In the process of designing and conceptualizing virtual events, we have likened the tech platform to the live event venue. In some ways the two do have quite a bit in common, but there are also some very notable differences. Here’s a look at what makes them comparable and distinct:
We’ll start with the ways virtual platforms are similar to the live event venue:
- The platform, in many cases, is where people actually GO for the event experience. Similar to the live event venue, the platform is usually the hub for environment, content and engagement.
- Just like how the look and feel of each event venue is different, so too are the layouts and functionalities of platforms. Some virtual platforms are better suited for certain types of events, and some have layouts or styles that are better suited for certain types of brands or organizations.
- As rare as it is to find the perfect live event space, the same can be said for virtual platforms. You’ll almost always need to prioritize needs vs. wants, and be prepared to look for creative solutions, workarounds or compromises.
- Just like you can have champagne dreams on a beer budget for live events, platforms also run the gamut on costs. Some charge a per-person price, some a flat fee, and some charge incrementally for features that you may or may not need.
Here are some ways virtual platforms are not similar to the live event venue:
- While most event venues are hospitality focused and service-oriented, most tech platforms are not. The experience with most (not all!) tends to be more transactional, not always putting clients and attendees first.
- Because event venues are selling a physical space there are natural guardrails to prevent overbookings. With platforms however, it’s not that straightforward. Some are booking multiple events in a given day, with agents and tech support getting easily overwhelmed.
- Producers and Planners have a lot more within their control in a live event venue, as opposed to virtual, which relies on a mastery of back-end technology and a reliance on the internet.
- Whereas it’s fairly significant for venues to make changes to their space that affect the guest experience, it is far more easy for virtual platforms. Some platforms are making hundreds of tweaks each week, and while they’re framed as updates or upgrades, they’re not always designed to make your event better.
While the virtual platform and event venue share some similarities from a planning perspective, the lack of hospitality-mindset and reliance on technology within virtual create some key differences. We hope that over time the platforms are able to smooth out some of the aforementioned challenges, but there is certainly still work to be done.