Having completed and successfully passed each of the required modules for certification as a VEIP (Virtual Events Institute Professional), Vedrana Dancerelle, Head of Events, shines a light on virtual events at Church House Westminster in this interview.
Why do you think virtual events hold so much appeal?
Virtual events can boost event income. Event costs are lower as there are fewer overheads. It also allows scalability, with an opportunity to grow audiences, and reach more relevant people.
We see virtual event elements co-exist with in-person events, supporting face-to-face experiences with digital on-demand content that has the potential to extend the life of an in-person event.
Hybrid events remain very popular – it’s flexible and it combines the best of physical and online events. It requires a specialised approach, charting out different and distinct event experiences for each audience (in-person v virtual) and then connecting them in a simulteanous manner, to ensure optimum engagement.
What is the role of a venue when it comes to virtual events?
We take great pride in providing innovative event technology, supporting clients as their events evolve, and offering expert ideas. No two events are alike and for this reason, our approach has been personable and bespoke, understanding exactly what the client is trying to achieve. We’ve upskilled our entire team as event technologists, and thanks to our continued capital investment in technology, we have it all covered – from impressive broadband capacity to fail-safe backup solutions. We are operating as a one-stop-shop where technical provision and production guidance offer reassurance to event planners.
How different is the process when planning virtual events? How should it be approached?
Firstly, establish why you are holding this event. Once you’ve decided on your goals for the event it will be easier to define and measure KPIs. This will also inform your content. Now follows clarification as to the budget.
Armed with the above information, the next step is to research the audience, based on experience and engagement levels. With every event you learn through experience, so be open and try new models and formats.
This then leads to a demo of the platform, ensuring it provides engaging touchpoints for your content. From here it moves to the actual production on the day.
Your top tips for organising engaging virtual events?
- Remain flexible, things change and events, for this reason, should be fluid.
- Make sure you have assigned distinct areas of responsibility for every aspect of the event, from content to marketing, production, and platform.
- Don’t overload your audience – keep it simple with shorter, more impactful sessions.
- Sync content across physical and virtual journeys.
- Keep in mind why people attend events: to learn, to connect, and to be inspired.