Should We Go Virtual? How to Determine if a Virtual Event is the Right Fit
The very first thing we think about when considering virtual events is the decision to go virtual in and of itself. But when your Plan A in-person meeting isn’t an option, it’s often overwhelming to determine a go-forward plan for your upcoming event and identify what the right fit is for your organization’s goals.
When the traditional meetings industry is disrupted, we are faced with three main options: to cancel your event, postpone it, or take it virtual. But how you come to this decision involves a series of questions like: How do I decide if I should do my event virtually? Should I consider a live/hybrid approach? And if I do go virtual, what is the timeline involved in making that decision?
At LAI, we continue to partner with our clients to help them answer just that. We recommend playing out a few different scenarios – all of which have a clear decision date and trigger points that help to determine which path to take.
Take a look at the main focus areas we advise organizations to think about and the key questions to ask before determining whether or not to go virtual:
When is your event? Is this a band-aid solution for a must-have meeting in the near-future? Is it a contingency plan for an event next season? Or, are you thinking strategically long-term, perhaps even into the next year?
If you have enough time to build out a distribution platform, but still need to host your event earlier than restrictions may allow, a virtual event is a great option. Or, if you’re facing a short timeline, you can work with a virtual event producer to help fast-track and project manage the process.
What are the commitments you’ve already made to your partners? Are there cancellation fees? Are you able to postpone without penalty?
This may seem obvious, but is an important determining factor. Whether with the hotel, convention center, vendors, other event partners, assess where those agreements stand, and the dates that are connected to them. This will likely trigger some decision-making and help dictate the type of solution you need.
How big is your event? What’s the complexity of the program? How quickly can you put together a virtual version of the program? Also consider marketing – how long do you need to market the event to generate sufficient attendance?
Depending on your desired audience size, a virtual or hybrid event may be the best option to comply with capacity guidelines. A virtual option also allows for greater attendance, where people don’t have to travel or make accommodations to attend. When thinking about a virtual program, consider new and different ways to distribute content to keep remote audiences engaged. For example, you can incorporate a variety of videos to capture their attention and get deliver your message
What kind of experience are you looking to provide to your virtual attendees? Do you need interactive elements? An exhibit hall? Can the platform deliver?
While there are hundreds of distribution platforms out there that can provide these elements, with the increased demand for virtual, some platforms are beginning to fill up with business. Make sure you determine the level of platform and functionality you need, and that your desired provider is available to deliver in your needed timeframe. Learn more about the different virtual event package options here.
Once you think about the different time-sensitive factors and start to answer some of these questions, you’ll likely have a better understanding of which decision makes the most sense for your organization and event goals.
WE CAN HELP!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the decision of whether or not to go virtual – you’re not alone! We can help you weigh your options and navigate whichever path you choose. Get in touch with our team today to start the conversation: