Virtual Events: 5 Common Misconceptions

Is a virtual event a webcast or a slightly bigger webcast?

For a virtual event, will I need to create an avatar and move around in strange, computer world?

Starlit Sky EventThese are thoughts that I had before participating in a few virtual events. I am fascinated by virtual events and love learning new information through virtual platforms, especially in the events that are targeted toward event professionals.

Having marketed and planned live events for over twelve years, I recently learned at the Virtual Edge Summit that there are some big misconceptions when planning a virtual event. Below are five common misconceptions about virtual events that I learned:

1. Virtual Events are Easier to Plan

The experts in the virtual events arena talked about how it takes as much strategy, often more planning, and a larger, more technical team to plan a virtual event. Speakers will need a rehearsal, using the exact equipment to make sure all is running properly before the event. Frequent and strategic promotions are critical. Educational materials for exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees need to be prepared to describe how to best to leverage their participation in a virtual forum.

2. Virtual Events are Less Expensive to Plan

Depending on the size and complexity of the event, this may or not be true. With virtual events, the catering, venue rental, attrition, and transportation costs are eliminated; however, it can be expensive to pay for the vendor(s) to provide a top-notch platform and internal team to keep it all running smoothly.

3. Virtual Events will Replace Live Events

Virtual events make it possible for a more global and diverse audience to participate, as well as help attendees cut travel costs, but face-to-face connection and networking cannot be replaced.

4. Hybrid Events will Reduce Attendance at the Live Event

A hybrid event is a live event in conjunction with a virtual event. It is said that using hybrid events can help build attendance overall. The live and virtual platforms can complement each other. A few case studies have shown that many attendees who are first-time virtual attendees are driven to attend in person the following year.

5. Virtual Events Require an Avatar and Technical Knowledge

For events that take place on a 3D platform or virtual world like Second Life, this is true. However, most virtual event platforms are still 2D and require only computer internet navigation skills.

I have not yet ventured into a virtual world event, but I will be sure to blog about it and let you know how it goes.

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