Hybrid and virtual events are becoming more popular, and it’s estimated that by 2025, 50% of all events may have a virtual component or be held on a virtual platform. Due to this, it’s important that you choose the perfect platform for your event. With that, you may be able to connect better with your audience in real-time and keep event processes and operations smooth and seamless. This can significantly impact the event's success as it improves attendees' overall experience. In this article, we’ve outlined practical steps to follow when choosing a platform for your virtual event and provided helpful tips for enhancing your event’s quality.
When choosing a platform for an event, you have to consider numerous factors and how the platform can conveniently support these factors or makes provision for them. Ensure you understand the reason for hosting the event and its target objectives. By understanding this, you may be able to have answers to other factors, such as the expected audience and required platform. Here are the major factors to consider when choosing a platform for an event:
Once you understand the event’s goal and objectives, determining your target audience demographics and estimated size is often necessary. This information is necessary to plan the event’s program, such as the activities, games and quizzes. Information on audience size also helps you prepare resources such as the internet or WiFi to be used at the event, the technical equipment to obtain, live polling and the number of vendors to invite.
Technical event production, or technical production, means the planning, logistics, installation and operation of technical equipment for events. At this stage, it’s essential that you determine your chosen platform’s audio and video capabilities and whether these meet your requirements. You may also check the platform’s screen sharing and chat features and their support level for the event sponsors. A good event platform typically consists of all of these features. As your event may be hybrid, you may also assess the platform’s lighting equipment. Then, you may check its video and projection systems and how well this integrates with other digital tools and applications for live feeds and video streaming.
It’s a common misconception that holding virtual and hybrid events often means spending less. Consider the experience you want your attendees to have and research to find a platform to provide this. The more customized and seamless the event, the higher the charges by the platform. It may help to check the amount charged by the platform to avoid spending as much as you would spend holding a physical or in-person event. A wide range of platforms generally exist and depending on your requirements, a modest budget can help you hold a successful event. If your event planning is grand and sophisticated, it’s worth investing in a platform with features and services that can conveniently meet those requirements.
When choosing a platform, it may help to consider how well it addresses the needs of the event’s different attendees, such as guests, hosts and vendors. You may also review how well these attendees can access its features. Check whether the platform accepts credit card payments for attendee registration. When the event commences, review how easily participants and attendees can access the platform’s features, such as its live polls, games and quizzes. Regardless of whether your event is virtual or hybrid, it’s still obligatory that you comply with the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) act. Confirm whether the platform provides audio translations of the discussions. You may also check whether there are translations for those who are not English speakers.
Security is another crucial consideration you make from the early stages before choosing an event platform. Check how prone the platform is to disruptive users and attacks and how much control it gives you as the host or organizer. For example, you may check whether you can turn attendees’ mic and video off, and they won’t be able to turn it on unless you allow them. You may also check whether you can set a meeting passcode, enable a waiting room and restrict the event to only authenticated users. If your event is hybrid and the platform provides internet, it may also help to check their WiFi’s security to ensure attendees’ and hosts’ safety.
After considering all factors and choosing a functional platform. There are certain tips that you may still follow to maximize the platform and ensure your event is enjoyable for all who attend. Here, we’ve highlighted a few practices that you may follow to enhance your event’s quality, including:
Dedicate sufficient time to testing the platform before the event starts to reduce the chances of disruptions or issues significantly. You typically test it for the factors with which you considered it, including technical capabilities, security and accessibility. It’s often advisable to conduct your test a few days before your event, depending on its size. If, during your test, you encounter certain challenges, you may inform the platform owner and get recommended solutions long before the event starts. Suppose you decide to no longer use the platform due to the challenges encountered, you may inform the owner and start making preparation for a replacement platform.
Typically, most platforms have a team of support engineers who may guide you through the process of using their platform. These individuals may answer your queries about setting up the platform and also provide solutions to issues that you may face. You should also have a dedicated technical support team who monitor technical activities and equipment as the event progresses. These individuals monitor event lighting, sound and audio and ensure that these function properly at all times. They also ensure video and projection systems are running and monitor video streaming and live feeds. Often this team works with the support team from the platform’s developer, but they may also work alone and prepare a comprehensive report about the platform at the end of the event.
You may find a way to communicate how to use the platform’s various features to attendees. This can minimize the number of queries and complaints you receive during the event and also helps attendees follow event proceedings. Rather than assume that all your attendees are tech-savvy, show a demonstration of how various buttons on the platform work. This is crucial for attendees who don’t frequently attend virtual events and may find it tricky to use a zoom link or enter a passcode. You may also host practice sessions with the host and the crew and show them the additional features they can access on the platform. For example, most platforms enable hosts to mute the microphones of attendees without their permission. You may also test the platform from the attendee’s perspective by clicking on a link, sending a message in chat and joining sessions.
Regardless of the type of event you’re holding, it’s always important to have backup plans in case of contingencies. For example, if you’re streaming your event on multiple platforms and one shuts down, your audience may continue to watch it on the platforms still running. It’s also helpful to set up backup plans for storing the files you intend to present, file security and internet connection. For example, it’s always a good practice to have multiple storage locations for your slides and other files to avoid issues that may arise if one of the storage corrupts is hacked. As the planner or organizer, it’s also essential to have internet connections throughout the event. If your main network connection goes out abruptly, you may quickly connect to a backup internet, so you don’t lose your connection to the event.
There are numerous ways to use technology to improve the interaction between the host and the attendees. Most platforms integrate seamlessly with other digital tools, so you can stream your events live and monitor engagements. Before the event starts, you may also send reminders and login details, and during the event, you can make public announcements without halting the event. Technology for seamless communication also applies to individuals with disabilities and multilingual through slide interpretation and translation.
Performedia’s platform typically caters to your event’s needs without any stress and challenges. It is accessible through URLs you can visit on your browsers and operating systems, so you generally require no downloads. Other ways that this platform optimizes your events include:
The platform is menu-driven, as options for various actions form a list displayed as drop-downs. This menu-driven interface has a low-noise approach, making it suitable for audiences of various kinds. Whenever you also select any option or command, it animates into view, giving the simplistic navigation some visual aesthetics. Performedia can also help you create design elements such as hero banners and background imagery and can fit in your favourite external applications that you also want to include.
Performedia’s lobby style provides an appealing look that numerous attendees still find easy to navigate. You typically stay in the lobby before you’re allowed entry into the event or expo hall. After joining this hall, you may witness the 3D images used to create the various spaces and how these are customized to your specifications. This style also uses elements from the menu-driven display as it contains a big menu board that ensures everyone finds their way.
The platform also uses the tile motif due to its navigation and simplicity. You only have to click on a tile to view or open a display.
Usually, online event platforms typically host your events on websites different from yours. While a few may create an event website with your organization’s or event’s name, this is typically different from yours and often doesn’t drive traffic to your website. With Performedia, you can pick a page or create a page while the company integrates it with your website. Attendees can visit your website, find the event there and join.
Choosing the right platform for your event has many benefits, including ensuring seamless communication with your audience, making event management easy and satisfying event exhibitors and sponsors. This impacts the event’s overall outcome positively and leaves a long-lasting impression on attendees. Performedia’s platform caters to the different considerations discussed in this article and contains features that help optimize your event.