You may be thinking ‘how can a virtual event compare to the real life version?’ Read on for our eight reasons why you should include attending virtual events in your calendar.
As covid has made us shift to working, interacting and meeting digitally, many trade shows are being put on as virtual events. Our own Make it British Live! trade show has been postponed until 9 & 10 March 2021. However, connecting with people in the industry is still very important and events need to be adapted to continue to bring people together. So many, including Make it British, are taking the events online.
But you may be thinking, what is a virtual trade show, and how can it ever replace the real-life version?
Virtual trade shows can’t replace real-life events completely. Face to face interactions are important, as is being able to see colours and feel materials. But covid has meant that we need to be creative with the technology available to be able to bring you the features you’d expect from a real-life event via a digital platform, e.g. an expo area, conference and networking. In fact we think there are several advantages to virtual events over real-life events.
Here are our eight reasons why we think you will benefit from attending a virtual event.
1. Time Saving
At virtual events you can cover a lot more ground in less time when you don’t need to leave your desk. At a real-life event it can be difficult to see everything on offer and there is usually something you miss because you simply run out of time.
Online events are so much less tiring and more productive. Why take days out of the office when you can see the same amount of suppliers in just a day?
Realise you’ve forgotten to visit a certain exhibitor? It’s easy to pop back in to the event from your device.
2. Cost effective
Huge savings can be made by not leaving your office, factory or home! Real life trade shows can be costly to attend, for both exhibitors and attendees.
You’ve got travel, hotel bills, eating out and after show drinks which can all ramp up the expenses.
Whilst attending after show parties is a great way of networking, it can also make a dent in company profits, and most businesses are going to want to tighten their belts over the next few months.
Virtual events are a more sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to real-life events. Not only do they eliminate the need for travel and transport, they also use significantly less resources as there is no large space to heat and light.
Trade shows are notorious for the amount of waste they produce, taking the event online avoids this issue. The event organiser won’t need to print show guides, lanyards or signage. The exhibitors won’t need display boards, brochures or printed marketing material, and visitors won’t need to print tickets or business cards.
Trade shows can be busy, loud and are held in all kinds of venues, meaning they may not always be accessible to everyone.
A virtual trade show removes any physical barriers someone may have to attending a venue. And entering a trade show via their own device means they can make use of the accessibility tools they need to gain information, navigate and communicate within the event. Hosting a trade show virtually means it can be completely diverse and accessible to all.
5. Efficient for data collection
Exchanging virtual business cards at a virtual show is so much easier than real-life ones.
We get lots of messages from previous attendees of our events asking if we remember a certain exhibitor because they’ve lost their contact details. With virtual events that doesn’t happen because you’re exchanging a digital business card.
Most virtual booths make it easy to collect and give data so that exhibitors have a list of leads to follow up with after the show, and visitors have all the details they need to contact the businesses they met at the event.
6. Better for networking
Technology at an virtual event can help speed up the process of finding new contacts, you can upload your details to help match you with the right contact, making your networking, quick, simple and targeted.
Some may say that losing the serendipity of who you might bump into at a real-life trade show is a bad thing, but some virtuals events, like our Make it British Live! Online event, are introducing a system to add a lucky dip aspect to networking. This sees you being matched with a random visitor in a speed networking style. You can talk to them for up to 5 minutes, see if there are things you have in common or maybe a way that you can work together in the future, before being reshuffled and matched with another attendee.
7. Easy to navigate
Virtual events make it easier to find the exhibitors you want to see because you’re not trying to navigate numbered aisles and negotiate an event guide floorplan that may be confusing, and maybe not up to date because there have been last minute changes.
At a virtual event you can browse through the list of exhibitors in much the same way you would look for them in a directory. Popping into their virtual booth you’ll be able to find out more about what their business does, you may be able to watch a video about their company, engage in a chat conversation with them, or book a meeting with one of their representatives to have a face to face video conversation with them to find out more about the products and services that they offer.
A virtual event means that you can fit it in around your own schedule. Many events and trade shows will include a conference of industry speakers, but you may be interested in only one or two of the talks on offer.
Attending virtually means that you can sit and watch as many talks as you want to, or you can dip in and out of them, whilst also popping into the expo area for meetings with exhibitors, meeting new people in the speed networking area, or even leave the event for a while to carry on with your own tasks. A virtual event will also send you notifications for any sessions you’ve signed up to so you don’t miss anything.