In a world that is rapidly adjusting to COVID-19, hosting physical events has become difficult, if not impossible. Gathering restrictions, social distancing mandates, and in some places, stay-at-home orders have meant that in-person events have been shifted to a virtual or hybrid event format. And with this shift has come a new type of event venue: the virtual event venue. The only way to provide a virtual attendee with a positive and engaging experience is to create a virtual venue that provides, at minimum, the same sort of experience one would expect from a live event. To create this audience experience takes more than stringing together a couple of Zoom meetings. Smart event planners know that event technology and event production values come into play. If you are wondering what exactly virtual event venues are, and how they can maximize attendee experience, audience engagement, and event ROI, we have the answers you need!
A virtual event venue is a production or broadcast studio designed to facilitate virtual events and webcasting. These studios are fully equipped with all the video, audio, and tools needed to create a virtual presentation with extremely high production values. Therefore, an event organizer can hire a virtual event venue as an affordable way of obtaining high-quality technology and knowledgeable personnel to create a high-end virtual event.Virtual event venues often have a full production team, customizable LED screens, intelligent lighting, and a custom set design. To increase value to event organizers, some production companies offer this type of setup in the space of your choosing. For virtual conferences or corporate events, it might make sense to set up the venue in the company’s office or laboratory space. If you don’t want the event hosted in your workspace, you can go to the production studio.
Virtual event venues present an unexpected advantage for virtual event hosts. Here’s a quick look at some of the ways that using one can bring your virtual event to the next level:
The COVID-19 pandemic has moved much of our social interactions into an online space. In areas with tight restrictions, many social gatherings have become digital with folks turning to video meeting platforms like Zoom, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime. Nearly every person on earth has now attended a virtual meeting. And the ubiquitous nature of online gatherings means that your online event or virtual conference will require something a little more. People do not want to spend money on an event that will be little more than a bunch of people streaming from their living room or home office. They expect more from a paid event. To increase your event ROI and satisfy attendees, you need sleek and seamless production values. A virtual event space often includes a full AV team. This means that they can oversee each element of your event, controlling the audio and visual components. This takes all the guesswork and much of the human error out of the event experience. It ensures that the right presenters are on screen at the right time, no one is accidentally muted, all presenters and visual aides are fully visible to the online audience.Choppy audio and grainy graphics will destroy the audience experience and lead people to drop out well before the event is over.
Using a video conferencing platform like Zoom is easy, but it isn’t always secure. Zoom-bombing, where uninvited individuals hijack a Zoom session, can be disruptive and even traumatic. When COVID first struck, there was a rash of these hijackings with people sharing graphic and disturbing pornographic images. While Zoom has been focusing on security features, the platform is far from airtight. To avoid these problems, event hosts can use a virtual event platform like Accelevents for ticketing, registration, video streaming, and hosting. This will offer far more secure options to you, your guests, and your presenters. Sessions can easily be live-streamed (or pre-recorded and streamed) from the virtual event space. Using a virtual event platform in combination with a virtual event space not only gives all participants peace of mind, but it also creates a look and feel much closer to that of an actual, live, in-person event.
Nothing takes the audience out of an event quite like technical glitches and shoddy audio and video quality. By ensuring high production values, you can be certain that audiences won’t be distracted by unnecessary hiccups. They can remain engaged and focused on the presenter and the information being shared. When they don’t have to strain to hear or deal with annoying lags, the audience is more likely to stay in the moment and engage with the content. And if you are using a virtual event platform, live chat functions and personalizations will only deepen this engagement.
When you have a professional production team on your side, they can work with you to better integrate sponsorship messaging, logos, and overlays. Your virtual event sponsors have invested in your event and they deserve to have their assets displayed where they can make the most impact and they should be of the highest quality. Beyond physically displaying sponsor logos, a production team can work in voice-overs, stylish overlays, and even splice in video advertising in between each session. This will serve to help you better feature your sponsors as they will be displayed to a captive and engaged audience. The happier your sponsors are, the more likely they will be to invest in your events in the future!
Virtual event venues are emerging in the middle of a perfect storm. For starters, event planners have been using virtual events or hybrid event formats to maximize their attendance for some time. Their ease of access and potential global reach make them an enticing opportunity for both growth and increased revenue. This rise in popularity, combined with the social distancing requirements of the coronavirus pandemic, has led to an increase in innovative solutions in the virtual event space. It is hard to say what the “new normal” will be for the event industry going forward but it is clear that virtual events, or at least virtual event elements, will be here to stay. And as these formats become more commonplace, the audience will come to expect more from your presentation. One way you can meet these growing expectations by improving production quality is by booking a virtual event venue. If you meet or exceed audience expectations, you can be sure that your virtual event will be a roaring success.