Digitale Events

Virtual conferences: what to expect at digital trade fairs and how you can place promotional gifts sensibly

Tipps für virtuelle Messen

Many of our customers have switched to holding their events hybrid or completely online. And even though it was often tedious at first to familiarize yourself with the digital event platforms, this is now almost part of everyday business, especially for event managers. And the participants have largely gotten used to the changes. But how does participating in a digital trade fair work?

Participation as a visitor in digital conferences

Almost everyone in the business world has probably attended a virtual conference and is familiar with the usual functionality. Event platforms like Hopin , PheedLoop or Whova not only offer familiar functions, but also ' Metaverse' -like worlds. Larger events and trade fairs can be held here, live talks can be held, information stands can be set up and many other interactive formats can be set up.
Many virtual event platforms also have matchmaking options, for example based on similar backgrounds and interests. In this way, exciting individual discussions can be arranged or small discussion groups can be initiated on specific topics. The Theyo team has already heldchocolate tastings on various event platforms and we were always surprised at the great opportunities the different event platforms offered.

Participation as an exhibitor in virtual conferences

The experiences of exhibitors differ far more than those of participants. Instead of people passing by your stand because it is particularly eye-catching or because word has gotten around about your good coffee, the mechanism works completely differently digitally. Participants browse the exhibitor lists in advance to see what they would like to view digitally. Random events and opportunities to draw attention to your offer look different virtually. Contact is therefore not made personally, but rather via chat or message exchange. Depending on the event platform, you can also see which leads are interested in your offer and initiate contact yourself.

Advantages of virtual trade fairs and conferences

Even if many people would prefer to only have face-to-face meetings after a long Corona period, there are also many reasons to continue holding digital events. Some advantages are obvious: travel costs are eliminated and with them carbon dioxide emissions. Because participants do not have to travel, many more and more diverse groups can take part. For example, parents can organize themselves much more easily in their home office; Digital participation can also be easier for people with disabilities.

In addition, underlying event technologies – especially for event organizers and exhibitors – enable in-depth data analysis that can help improve the format and offerings. For example, the interest and participation of participants can be tracked by examining browser inactivity, click numbers, etc. For example, if participants lose interest in a format after a short time, planners can see whether they should adapt the program spontaneously or at follow-up events. Based on a wide range of information, future events can be developed and improved with specific target groups in mind.

Challenges of virtual conferences

While digital events offer easy and quick access to new formats, it can be difficult to make real, long-term contacts. If you are taking part in a virtual conference, you should prepare it well to check the presence of others and arrange meetings early and, if necessary, hold preliminary discussions. This applies to participants as well as exhibitors.

As an exhibitor or host, it can become a new challenge to adequately present your brand in the digital event space and maximize its impact. The digital conference is a big change, especially for better-known brands with high awareness and strong appeal in “real” event halls! With the virtual conference, companies of all kinds have to relearn how to attract participants' attention and engage with them in clever ways. One possibility - also digitally - is extraordinary giveaways.

Score points at digital trade fairs with giveaways

Since it can be difficult digitally to attract the audience's attention and position your brand well, it makes sense to think about this in advance. We have tips for you on how you can give your giveaways a personal touch and maximize the impact of your brand.

Gifts for participant registration

Are you planning to take part in a virtual conference or are you even the initiator? Then you will save a lot of money compared to an on-site event! Room costs, personnel costs, travel costs and catering are eliminated. Conversely, you should definitely invest some of your saved budget in sending giveaways in advance. On the one hand, this increases anticipation and – with well-prepared conference boxes – participants can even arrive at the event perfectly prepared. You can attach a printed program or a hall plan, which in turn leads directly to the virtual stands or talks using QR codes. A notepad, nourishment (e.g. chocolate ), coffee mugs or achocolate tasting set for the virtual happy hour can make a crucial difference. We have often heard from our tasting customers that the attractiveness of the boxes sent in advance had a strong influence on the actual number of participants. There was a very high number of participants, especially with the prospect of a chocolatey conference break (just saying ;-)).

Gifts for speakers

Gifts for speakers are also a nice way to show your appreciation. Send a delicious thank you gift and show the speakers that you appreciate their time and effort. A small, nice thank you often says more than many words and the speakers will remember you and the event particularly fondly.

Gifts for winners

Gamified surveys, estimation questions and small competitions are a good way to activate participants and strengthen interactivity; For example, to loosen things up during keynotes or workshops. Think of a competition that takes up current content and encourages participants to engage with it. The winner will receive a winner’s box after the event. Remember that with all giveaways and gifts, we always encourage you to share them on social media and tag yourself. At our customers' events, we see again and again that people are happy to do this if they are just asked.

Follow-up gifts

Many conference platforms create lead lists for you as exhibitors based on data-based interest in your stand or company profile. After the event, send your leads a small gift to thank them for their interest and suggest next steps. If your budget is a little smaller, go through your lead list and prioritize. International surveys and our in-house Theyo study have shown that gift recipients appreciate high-quality gifts, but would prefer to avoid “off-the-shelf” gifts. So it's better to give fewer and better business gifts!

All's well that ends well

Think about how you can achieve a brilliant finale to your event. Ultimately, the conclusion will be particularly memorable for participants when they tell others about the event. Our co-founder Madita once held a chocolate tasting as the final event of a large conference. There was an incredibly good atmosphere and the organizers have rarely had such good feedback! Whatever you decide: have fun and a successful event!

FAQ on virtual conferences
What is a virtual meeting?

A virtual meeting takes place via digital platforms such as Zoom or Google Meet and runs like a “real” meeting. The difference is that the participants are not in the same room, but all join in via one device - cell phone, laptop, tablet, computer...

What is the difference between online and virtual?

There is no difference between “online” and “virtual”.

What types of video conferences are there?

In principle, video conferences are always similar: the participants connect to the digital space, share their camera and can take part in the conversation using the chat or microphone function. Depending on the platform, there may also be additional features such as "raise hand", "applause", etc.

Header photo by SIMON LEE on Unsplash

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