Choosing the right venue is an important part of organizing a live event. Is the same true for virtual events as well? The truth is, even though your event is happening online, the space you create for it does matter. In fact, the setting for a virtual event plays a significant role in its success.
Why Your Virtual Event Venue Matters
Virtual events take place entirely online, and event content can be launched from almost any online environment. This means, for instance, that a video clip or livestream of a product demo can be launched from a simple webpage or viewed on YouTube. Given this, what’s the point of having a virtual event venue at all? Isn’t it just a complication and an extra expense?
The virtual event venue is more important than it might seem.
Seamlessly integrate multiple elements to create a cohesive environment.
Even small virtual events may have many different elements, from speakers to exhibitor booths to education sessions. The virtual event environment is a way to integrate them into a cohesive whole that makes sense to navigate through. Delivering a full event experience therefore requires more than just a website.
A single event might use prerecorded audio and video, livestreaming, and simulcasting, along with interactive elements such as live polls, Q&A sessions, and other forms of communication. In fact, at some events you’ll find all of these features in a single exhibitor booth. And each of these elements must be integrated into the event space as seamlessly as possible. A dedicated, purpose-designed virtual event venue is the most effective way to achieve that integration. In turn, that allows for a seamless user experience.
For instance, in XtendLive’s Expo Center template environment, we’ve created a virtual space that’s perfect for trade shows. This template includes an event hall that can accommodate a minimum of 50 to 100 booths but can scale infinitely to allow as much space as you need. Each exhibitor has their own virtual booth, with its own space and location in the expo hall. Booths can add pre-recorded video, live streaming, 3D product models, gamification elements, and live text and video chat. Each exhibitor can mix-and-match these options to create their own multi-layered booth experience.
Even a small event, with 100 booths or less, can generate a huge amount of content. Simply listing it all on a website would make it seem overwhelming or, worse, uninteresting. But putting it in the context of a virtual event space helps organize it and bring it to life. And it adds an element of familiarity that makes it easier and more interesting to navigate. Users who’ve been to live shows but are new to virtual event venues will find that familiarity helps them decide what to do when they log into the event.
Create an engaging and interactive virtual environment.
A simple livestream on a webpage won’t satisfy a modern audience, especially one that’s used to the spectacle of big industry events. Using a virtual venue to organize and display content is a game-changer in virtual events, because it allows the creation of an event with high production values. This ensures your event both looks good and performs to a high professional standard. Both of these elements are crucial because they play into how engaging and overall enjoyable the event experience is for your attendees. Even a well-designed and high-end website doesn’t compare to the level of engagement an immersive environment can inspire.
As virtual events have become more common, it’s become apparent that achieving high levels of attendee engagement is a major challenge. At live events, attendees are fully immersed in the physical experience. At virtual events, there are plenty of distractions to take their attention away from the virtual space. Whether it’s coming from the home or work environment, or from the distractions present everywhere else on the internet, virtual events must work hard to retain the attention of attendees. Providing a polished, user-friendly, and engaging event venue is an important part of that.
Virtual event venues can really shine for this purpose. Virtual venues are full-screen, immersive environments. They give attendees plenty to look at, and most importantly, do. This means they’re less likely to be pulled away by distractions. Fill up the venue with a good variety of content, and you can keep attendees engaged for longer periods of time. People will still step away from the computer from time to time, of course. But by providing engaging content within a 3D virtual environment, you help ensure they’ll keep coming back.
Provide opportunities for networking and interaction.
One of the main limitations of virtual events is in how networking and other person-to-person interactions work. At live events there’s an element of natural spontaneity, where chance meetings with both old friends and new ones can enhance the whole experience. It’s harder to introduce that kind of element into a virtual event, but using the right virtual event venue can provide a similar kind of experience.
For instance, XtendLive’s virtual event venues offer users a “first-person” experience, where they can move around the space as if they were actually in it, giving them the feeling of a tangible presence in the digital landscape. Once they enter a room, they can use the venue interface to bring up a list of who else is there, along with a brief bio. And they can move around the room and strike up conversations just as they might at a live event. It’s not a perfect simulation of a live venue, but in some ways, it’s actually an improvement. By giving attendees the ability to check out user bios of other attendees, they can up their chances of starting a fruitful conversation.
Virtual Venues Help You Take the Live Event Experience into the Online Environment
There’s no question that it can be challenging to design a virtual event experience that delivers all the excitement of a live event. Using a virtual event venue is one way to pack in plenty of content and interaction to keep users engaged over the course of your event.