The very first online events date as far back as the 1990s and took the form of simple webinars lasting less than an hour. The industry has come a long way since then, particularly over the last couple of years. Now, most types of events can work in a virtual format, giving event planners and event hosts plenty of options to work with to build successful online gatherings.
Attending meetings used to be a strictly in-office activity, but that requirement isn’t as important as it used to be. Now, virtual meetings let people work collaboratively from anywhere in the world via the internet. Whether it’s a webinar, video conferencing, or a metaverse virtual environment, virtual meetings are now commonplace and a normal part of working life.
2. Onboarding and Training Sessions
Training and continuing education are important for both new and long-time employees. Virtual onboarding and training sessions are a great option to help employees get the most out of the training you offer.
Virtual onboarding: With a virtual program, every new employee gets the same comprehensive onboarding experience. Offering a virtual program lets employees take in new information independently at their own pace. Plus, it means you don’t need to assign anyone to take time off from their own work to onboard every new hire.
Training sessions: Getting employees together for training sessions is easier when you hold those sessions virtually. To attend, all employees need to do is login to a training portal and get ready to learn.
3. Breakout Sessions
Many events benefit from the addition of breakout spaces, either for breakout sessions or as multipurpose spaces for eating, relaxing, and other activities. All types of virtual events can benefit from having breakout spaces too. And since many workplaces provide breakout-style spaces in the office, we’re likely just a quick step away from virtual breakout spaces becoming an integral part of the remote workplace.
For virtual events, breakout spaces work best when they’re used with purpose, for specific types of sessions. And they’re perfect for a wide range of sessions, from roundtables to networking and team-building. Virtual breakout spaces are a great way to add valuable, high-engagement activities for event attendees.
4. Sales Kickoffs
Over the last couple years, many companies have looked to virtual events to provide options when live events were off the table. Logitech used this approach in 2021 to hold a global sales conference for 600 employees on the XtendLive 3D virtual events platform.
For this event, the XtendLive team created a fully customized virtual conference center with:
- A waterfront outdoor plaza
- An outdoor entertainment stage
- A lobby
- A networking lounge
- Workshop rooms
- Breakout spaces
- And more
We used mixed-reality studio elements to create seamless live content, allowing presenters to present their material from home. Gamification elements were added to help keep attendees engaged and motivated, with a swag store and a photobooth adding to the fun.
5. Conferences and Summits
The virtual format is perfect for conferences and summits in every industry. Holding a virtual summit or conference means attendees don’t have to deal with the expense and hassle of organizing travel, accommodation, and food. More often than not, this means more people can afford to attend. These types of virtual events can therefore attract larger, more diverse audiences. Overall, this can make virtual conferences and summits more valuable for attendees, as well as hosts and sponsors.
One early success for the XtendLive virtual events platform proved that the virtual format is ideal for conferences. For EFI, a global leader in high-end commercial printing, we developed a 3D virtual experience in partnership with ProGlobalEvents. This eight-day conference was held in a virtual San Francisco waterfront venue. The venue featured a general session theater, breakout spaces, and an expo hall. Attended by over 1,000 people from 58 countries, the online event featured both live and prerecorded content and provided a visually engaging and immersive event experience.
6. Exhibitions and Trade Shows
Many of the world’s biggest trade shows launched virtual iterations over the last couple years—with great success. Virtual trade shows enjoy all the benefits of virtual events in general. No limits on event size means the virtual exhibit hall can be exactly as big as it needs to be. And with fewer barriers to entry, virtual trade shows have the potential to attract bigger global audiences. Whether you’re in the organizer role or are attending a trade show as an exhibitor, these types of virtual events are hugely valuable.
7. Product Launches and Showcases
The live format may seem to be the best option for product launches and showcases. In fact, the virtual format can work just as well in many instances. And on the right virtual events platform, it’s possible to showcase products just as effectively as any live trade show booth.
One example of this is the award-winning Unlock Masonite experience that XtendLive created for Masonite. This digital experience showcases a range of Masonite products, allowing consumers to virtually explore the company’s most recent innovations. Launched at the International Builders Show in 2021, this digital experience won Best Virtual Immersive Digital Experience in the Ragan Communications Video, Visual & Virtual Awards for that year.
8. Job Fairs and Career Fairs
Many of the world’s biggest brands and companies recruit at job fairs and career fairs. Taking these types of events to a virtual format can have major advantages, both for companies and for jobhunters. The ability to attend these events from anywhere in the world means more individuals and organizations can take part—and that means more options for everyone.
9. Music and Entertainment
The world of virtual entertainment has expanded rapidly in the last couple years. Initially this new format was part of the new focus on virtual events. Many event organizers added musical guests and other entertainers to round out event schedules.
Now, virtual entertainment also includes metaverse appearances by some of popular music’s biggest stars. Artists such as Ariana Grande and Lil Nas X have given virtual concerts on metaverse platforms to huge audiences of millions of people, demonstrating the immense potential of this new event technology.
10. Make It Hybrid!
Almost any virtual event format can also work well as a hybrid event. In many cases, a hybrid event may even be an upgrade, because live event elements can synergize with the virtual event experience. At a hybrid trade show, for instance, booth visitors can check out a booth at the live event, and then find the virtual booth online to get more in-depth information. We’ve already seen many hybrid trade shows, conventions, and conferences in the last couple years. Hybrid is proving to be a popular and successful format, and any time you’re developing an event, it’s worth considering if a hybrid event might suit your purpose even better.
Why Not Choose Virtual for Your Next Event?
Virtual events have come a long way in the last couple years—and so have the virtual events platforms that host these events. From simple in-house meetings to huge trade shows and exhibitions, there are many types of virtual events suitable for a wide range of purposes. Consider making your next event an online event, and open up a whole new world of potential.