Today, virtual events and meetings are becoming extremely popular and have become an integral part of every business worldwide. Organisations that never imagined organising virtual events and meetings are transforming their live physical events into a virtual environment. With the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, events planned up for the coming years have come to a stop. Restrictions were imposed on public gatherings and travelling to prevent the nation from the wrath of coronavirus.
Large and small-scale organisations & businesses were waffling during these uncertain times waiting for the next verdict by the government. Here, virtual events came as an aid and prevented many businesses from dipping down. Leveraging virtual event technology is the only option left with organisers to move ahead in these unforeseen challenging times. When things will be back to normal is still unknown. Vaccination drives are going in full swing to fight back. But, even after the world recovers from the pandemic, completely shifting back to physical exhibitions and events is not seen for some time.
Virtual Event Technology to Convert Physical Event into Virtual Ones
Right from organising virtual meetings, virtual conferences to virtual exhibitions, virtual expos, and shows, a virtual event platform serves all. Nowadays, the internet is stocked up with a wide range of platforms that offer engaging virtual event services. However, out of all hosting virtual exhibitions on a comprehensive virtual exhibition platform is the most difficult one in line. Converting the entire event into a digital format seems skeptical to exhibitors at first. The newness of the technology left them in flux thinking about whether to move ahead with virtual exhibitions or not. The merits served by virtual exhibitions and expos are far beyond the reach of physical exhibitions. Today, industry exhibitors are willing to participate in virtual exhibitions to showcase their offerings to a diverse set of global audiences. To ensure successful virtual exhibitions and expos leveraging the right virtual exhibition platform with the most enthralling features is a must.
Today, marketers and event planners are brainstorming and looking out for innovative ways to engage attendees in the virtual world. More and more advanced engagement features are coming up on a daily basis that helps in engaging global delegates seamlessly. It enables exhibitors to connect and network with global attendees remotely in real-time.
What is a Virtual Exhibition?
A virtual exhibition is an online event that is organised on a web-based comprehensive virtual exhibition platform. It enables exhibitors to showcase their unique latest product offerings to a wide spectrum of audiences globally. Attendees are enabled to interact in real-time via live audio, video, and text chat functionalities. A virtual exhibition enables exhibitors to connect with attendees from all over the world. A comprehensive virtual exhibition platform enables exhibitors to organise customisable virtual booths that engage attendees from the comfort of their homes. Whether you are organising a virtual exhibition or a virtual expo and shows considering few essential tips is a must. To ensure a successful virtual exhibition, making the right planning, strategy, and leveraging the right virtual technology is a must.
Steps to Host a Successful Virtual Exhibition & Expo
1. Determine the Goals of Hosting a Virtual Exhibition
Firstly, outline the goal of hosting a virtual exhibition and what you want to achieve out of the same. Whether you are planning to organise a virtual exhibition to generate better revenues? Or to generate business leads? Are you planning to showcase the latest unique product offerings to new customers or existing customers? Or you want to engage your attendees while imparting important messages? Whatever is the purpose of organising a virtual exhibition, it should be clear in the mind of the presenter. Moreover, it helps in making accurate and effective virtual event planning and strategy to ensure a successful virtual exhibition.
2. Create an Effective Plan
Once the goal of organising a virtual expo is clear in the mind, move ahead to virtual event planning and strategy. Create an effective game plan to make your event successful. Answer the following questions to yourself:
- Will your virtual exhibition be live, on-demand, or both?
- Will your virtual exhibition be gated or free?
- What is the registration process?
- How attendees will interact at your virtual exhibition?
- What engaging features would you like to introduce in your virtual exhibition?
- How would your attendees access the virtual exhibition?
- How many sponsor and exhibitor booths will be available at your virtual exhibition?
- What networking options will be available at virtual booths?
- Will you offer product brochures at the virtual booths or not?
- Would you like to have a payment gateway option? And so on.
After considering all the relevant questions, create effective planning and strategy to host a successful virtual exhibition.
3. Leverage Right Technology
Leveraging the right virtual exhibition platform is a must to host a successful virtual exhibition and expos. The massive competition is going on between virtual exhibition platforms service providers that offer engaging and customisable virtual event services.
Selecting the best platform depends on the needs and requirements of the business. Look for a platform that enables you to organise customisable 3d virtual booths, offer live chat functionality and engaging features. Live chat facilitates attendees to have 1:1 or group chats via live audio, video, and text chats. Whereas engaging features such as live polls, surveys, Q&A, gamification, photo booths, contests, etc helps in keeping virtual attendees engaged throughout.
The robust data tracking feature helps in gathering all the attendee data from the start till the event ends. Right from tracking the number of registrations to the most visited booths, time spent on individual booths, no. of downloads, information shared at virtual booths, and more each and every move of digital attendees is tracked. It later helps in offering detailed analytics reports and measure performance metrics. Moreover, ask a virtual exhibition service provider to show a demo to understand the features of the platform in depth. It will give you a rough idea about how it will benefit your virtual expos and shows.
4. Enable Attendees to Access the Content Easily
Once you have selected a virtual exhibition platform to organise a virtual exhibition and reach global delegates seamlessly, engagement comes next. Virtual event engagement is the major criterion to ensure the success of the event. Enable global delegates to access the content and information at virtual exhibitions easily. Facilitate them to book a live virtual appointment and have 1:1 chats at virtual booths. Engaging hotspots should be clearly defined at your virtual exhibitions. It helps attendees to have easy access to the information that is most relevant to them. Enable attendees to share, download & review files, PDFs, videos, audio, content at virtual exhibitions.
5. Create Interactive & Easy to Navigate Virtual Exhibition Halls
Creating an interactive floor design in a visually rich virtual environment helps global delegates to engage and navigate around the virtual exhibition hall seamlessly. With an interactive floor design, attendees can click at the branded logo stands to visit an exhibitors booth. Interactive floor plans enable attendees to access all the exhibitors’ stands and decide where they like to invest their time.
Here is an example of a virtual wedding expo solution offered by Dreamcast.
6. Create Brilliant Stand Designs for Attendees
Create brilliant stand designs to attract and impress virtual attendees. Decide in the beginning while creating a virtual exhibition planning whether your stand design should be in 2D or 3D. Decide it according to your budget, audience segment, timeline, and deliver immersive virtual event experiences to attendees.
7. Engage the Attendees at the Virtual Gallery
Organise live polls, games, Q&A, contests, etc. at virtual exhibitions to keep the interest of attendees alive. It helps in keeping attendees engaged with the event throughout. However, it results in generating better leads and revenues for the business.
8. Track Every Digital Attendee Footprints
Digital footprinting enables you to keep a record of every attendee move. Right from how they registered? No. of attendees? How they navigated throughout the event? Whom they interacted with? What are the engagement hotspots? What information did they exchange and what they liked, shared, downloaded, and commented? A comprehensive virtual exhibition platform keeps a record of every minute detail. Additionally, it helps in creating an analytics report that later helps in measuring the success of the virtual exhibition.
Sending a follow-up survey via email is a necessary step to convert the fresh qualified leads. Ask attendees to share their valuable feedback and what they liked at the event and whatnot. It helps you in knowing the areas which need improvement for future events.
Some Of The Most Engaging Features For Your Virtual Exhibitions
As we all know engagement is the major criterion that defines the success of any event whether it’s physical or virtual. As per the latest survey, the major challenge faced by exhibitors while organising a virtual exhibition is Engagement. We have listed some of the most exciting features that boost attendee engagement at virtual exhibitions effortlessly. Have a look:
Gamify your entire virtual exhibition by integrating the most amazing games like spin the wheel, dart game, tic-tac-toe, and more. It not only helps in boosting excitement and creating a playful vibe but helps in keeping attendees interested in the event throughout. A perfect option to accelerate engagements at your virtual exhibitions.
Who does not love to get clicked? I think no one out there. Integrate AR/VR branded photo booths into your virtual exhibitions and let the attendees get clicked with branded photo frames and take event memorabilia back home. It not only keeps attendees engaged but allows them to share their images instantly with friends on social media. Thus, resulting in enhancing the brand reach and tapping more attendees who are not part of the event.
Boost audience engagement at virtual exhibitions by integrating leaderboard challenges. It helps in motivating attendees to navigate every aspect of the event in the temptation of earning more points that are displayed on the leaderboard. Offering exciting gifts to the top 5 highest scorers makes them feel motivated and evokes a sense of healthy competition and excitement during the virtual exhibition.
Offer a signature or a pledge wall for your attendees to leave their remarks along with their signature before they leave the exhibition. It helps in replicating the real-essence of live physical exhibitions in a virtual world. Thus keeping attendees interested in navigating various aspects of the exhibition just like physical ones.
Embed social walls to your virtual exhibitions to allow attendees to have open discussions and engage effortlessly. A social wall curates all the ongoing discussions on various platforms with the relevant event hashtags on a single wall.
Quizzes & Contests:
Organising quizzes or contests relevant to your exhibition themes helps in keeping attendees engaged with the event.
Few Essential Tips For A Seamless Virtual Exhibition
1. Create Buzz For Your Upcoming Virtual Exhibition
Promote your virtual exhibition just like physical ones. Create an exciting buzz about your virtual exhibition long before the actual date. Leverage social media platforms to promote your event with relevant hashtags. It helps in making your event reach a large segment of the audience thus boosting your exhibition attendance.
2. Give Your Virtual Attendees A Warm Welcome
Attracting potential customers with a virtual exhibition is a bit challenging at the start. With physical exhibitions, handshakes and greets welcome the attendees and make them feel valued. But, with virtual exhibitions, that’s not the case as attendees attend the exhibition remotely. Give your virtual attendees a warm welcome with a video at the start of the exhibition to make them feel valued and introduce them to the various aspects of the event.
3. Brand The Virtual Exhibition
Customize the whole virtual exhibition set-up as per the company’s branding to create a holistic event ambiance and deliver breathtaking event experiences. A fully branded virtual exhibition helps in delivering the same value to attendees that a physical exhibition offers.
4. Customise Virtual Booths
Your potential customers are well aware of your brand. Make them identify you in a virtual setting. Customise your virtual exhibit booth as per your company’s branding. Right from customising the background images to button colors, fonts and icons make your virtual booths look just like physical ones. Offer various networking options at your custom virtual booths that allow attendees to interact with booth representatives in real-time. Additionally, you can even opt to play a video at your virtual booths depicting product features.
The perks served by virtual exhibitions are many when compared to in-person exhibitions. Wider reach, increased attendance, better participation & engagement, maximised ROI, more leads, revenues, and data trackability tops the chart. To ensure a successful virtual exhibition the right planning, strategy and technology are a must. If you are new to the virtual world and organising virtual exhibitions or expos for the first time, the above-mentioned step will help you to host a successful virtual exhibition seamlessly.