
3. Increased Networking Opportunities
An event app or event platform can help you plan breakout sessions, set up virtual meetings, and enable social events like a virtual cocktail party.
Attendees can use the platform to not only attend these online networking sessions but they can use the platform to access chat tools.
Virtual attendees will want to interact with and communicate with industry leaders, keynote speakers, exhibitors, and each other. Live chat features can allow them to do this in real-time.
For specific networking events or sessions, try to include video chat for a more authentic and engaging attendee experience.
4. Social Media Integrations
Social media is one of the best ways to connect with your audience before, during, and after your virtual event.
A platform that integrates with your social media channels makes this back and forth easier for attendees but can improve the attendee experience overall.
Social media integrations can be used by attendees to share their own actions at the event. On their own profiles, they can share their plans to attend when they purchase tickets, increasing the likelihood that friends and colleagues will join as well.
These integrations will show attendees where to find your social profiles. These profiles are great marketing tools for you and can help you set the tone for attendees and build expectations, anticipation, and excitement before you even open the virtual doors. Ask leading questions, post relevant teasers and information, and encourage discussion.
No one wants to feel like just another virtual attendee. An events platform can help you improve the attendee experience by adding some personalization.
For a virtual conference or trade show, help attendees feel more engaged by allowing them to create a custom avatar. This avatar will act as their visual representation in the virtual space.
Use the data collected at registration to offer personalized content suggestions. Highlight sessions, speakers, and vendors that speak most to the attendees stated interests and goals for the event.
Virtual booth spaces can be further customized to include tabs and organizational elements that speak directly to a specific audience segment.
These elements will improve the virtual experience by showing attendees the content that is likely to be most valuable to them.
Some platforms, like Accelevents, use artificial intelligence to match attendees with one another based on real-life interactions improving the networking experience and creating deeper personal and professional connections.
6. Easy Access to Additional Content
For large scale conference or trade show, it is impossible for an attendee to make it to every session of interest. Sometimes attendees are in a different time zone or sessions are being held at the same time.
A virtual event platform can helo you provide on-demand access to content that might otherwise have been missed.
Create a content library that includes all presentations and keynote sessions. This easy to access library will give attendees that opportunity to see what they have missed (and download any relevant handouts or learning materials) or rewatch their favorite sessions.
You can also provide additional bonus content for attendees based on ticket tiers. This can include in-depth Q&As or ask me anything sessions from industry thought leaders. This additional content can increase the value of the registration costs by providing the audience with even more than what they initially thought they would receive.
7. Integrated Communication
For virtual events, communication is key. Attendees will not be able to visually find your event staff scattered throughout the space in the same way they would at a physical event.
Chat integrations can allow your attendees and speakers to communicate without having to leave the platform or event app.
As an event organizer, it is important to make sure attendees are able to communicate with other attendees and feature participants but you will also want attendees to be able to communicate with your digital event team. This includes session moderators, coordinators, and your tech support team.
Easy access to these communication tools relieves attendee stress and helps them rest easy knowing that they can easily get in touch with anyone who is apart of the event.
If you enable communication, you can expect attendees to participate more readily. With the slight anonymity provided by the virtual environment, a remote attendee who is too shy to ask a question at in-person sessions is far more likely to engage in this format. The ability to actively participate in live discussions will improve audience engagement and lead to a more positive experience.
Integrated communications can be enhanced by using additional event technology like live translation. Remember, a virtual event has the power to attract a truly global audience and in the name of accessibility, including text or voice translations will contribute to the experience of non-English speaking attendees.
Virtual event software is invaluable to event organizers, especially when it comes to navigating the unprecedented changes that have happened in the industry over the last few months. But more than just helping event professionals organize their event, these platforms help produce a successful virtual event by improving the attendee experience.
By facilitating communication between each participant and creating a navigatable space with easy access to event content, you can create an online event that not only meets attendee expectations but actually exceeds them.