When holding a virtual or hybrid event the following challenges are of important consideration during, pre and post-event:
There are many risks involved in relying on the technology being used to manage and run a virtual or hybrid event, including internet connectivity and bandwidth (for speakers, participants and organisers), and compatibility issues across the different devices, operating systems and browsers being.
The different time zones for all participants need to be thoroughly considered for live, virtual and hybrid events. Our recommendation is to structure the program based on what is most suitable for the local time zone for the majority of potential delegates. Then liaise with key speakers as to what time (morning or afternoon) would be most suitable to schedule their presentation within the program. Be careful not to restrict virtual delegate attendance in a major market based on the time zone. Consider scheduling keynote speakers in the middle or end of the day if this will better suit the majority of your audience. Ensure these efforts are highlighted in marketing communications for potential international delegates.
The process for how to handle a situation where a presenter doesn’t show up needs to be discussed with the organising committee in advance of the conference. The simplest option is to display a message stating ‘This presentation has been cancelled, please access a different session’ etc. It may be worthwhile having some pre-recorded presentations on hand which can be used to fill gaps in the program, in the event of last-minute changes.
Virtual interaction and engagement
Without traditional face-to-face social events and catering breaks, we really need to get creative on how to make the program as interactive as possible to keep virtual attendees engaged throughout the duration of the conference.
When planning and executing an online event there are a number of opportunities that you can capitalise on:
Greater access to speakers
By offering the option for remote presentations, you will have access to more speakers for the event. Without the need to travel, you are removing barriers faced by traditional face-to-face events that restrict speakers from participating who have health or mobility issues or are simply too busy to dedicate time to travel. It can also be a significant cost saving to the conference if no travel is required. There is also the option to negotiate a lower fee/honorarium if the speaker is not attending face to face.
Improved program content and outcomes
Asking speakers to pre-record and upload their presentation in advance, provides them with the opportunity to fine-tune their content and perfect their presentation to a much greater level than when presenting live. Also, those not as comfortable with public speaking may be more inclined to participate than if it were a live presentation. In the future will we call for video submissions instead of or as well as abstracts, to consider presenting skill as well as content?
Reach new audiences
Virtual conferences allow you to reach a new audience of potential delegates that may have never attended a traditional face-to-face event, due to travel costs, time restraints, etc.
Additional value for delegates
Ever attended a conference and wished you could be in two sessions at once? Providing both physical and virtual attendees with access to on-demand recordings of all speakers and sessions post-conference means they can access all content.
Additional revenue from on-demand streaming
Once recorded, all content can be made available online free for members, via paid video subscriptions or a pay-per-view format post-event.
Imagine telling your sponsors that their investment dollar could live for 12 months as opposed to just a few days? Greater sponsorship value can be found when having content available online for longer than the week of the live conference. Sponsors can upload videos and other resources, to promote their products and services for as long as the program content is relevant.
- Expert Events offer unique sponsorship opportunities for virtual events including:
- product/service pitch built into the program
- pre-roll and ad-break videos
- pre and post-roll videos for on-demand
- virtual exhibitions and appointment setting (ability to have one-on-one virtual video meetings/conversation, exchange contact details, and video, digital flyers and other information available for download)
Need advice? Don’t hesitate to reach out to Expert Events for advice on the best way to host an event, connect or present your information.