With restrictions lifted at last, many event managers are hiring physical venues for their conferences once again.
As event managers with a long history of helping our clients to run physical conferences ourselves, we at Gravit8 can wholeheartedly agree that it’s a fantastic feeling knowing that we can get back out into the real world to meet others in the industry face-to-face in 2021.
However, virtual solutions are far from forgotten, and many conference facilitators and event organisers have discovered since the pandemic, the bestconferenc online conference platforms not only work powerfully as a standalone option, but could also provide additional support during their upcoming face-to-face conferences.
Read on to discover how…
6 ways virtual conference platforms will boost the success of your physical conferences:
1. They’re more cost-effective
Much of any conference’s success centres around a good ROI and cost savings. After all, this is what will enable you to put more funding into your business endeavours and hold similar events in the future!
Unfortunately, the costs of hosting a conference at a physical venue get high very quickly. For starters, you’ll be required to provide and pay for staff for all your stalls, as well as team members to support the running and logistics of the event.
Travel costs, such as flights and other transport and hotel bookings are also pricey, followed closely by catering and evening entertainment.
Additional costs to consider include your carbon footprint, services such as Wi-Fi, electrics, cleaning and storage and any software you want to run – which is all before you consider the need for printed materials, such as promotional banners and signage, and programmes and resources for your delegates to take away with them.
What’s more, conference delegates are also eager to save their money (and time) on travel expenses, such as transport, accommodation, food and so on.
A virtual conference platform can help to drastically reduce these costs, as the only expenses you’ll need to consider are the platform itself and the design of any digital materials you are hoping to distribute. You can then consider reducing the size of your physical venue to save on this further.
As a result, you’ll save a significant sum of your conferencing budget, and increase the likelihood of delegates attending. What’s more, with a platform like Gravit8, your online delegates can still enjoy some of the luxuries of a physical conference, such as a beautifully brand-designed virtual theatre space.
2. You can invite as many delegates as you like
In a physical conference space, you’ll have a set number of seats and take-home resources available for delegates. The best online conference platforms have unlimited capacity, which means that, when put together with your physical conference, you can invite as many attendees as you wish.
What’s more, as there are no travel requirements, you can also invite delegates to tune in to your live conference from anywhere in the world and access a more diverse audience.
This includes those who are time poor and future professionals in your sector, as they won’t need to lose time and costs on travel. Plus, the digital resources you have on offer for them will be infinite.
3. You can expand your professional network exponentially
Conferences are a great place to bring likeminded professionals together to get the latest updates and findings in your particular sector. As such, it offers the opportunity to expand your professional network and foster mutually beneficial working relationships and partnerships.
Unfortunately, in a large physical conference environment, short break times, large spaces and crowds in which to search for people, queues to chat to speakers and public transport to catch after the event, finding the time, space and privacy to have in-depth discussions or even swap contact details can be tricky.
However, the best online conference platforms will have the virtual facilities to support this. For example, should your delegates have a question for you or your conference speakers, they will have the ability to do so via a virtual chat function.
Similarly platforms such as Gravit8 have integrated virtual meeting rooms where physical and online conference delegates can meet to discuss their findings and foster connections through video calls and instant messaging facilities.
By offering these opportunities for connection – something that many conference delegates have missed greatly during the pandemic – your event is likely to be looked on favourably, and remain popular for years to come!
4. You can gather in-depth data about your online delegates
Virtual conferencing platforms also provide the means to gather data about your online delegates, which you can then use for any future business marketing endeavours you may have.
For example, delegates will have signed up to attend your conference with their name and contact details and specified whether you can use these to keep in communications with them following the conference.
This opportunity for digital connection means that you’ll know exactly who you met at the conference and how to get in touch with them.
These details can then be added to your CRM tool (Gravit8, for example, can be integrated with your CRM to fully automate any data uploads), and used as part of any relevant marketing campaigns or events you hold in the future.
What’s more, when delegates sign in to the event or download digital resources using the virtual platform, you can gather data on their specific job roles and interests, which will ensure you can target them with relevant marketing and increase your chances for commercial success.
5. They offer additional opportunities for interactivity
As mentioned above, virtual conferencing platforms offer the chance for you, your speakers and delegates to connect with each other. However, they also take this one step further by enabling opportunities for interaction, which can be difficult in a face-to-face venue alone.
For example, Gravit8’s virtual conferences facilitate real-time Q&A opportunities, which other delegates can see and hear, both via text and webcam submission.
What’s more, you can incorporate elements such as digital polls and quizzes to keep your delegates engaged throughout the conference, whether they are there in person or virtually.
Ultimately, the greater the levels of interactivity and engagement you can offer at your conference, the more successful it is likely to be!
6. They provide all the information you need to make your next conference even better.
Without the support of digital, it’s difficult to gauge the success of your event beyond watching your audience of delegates like a hawk or using clickers to track how many people arrive and leave.
The best online conference platforms, on the other hand, can record a plethora of different statistics surrounding your conference; either from people accessing the conference virtually, or those who are physically present and also engaging with a digital device. This includes:
- how many delegates actually came to/engaged with the conference
- what points during the conference they left, if at all, before the end
- which resources delegates downloaded, if any
- who and how many delegates used the interactive elements of the platform
– and much more.
You can also ask for feedback throughout the conference via pop-up forms or live chats for even more on-the-surface insights.
With this amount and depth of information, you’ll have everything you need to analyse the success of your event, in order to make improvements for future ones.
Supported by virtual conference platforms, physical events can help you achieve greater success from your events than ever before.
Of course, it’s all well and good us sharing this view in writing – but believe us when we say that seeing it in person will truly cement the value online conference platforms can bring to face-to-face venues.
If this is something you’d like to try, then do not hesitate to get in touch with our team at Gravit8 today. We’d be delighted to take you on a tour of the Gravit8 platform so that you can see all the incredible benefits outlined above and more for yourself!