how to host a virtual event

How to Host A Virtual Event: Best Practices

Learn how to make your next event the best one yet with our virtual event best practices. From pre-event to post-event and everything in between, you’ll have an event that attendees won’t ever forget!
May 5, 2020

Virtual events and virtual conferences have become a formidable course of action for event planners and managers. You can reach out to a large pool of audiences and prospective attendees while attracting the best speakers to speak at your event. Transforming your physical events into virtual events is the best option to democratize your experience; You can boost your creativity and add up to the taste of your attendees! We’ll cover all the basics about hosting a virtual event, from the beginning stages to after. 

25 Best Practices for Hosting A Virtual Event 

What to Do Before Hosting the Virtual Event

<span class="mid-size-title">1. Build An Activity Map</span>

Guide your virtual event with ease with the help of an event activity map. An activity map is great for planning out the structure of your event and can cover information from all departments about your event. Activity maps can help put all the event information in an organized, easy to understand visual format for everyone to see! 

<span class="mid-size-title">2. Decide the Type Of Event You’re Planning to Host</span>

It’s imperative to narrow down the exact type of virtual event you’re planning to host, especially with so many options to choose from. Your action plan going forward will differ between each event, so it’s important to decide if you want a virtual summit, conference, webinar or other kind of virtual event!

<span class="mid-size-title">3. Choose the Right Platform for Your Virtual Event</span>

Where you choose to host your virtual event will depend on what your needs and goals are for the event. As previously stated, each event will be different as well, so it’s important to choose a platform that can give you everything your specific event will need. Do you want a platform that handles all the event branding for you? Or are you in the market for one that gives you in-depth analytics for each part of your virtual event, from start to finish? Answering these questions will narrow down your wants and needs as you shop through different platform options. 

<span class="mid-size-title">4. Set A Realistic Timeline</span>

No matter what kind of events you organize, define a clear timeline for your event. The timeline is the most critical aspect of your virtual conference, where you can segregate the tasks and activities you need to complete for your full event. Set the timeline for pre-event and after event engagement and activities too. When you manage or need to manage a team working under you, ensure that you communicate the project deadlines to them clearly, covering their responsibilities and duties.

event timeline

<span class="mid-size-title">5. Begin Inviting People, Advertise and Promote Your Virtual Event</span> 

This step is where your marketing strategy will be extremely important! Make sure your marketing team is aligned on how, where, and who you want to advertise your event to. Promote and invite guests through social media, email, networking groups and more! 

<span class="mid-size-title">6. Develop a Clear Agenda that Includes Speakers and Timeframes</span>

An event agenda is a list of topics along with times that you follow throughout the course of your event. By creating an event agenda, your event will be able to stay on track and ensure that you use all of your allotted time efficiently. Making sure to include all speakers and activities that you’ve planned for your event will ensure that everything runs smoothly once your event day arrives. 

event speakers

<span class="mid-size-title">7. Include Moderators At Your Event</span>

Moderators are people assigned to ensure that your event runs flawlessly and on time. They can enforce the agenda you’ve created by keeping the timeframes in check and make sure no one is having technical problems. 

<span class="mid-size-title">8. Create Contingency Plans</span> 

No matter how prepared you are for your virtual event, having a backup plan should always be a top priority. You never know when a guest speaker could get sick or if your hosting platform is having technical issues! Include a backup list of guest speakers and a tech support team just in case. Having a virtual event contingency plan will allow both you and your team to relax a little in knowing that you have options in case of an event emergency. 

<span class="mid-size-title">9. Make Quality Content Available</span>

Content is still the king in 2023! This is especially for those who have their business and events online. Great digital content can pay you off big time and make your events look far more professional and engaging. Consider sharing short videos, images, and GIFs along with blogs to attract your attendees and speakers too. Have different presentations ready to present as well as any informational documents you’d like to share with guests or speakers. 

<span class="mid-size-title">10. Create A Run Sheet, Practice and Remind Guests</span>

Similar to an agenda, a run sheet is a schedule that will help guests know what to expect during your virtual event. For speakers, make sure to run through their part in your event so everyone will know what to expect. Don’t forget to send reminders to guests about the event coming up! 

<span class="mid-size-title">11. Provide Configurable Booths and Advanced Branding</span>

Allow any exhibitors at your event to have the option to create an enticing booth that’s on-brand with their business. Design booths that will allow exhibitors to display their logo clearly and visibly as well as the option to incorporate any color schemes! 

How To Host A Virtual Event 

<span class="mid-size-title">12. Teaching Your Platform</span>

Not every guest who attends your virtual event will be knowledgeable when it comes to technology. During your virtual event, have support available to teach any guests how to use a certain part of the platform or how to navigate the platform as a whole, such as teaching videos or documents with important platform information. Having technical support to answer any platform questions from guests will be a huge help as well!

<span class="mid-size-title">13. Create An Immersive Experience with Your Virtual Event</span>

Due to the nature of your event being virtual, its success will rely heavily on how digitally engaging everything is. Make sure the landing page you create is one that will capture guests’ attention and make them want to sign up. During your virtual event, the platform you use should be equally as captivating for guests and keep them entertained for as long as the event goes on. 

<span class="mid-size-title">14. Make Use of Engagement Tools</span>

Choosing a platform with a plethora of engagement tools will take your virtual event to a whole new level. Many platforms offer tools such as live chats, group discussions, gamification and much more! The more options your guests have to interact with one another and with your company, the better! 

use of engagement tools

<span class="mid-size-title">15. Gamify Your Event 

What better way to have guests engage with your virtual event than with all sorts of games! With gamification, you can encourage audience interaction and drive attendees to desired areas of your event. Gamification can include things like quizzes, contests, polls and more!

<span class="mid-size-title">16. Showcase Your Sponsors</span>

The companies and people who sponsor your event deserve a dedicated area of their own, even at a virtual event! Set aside a place where you can promote your sponsors’ logo, company, and sessions or content for attendees to interact and get to know them. 

<span class="mid-size-title">17. Enable Personalized Communication with Attendees </span>

Communicating with attendees personally is a key part in making any virtual event you host a success. With a virtual event, it’s easy for people to feel invisible behind their screen, so you want to make sure you have plans set in place to make sure everyone receives proper communication. For events with large audiences, create smaller groups that enable more personal communication. Train staff members to know how and when to communicate with every attendee to ensure everyone feels welcome and comfortable. 

<span class="mid-size-title">18. Include Breaks & Networking Sessions During the Event</span>

Just as breaks are important for in-person events, virtual events are no different! Breaks allow guests to absorb all the information they learned during certain parts of your event and have a moment to relax. Networking sessions are a great way for attendees to take a break, as they can socialize with other attendees while getting a feel for how everyone is feeling about the event. 

include networking sessions

<span class="mid-size-title">19. Add A Virtual Event Host (AI or Human)</span>

No matter how closely you’ve planned your virtual event, there’s always the chance for  moments of confusion or the occurrence of complications. For these reasons, adding a host to your virtual event could be beneficial. Whether a human host or an AI host, your virtual event could run much more smoothly with the help of a virtual host. 

<span class="mid-size-title">20. Take Note of Audience/User Details for Future Outreach </span>

One of the many benefits of hosting a virtual event is the amount of data you can receive from attendees. By collecting different types of attendee information, such as emails and phone numbers, there’s an increased chance of having them as guests for future events.  

What To Do After Hosting The Virtual Event 

21. Create a Feedback Survey for Attendees and Guest Speakers</span> 

The best way to collect information on how your event went from guests and speakers themselves is through surveys! Surveys can provide insight on all aspects of your virtual event, from registration to how the hosting platform worked.

22. Compile Notes on What Was Successful for Future Events</span>

Once you have attendee answers from your post-event surveys, you can start making note of what went well for future events. Ask your team what they think went well too, so you have a comprehensive list of what concepts and processes to include to make future events a success!

23. Generate Detailed Reports</span>

Thanks to the advanced capabilities of virtual hosting platforms, you can collect reports on different aspects of your event with advanced analytics. These reports can include data about your website, registration, audience demographics and more!

24. Share Virtual Event Recording On Digital Channels</span>

What better way to promote your business than to show how great your event was across different channels! Showcase the highlights of your past event and include guest feedback to show how valuable it was to attendees. This not only will give your future events more credibility, but it will also invite new attendees to join in the future!  

25. Share Event Details & Debrief</span>

One of the most important parts of your event is the post-event debrief with your team. It’s the perfect time to discuss all the details of your virtual event across all departments and cover all the pros and cons of the event. This is the perfect time to share analytics and go over how you can make your next event even better!

Ready to start planning your virtual event?

Now that you have all the best practices for hosting a virtual event, you’re ready to go forth and conquer! Make sure to not forget the virtual event practices that happen before your event, as this can impact how smoothly your event goes! Hubilo can help with additional steps to make your virtual event the best one yet.

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Hubilo is the event professional’s event platform for live, hybrid, and virtual events. Founded over 5 years ago to revolutionize engagement at in-person events, the company makes it easy to bring people together anywhere, anytime. Hubilo’s powerful engagement features, personal client experience team, and custom branding tools have helped create over 12K events and counting. Headquartered in Bangalore and San Francisco, Hubilo’s nearly 400 employees are dedicated to co-creating the world’s most important events: yours.

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