The Novel Coronavirus has made an indelible mark on 2020 in a variety of areas. From health and education to business standpoints, the world has been turned upside down. Every industry rushed to adapt to the ever-changing landscape that this global pandemic caused. Hospitality and event planning professionals saw a marked decrease in income from lost food, beverage, lodging, and other associated fees. In the face of the uncertainty, many businesses and organizations have made the shift to virtual meetings and conferences. When planning a virtual event, creating a customized solution for all parties involved will lead to better event management.
So you’ve decided to go virtual? Once your organization has made this decision, it’s important to understand what can be brought over from face-to-face events. This comes down to knowing what your customers and members expected to see from your event. This also actively involves branding your event from beginning to end. Consider using terminology and activities that are trademarks of your meeting. Many attendees may be apprehensive about shifting to a new process, but understanding that the team behind the scenes remains the same can ease the anxieties of the process.
Roles and Permissions
As your event begins to take shape, it’s essential to understand who will be involved with the virtual platform. The behind-the-scenes team managing the registration process will need different permissions than the average participant. These dedicated individuals can provide assistance in the registration system, account for ongoing registration numbers, and verify that things are running smoothly in the background.
Similarly, presenters will need to have permissions above regular participants. This will allow presenters to manage their own materials such as presentations, other handouts, and their headshots and biographical information. By requiring presenters to register for the conference and manage their own platform information, fewer items will end up on the list of tasks left to the team. The same level of permissions can be assigned to vendors who participate in virtual exhibition presentations or a fully virtual exhibit hall. By requiring presenters and other stakeholders to manage their own materials, your team can focus on putting on a high-quality event.
Beyond the planning phase of the virtual event, the platform that your organization uses can provide engagement in a variety of ways. The first way to draw additional attention to your virtual format is through gamification. In gamification, presenters and attendees can complete tasks to earn points throughout the conference. For example, attendees can be awarded points based upon how many presentations they attend, how many questions they ask, how many vendors they connect with, etc. By turning the virtual event into a game, you can drive ongoing traffic throughout the event. At the close of the event or at any designated time period, a winner or winners can be announced. In other situations, providing a prize store or some other incentive might be a better draw.
In many situations, attendees, presenters, and even staff members sign up to attend conferences and events for the networking benefits. In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, networking events are largely being relegated to Zoom calls and other mundane activities. As your team builds a virtual platform and an event schedule that meets your wants and needs, networking can become a conversation starter all on its own. Many organizations provide virtual game nights that blend networking with fun competitive events. Whether your event uses a randomized trivia game or something else, these non-traditional networking opportunities can enhance the morale of the entirely virtual event.
Similarly, social networking before, during, and after your virtual event will take on new meaning. Once the decision to shift to a virtual event has been made, the promotional campaign must kick into full gear. Getting the word out across social media platforms and accounts will be a pathway to success. In all honesty, “annoying” people into signing up for your event tends to prove helpful in driving registrations and presentation applications.
As the event begins, consider choosing a #hashtag that will be catchy and easy for attendees to remember. Branding your meeting early on and encouraging all participants to use the hashtag can drive traffic to a variety of events. Finally, it can also make collecting reflections of the event for future years easier. With luck, all organizations will be able to return to face-to-face events in the future.
Ayoka Systems: Custom Platform Builders in Your Corner
When you consider the reasons listed above, they lead to a clear end result: simplicity. In addition, partnering with Ayoka Systems to create a custom virtual event platform makes the transition from face-to-face to virtual as seamless as possible. Our team of website and interface designers has decades of experience in crafting customized platforms to meet the unique needs of your event and your team. Adapting to a virtual format is troublesome enough without having to do it all yourself. When you’re ready to explore a customized solution, look no further than Ayoka. Contact us right away!