Corona cases are surging, Omicron is at our doorstep and winter hasn’t even started yet. Europe is going back into lockdown and events are scaled down or canceled altogether.
Thinking about hosting your event virtually? Here’s my recommended list of platforms to consider based on 5 categories. Enjoy!
5 categories – jump to whatever you want to accomplish
- Your virtual flagship event
- Advanced matchmaking
- Fun and interactive experience
- Community get-together
- I don’t care, just give me something cheap
Bit of self-promotion: I’ve organized events up to 1500 in-person and 5000 virtual visitors. I screwed up many times and choosing the right platform from the start could have saved me lots of headache. Want to learn more after reading this post? I’m available and can support you in hosting your next virtual conference. Reach out on LinkedIn or email me on: email@example.com
1. Virtual Flagship Event
Gear up your engine and prepare to max out your creditcard. There are numerous platforms that can provide you with a great online experience that (almost) matches a physical event. Beware! Virtual conference platforms can become expensive, if you want to go down this path and host events for 1000+ visitors, don’t be scared to receive quotes of €20 to €40k. Keep in mind that (almost) all platforms charge a flat fee and a variable fee. Variable fees are usually €1 to €3 per person per day and a percentage of the ticket fee if you use their ticketing system.
- Hopin – https://hopin.com/ Great platform with an easy and clean interface and an integrated streaming service. The ticket shop is limited so you want to consider running your own ticket shop.
- Accelevents – https://www.accelevents.com/ A great alternative to Hopin. In fact, if you’re not looking to the url you can barely tell if an event runs on Hopin or Accelevents.
- Hubilo – https://hubilo.com/ Similar to the above 2 platforms, a versatile platform which supports everything you want in a conference platform.
- vFairs – https://www.vfairs.com/ Can’t get used to virtual events? Consider vFairs, a 3D simulated environment which makes you feel like you’re in a conference venue. It looks nice and works well, but it’s a bit like the first radio show where they read the newspaper out loud; there’s more to virtual events than mimicking the physical one.
2. Advanced Matchmaking
4 useful tools for virtual or hybrid events which manually or magically matches you with potential new customer. It’s a great way to engage people already prior to your event. It provides suggestions for whom to connect with, what partners to drop by and what keynotes or workshops to join. These platforms allow you to create a personalized profile and connect with people having similar interest.
All of these platforms are fairly similar and can be used next to your main conference platform. You can even use them for hosting your full virtual event, though they are somewhat limited compared to the Flagship Event platforms.
Beware! These platforms are expensive and can take a lot of time to setup. Only consider this if you’re with a team and have a couple of thousand to spend.
- Grip – https://www.grip.events/
- Swapcard – https://www.swapcard.com/
- Brella – https://www.brella.io/
- Network Tables – https://www.networktables.com/landing/
3. Fun and interactive experience
Virtual events are boring, it’s true. Still, there are some cool projects that try to make it more exciting. Have a look at the below platforms which run virtual spaces and make meeting fellow conference visitors more natural and a little less awkward.
- Wonder.me – https://wonder.me/
- Getmibo – https://getmibo.com/
- Spacial.Chat – https://spatial.chat/
- Hub.Mozilla – https://hubs.mozilla.com/
4. Community Get-Together
For companies who rather focus on bringing a community of people together instead of running corporate events, Bevy and Crowdcast are sound options. Both are suitable for informal, interactive events for a limited number of visitors (up to a couple of hundred). It’s too much of a risk to rely your million Dollar event on these platforms as I’ve experienced technical hiccups on both, but it’s easy to setup and not too costly.
Note: Hopin and Accelevents also have a cheaper option for smaller events if you’re OK with using their branding and handing over a substantial percentage of your ticket fee.
5. I don’t care, just give me something cheap
Are you merely wanting to stream 1-way video content without all the bells and whistles? Simply go for Zoom, Teams or Google Meet which work fine for running events up to 100 participants.
Alternative, use YouTube connected to an RTMP service to streams your live or pre-recorded content. Streaming services you can look into are: Vidyard, Onestream, Restream, Stage TEN or OBS, to name a few.
6. Bonus round!
There are more event platform than stars in the universe. Tons or others are only a click away and deserve some attention. Here’s a few which are interesting to keep an eye on. When looking into the below platforms, make sure to double-check what elements of the conference the do and do not provide. Think of ticketing system, streaming service, email marketing tools, matchmaking etc.
- Runtheworld – https://www.runtheworld.today/ Flagship conference platform with lots of hidden costs.
- SpotMe – https://spotme.com/ Seems nice. Have an integrated studio which you can use to manage livestreams live.
- Eventcadence – https://www.eventcadence.com/ Focussed on designers & artists.
- Underline – https://www.underline.io/ Focussed on education, research & academics.
- Squares.Live – https://squares.live/ Promising Dutch startup.
- Hypersay – https://hypersay.events/ Focus on providing a cool conference experiences.
- Swoogo – https://get.swoogo.com/ Highly customizable platform.
- Talque – https://web.talque.com/en/event Used by Embedded World, I had an awful onboarding experience though.
- Glisser – https://www.glisser.com/ Looks cool, didn’t look into it in detail
Thanks for reading all the way to the end. What’s your virtual conference experience? Let me know if I missed anything. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need any support with running your virtual event.