In the last few months, we’ve experienced a level of rapid change that no one could have foreseen. At Auaha, we went from a schedule packed with exciting events, to having no live events scheduled till the end of the year. They’ve been either cancelled or postponed. Understandably, there is so much uncertainty about rescheduling anything live in 2020. We’re still staying busy though! How? Cue the virtual conference!
Isn’t a Virtual Conference just another Zoom call?
We’re glad you asked! Zoom is amazing. However, we can assure you that an actual virtual conference isn’t the same as a conference call or a webinar!
Typically, you’d use an event app to distribute a conference handbook, sponsor and exhibitor details, speaker bios, and even participant profiles. You’d also have cool features to offer your speakers. For instance: audience polls, live Q&A, and session evaluations. A virtual conference prioritises interacting, networking, and engaging, just a live conference does!
And since so many professional speakers and presenters have found themselves at home lately, they are more willing than ever to consider virtual keynote and workshop opportunities. So not only can you put on a great event for your delegates, you might also be able to bring in a wider range of amazing speakers as well!
During a virtual conference, you might use Zoom as one of your delivery tools. The conference won’t be just another meeting though! Delegates will be able to share screens, interact in small groups, and experience a variety of presenters, workshops, and even networking events.
Do people want to attend a Virtual Conference?
Sandra, the founder of Auaha, recently had the opportunity to attend a virtual conference hosted in the United States. She loved it! The experience affirmed for us at Auaha that virtual conferences are worth pursuing. Ready or not, they are the wave of the future.
While attending the virtual event, Sandra realised that everything we’ve envisioned for virtual conferences is absolutely possible. It was a massive affirmation to us here at Auaha, and inspired us to keep developing virtual conference tools. Even when restrictions lift and we return to live events, we expect virtual events to have garnered enough popularity to stay around for the long run!
Well, one amazing thing about a virtual conference is that they open the doors for global registration. Case in point: Sandra wouldn’t have been flying to the USA last week to attend a conference! However, since she had the option to attend virtually from her home in New Zealand, she registered. And she was blown away by the level of networking, engagement, interaction and valuable information.
Would she attend another virtual conference or summit? Absolutely! And she isn’t limited by airfare or international travel regulations. That means she has more time AND room in her budget to attend events. (When a conference doesn’t require transportation or overnight stays, it’s much easier for individual attendees to attend.)
And in addition to saving your delegates money, you’ll help yourself as well! You won’t need to hire a venue, caterer, or even print materials. Virtual conferences do require some investment, but they also reduce or remove many of the traditional costs we associate with events. That’s a win-win for everyone!
From Facebook Groups to LinkedIn, boardrooms to home offices — people are talking about the need for more information, more connections, more community and more events. And it’s all happening digitally!
This doesn’t sound like a New Zealand Trend…
Hear us out…..
We understand that virtual conferences haven’t been that common in New Zealand. We are aware of that! However, we’re asking that you trust us on this one. Virtual conferences aren’t going away, and New Zealand businesses have so much to gain by exploring virtual options.
Businesses are going to be looking for ways to keep their employees safe. And that will mean virtual conference attendance!
Delegates are going to be looking for ways to travel less and generally reduce exposure for themselves and their families. And that will mean virtual conference attendance!
Professionals all over the world will have gotten a taste of being able to attend internationally based conferences from home, and they’ll want more. And that will mean virtual conference attendance!
Are you ready? How can your business explore the potential of a virtual conference? Right now, we know that events will be 100% online. However, even once restrictions lift, a virtual event component can help you “cancel-proof” your event. You’ll enhance live events by offering a hybrid, virtually friendly model, and if there is a compelling reason to eliminate the live component, you can still move forward.
When you know how to flip a conference into a digital format, that means you never have to cancel an event! Instead, you easily adapt and move forward with an engaging, quality online event.
What would a Digital Event look like?
First of all, virtual conferences are still gatherings of professionals or like-minded individuals looking to learn and grow. Your virtual conference will have many of the same objectives as your live conference; it’s just happening in a different space. Sharing industry knowledge, training delegates on business strategies, motivating attendees to tackle new challenges: whatever your in-person event was going to be doing, your virtual event will be capable of doing.
Depending on the technology being used, you might expect to experience:
- Breakout rooms to create more intimate small groups for workshops, networking, or other collaborations.
- Enhanced networking opportunities; at virtual conferences, you often leave connected to more new people than at a live event.
- More opportunities for delegates to interact meaningfully with speakers and keynote presenters.
- An increase in global registrations from industry professionals.
- A wider range of professionals sharing information, asking questions, and contributing to the pool of shared industry knowledge.
- Businesses being more willing to send more delegates to your virtual conference, since travel and lodging costs will be non-existent.
- Individuals are more willing to pay for their own registration costs to conferences that appeal to them, as they can attend without taking off work or footing the travel costs.
- Reduced environmental impact (from travel, printing, and consumption)
Beyond that, here are a few other virtual conference norms you might expect to see:
- Attendance flexibility, such as offering 24 hour access so that more delegates can fit the conference into their schedules.
- The ability to take the live conference footage and offer it for sale post-conference as a training tool for organisations and individuals.
Now, with those last two points, we’d like to note that those are secondary bonuses. Ideally the focus is on live attendees who are networking, engaging, and interacting! However, we do like to point out a few other perks that can make digital events potentially more flexible and profitable for the organisations running them!
Wouldn’t a Virtual Conference be really stressful to create?
Like anything new, creating a virtual conference CAN feel stressful. However, live events can be stressful too. In fact, that’s why event planning organisations exist in the first place! Just like with a live event, it’s common to bring in a third party agency to help with the logistics.
Rest assured; just because a conference is virtual doesn’t mean you have to do all the work or there is a reduced amount of work to be done!
Auaha has the technology, industry knowledge and drive to help you deliver your virtual conference or summit. We are here to help you, and all businesses across New Zealand, continue to do business and share valuable knowledge with one another.
Virtual conferences feel like a new frontier, and that is exciting! Let’s explore the possibilities together. You can always reach out to Sandra; she’s more than happy to virtually catch up and have a coffee and it’s as simple as booking time into her calendar.
Let’s create powerful, virtual events that bring us together, keep us connected and are more than just another webinar. We need them now more than ever!