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10 Tips for a Successful Virtual Conference / Hybrid Conference

May 18, 2020

It is relatively easy to round up some speakers on a topic, schedule a webinar and broadcast it out. The problem is NOBODY will listen! To create a successful event, it needs to be ‘curated’, carefully thought through and produced, so that something of real value is delivered to the attendee, like a physical conference.

  1. Content is king!

Normally the key content is bookended by some form of opening and closing sessions, maybe questions and answers etc.

  1. Make it easy for others to market.

The best people to help market your event are those who have a stake in it, speakers / exhibitors / sponsors etc.

  1. Meaningful Social.

Having worked on many virtual and hybrid conferences and hosted lots of them in our Central London conference centres and City of London conference centres, I can tell you the number one complaint is that you don’t get the social interaction you get at a live event. Its vital that you build as much interactivity between virtual attendees as possible. There are lots of platforms which can help with this, we will be reviewing them soon.

  1. Use some live video.

Just like in the world of music / theatre etc, live is unique!! Not all of the content has to be live but there is definitely a large place for it in many many events!

  1. Plan for strong customer support.

If your online attendee can’t hear / can’t interact etc the experience is ruined, customer support is more important for a virtual conference than it is for a physical one!

  1. Prime your presenters!

Again, from bitter experience we know that online speakers and presenters seem to have far more trouble keeping to the timetable than the ones speaking at the conference venue and in particular wrapping up sessions and keeping to the topic! A clear plan / dry runs etc can be invaluable!

  1. Treat attendees as collaborators:

At the end of the day they know what they want to hear about more than anyone, leverage this! For example, use attendees as case studies / ask for suggestions re breakout sessions / Follow up sessions etc.

  1. Leverage sponsors as partners:

What’s key here is not the size of the audience but the quality, a small but uniform audience is ideal, It allows sponsors to reach their target audience without wasting any time and money on attendees who are not relevant to their product. The organiser in turn may be able to leverage the sponsorship in a number of ways: adding credibility to the event and thereby attracting speakers and or attendees / using the sponsors’ knowledge to aid in building content / using sponsors’ contacts to build audience etc. In terms of finding a sponsor, research is the key, look at other events in the field and see who has sponsored them etc.

  1. Use the Medium:

In many ways a virtual event is similar to a physical event, in some ways it is superior and in others inferior. Use the superiority i.e. think about possibly running it over a longer period in smaller batches, an hour a day? More follow up sessions / greater segmentation / enhanced use of discussion boards etc.

  1. Don’t skimp on reminders.

Basically, experience of our central London virtual conference venues shows that a higher percentage of people don’t turn up for virtual events compared to physical events! Send out frequent reminders, ERR ON THE SIDE OF ANNOYANCE!

At Cavendish Venues we can offer: Virtual and Hybrid Conference facilities in the West End of London conference venues (Oxford Circus / Marylebone and Warren Street) and in the City of London. 20+ years of experience hosting and building hybrid and virtual events. New from May 2020 we are assigning a specialist virtual conference manager to each client organising these events at our event venues (in addition to the AV manager), the level of personal service and expertise we can offer is second to none! Finally we have award winning physical London conference centres, meeting rooms and webinar spaces backed up by the the most comprehensive plan to deal with the current Coronavirus crisis! If you are looking for a conference venue to host a virtual or hybrid event anywhere we can help you!

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