With increasing concerns around COVID-19, many organizations are having to rethink and restructure their upcoming events. For many, that means canceling their event(s) outright. For others, that means taking their event(s) or component(s) of their events and making them virtual.
Now, if you’ve never hosted a virtual event before, the thought can certainly be intimidating — especially when you’re in a time crunch. But with a solid plan and the right technology in place, “going virtual” really isn’t as hard as you may think.
Read on for a few virtual event FAQs…
What kind of technology would I need to host a virtual event?
It all depends on the type of event you’re hosting. Is it a one-day event or a multiple-days event? Do you have one speaker or several speakers? If you do have several speakers, will you be hosting one session at a time or concurring sessions? And last, but perhaps most importantly, will you still be hosting the in-person event and just adding a virtual option or will the entire event now be virtual?
To cover your bases, you may want to start by looking at a learning management system (LMS). With many LMS solutions, you can do all of the above: livestream an in-person event, host live webinars, upload and store content for on-demand viewing, etc.
An LMS gives you options, so think beyond just your immediate event. What doors could that potentially open for your association or chamber down the road? (Think about how developing a digital strategy to generate year-round, on-demand content could generate non-dues revenue for your organization.)
How long does it take to get technology like that set up?
Again, this depends; it depends on the technology you choose and the technology provider. Keep in mind, though, that with the progression of COVID-19, many organizations are now seeking out virtual event software. So if time is of the essence for you, it’s better to go ahead and start reaching out to companies and asking about those time frames sooner rather than later.
Would I be better off postponing my event or taking it virtual?
There’s no clear-cut answer to this one, but there are several factors you should consider to determine what’s going to be best for your particular association or chamber.
- If you postpone it, is there a chance COVID-19 could still be an issue around the rescheduled date?
- If you postpone it, will that create conflicts for those who’ve already registered, causing a decrease in registrations/attendance?
- On the flip side, if you postpone it, would that allow people who perhaps had a conflict before now be able to attend?
- If you offer a virtual option in addition to your in-person event, will everyone just opt for the virtual option (which will likely be less expensive), thus causing you to bring in less revenue?
- On the flip side, if you offer a virtual option (at a lower cost), will more people be able to attend, thus actually allowing you to bring in more revenue?
Again, there’s no clear-cut answer, but these are all factors to consider. And think of it like this: Everyone is experiencing the same scramble to assess the value of taking previously in-person events virtual. So if this is something you’ve ever wanted to experiment with, but weren’t sure how your members would respond and what attendance would end up looking like, now is actually a good time to test it out.
If you’d like to learn more about MC | LMS, the full-scale learning management system from MemberClicks, click here!
And for more tips and best practices regarding how to plan a virtual conference, check out our free guide below!