As more and more of us start to work from home, thanks to COVID it's going to be a long time before we can attend conferences and events in person. There's currently a big push towards working from home and virtual events.
Over the last week I've been looking at the best virtual event platforms, perfect for holding a digital gathering, a seminar or a virtual event with attendees around the world.
Savvy entrepreneurs are cashing in on this craze too, with limited startup costs, you can easily charge $100 per ticket and sell unlimited tickets... No food orders, no tea and coffee costs, no venue hire and no insurance policies.
Getting setup can be as easy as signing up and connecting your other platforms such as Zoom, Skype and webinar platforms, while other platforms offer a complete solution.
Most virtual event platforms offer free trials too, allowing you to try before you buy.
Pathable is an award-winning hybrid events platform, offering features for both in person and virtual events.
For virtual events, features include a virtual tradeshow with custom exhibitor landing pages, multi person and one on one video conferencing tools, attendee and exhibitor directory with direct messaging functionality and live webinars and educational breakouts with downloadable handouts and audience Q&A sessions.
Events can be accessed through white label iOS and Android mobile apps, as well as through a web interface.
The platform is fully customisable with no technical knowledge required to set up and use and can be fully integrated with related platforms such as Eventbrite, YourMembership and Salesforce. Each event comes with a dedicated Customer Happiness Manager.
Pathable have three starting prices available, with full quotes available on request. Small events with under 500 attendees start at $8500, medium events with between 500 and 3000 attendees start at $12,500 and large events with 3000 plus attendees start at $19000.
Founded by two childhood friends, Boston based Accelevents has a simple pricing structure for virtual events. If it is a paid ticketed event, they charge 20% of the ticket price or if it is a free event, they charge $3 per participant per day of the event, with a minimum $500 fee charged for all events.
Events can be live streamed through the platform with built in production studio and broadcasting software, or can be integrated with streaming platforms such as Zoom, Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
Ticketed permission levels can be set for live and recorded keynote address and breakout sessions, with live Q&As and downloadable handouts.
For networking, there is AI powered matching tools for one to one networking and “cocktail hours”, as well as live chat, direct messaging and group discussion functionality.
Other features include virtual exhibitor booths, attendee and speaker management tools and real time data and analytic reports.
The vFairs event platform can be used to host a range of virtual events including conferences, trade shows, jobs fairs, product launches and networking events.
Once registered through the customised landing page, attendees can access a virtual lobby with an event information help desk.
They can attend webinars with live polls and Q&As, interact with exhibitors and other attendees through real time one on one and group text and video chat, and use a Virtual Briefcase feature to save handouts and notes.
For exhibitors there are a range of virtual booth templates that they can choose from, and everything is mobile optimised and responsive.
Each event gets a dedicated Events Manager that can help to plan and set up the event. They also provide an event operations team and live chat support during the event, as well as post event performance reports.
vFairs do not publicly advertise their prices, instead requiring event holders to contact their sales team directly.
Onlive has quite a complex pricing structure, but comes with several virtual event features. It has a Studio Manager for live broadcasts and pre-recordings, with tools to add AI subtitles, share screens and moderate discussions.
Exhibitors can set up virtual booths and book one on one chats with attendees, and sponsors can have their logos overlaid on video streams. Networking options include an attendee and exhibitor list and the ability for attendees to live chat, book meetings and share contact information.
Attendees can also playback broadcasts and create personalised conference agendas.
There is both a Free and Premium Pay as You Go Plan and then Starter, Basic and Pro subscriptions. The premium plan is $2.50 per attendee plus 1% of ticket sales.
The subscription plans allow for unlimited events and cost $199 per month (plus 1% of tickets) for the Starter, $498 per month for Basic, and $995 for the Pro plan, each with different yearly registration caps.
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Nunify can host events of up to 1 million attendees, live streaming with zero delay and in HD with their propriety Nunify Live streaming technology.
Organisers can stream with a webcam or professional studio software, as well as multi stream to Facebook, Youtube and Vimeo, with all streams being automatically recorded.
Organisers can insert videos into live broadcasts as well as screen share and invite any attendee to speak, controlling when they come live. Interactive breakout and meeting rooms can also be created.
In the Lounge Area, attendees can search, discover and interact with each other. There are also public and private chat tools with one on one, session and event level chat options. Exhibitors and sponsors can create custom virtual booths, with live chat and video meeting capabilities.
All events are delivered through a web interface, accessible through any browser. The platform is GDPR complaint with all data protected with enterprise grade encryption and there is 24/7 chat and email support. All pricing is by request.
Copenhagen based Tame has global in-house technical support, as well as an online academy, personalised training courses and in person demos and on boarding to ensure organisers have all the tools they need to run a successful virtual event.
All event sessions can be streamed live, accessible from the web and from mobile and tablet apps.
Several sessions can be streamed at once and attendees can interact with live chat features, polls and Q&As, with data tracking tools to help organisers analyse which events attendees are engaging with the most.
There is a virtual event reception, where attendees enter and get information about and register for seminars and sessions, with real time push notifications and reminders. They can also schedule and conduct group discussions and one on one video meetings from within the platform.
Pricing is done on a use case basis, with an appointment with an event expert needed to discuss each event’s requirements.
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The Eventtia events platform does not provide built in streaming functionality but it can be integrated with a range of third-party platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, Ooyala and WebEx amongst others.
It does however provide a secure video chat platform for one on one business meetings.
The platform also takes care of all event logistics, with everything organised and accessible through a central dashboard.
Organisers can use the platform to design the event website, set up and manage the registration process, create event schedules and send automated email campaigns.
There is less in event functionality than other events platforms however, with no virtual exhibitor booth features for example. There is a virtual main stage, but no virtual lobby and no features to hold breakout sessions.
Networking is limited to a matchmaking feature and the video chat tool for one to one meetings.
Eventtia does not provide prices for its platform, instead requiring customers to fill out an online form.
Eventcreate is focused on providing software for creating event websites and invitations, and has less tools for actually holding a virtual event, for instance for live streaming or virtual networking.
Using Eventcreate’s drag and drop website builder, users can create an event website based on one of Eventcreate’s website themes. This can also be fully customisable, with the ability to add content and import video or images, change font styles, and adjust the overall colour scheme and layout.
Users can also add a custom event domain name. The website can then be used to collect registrations and sell tickets. It can be integrated with PayPal and Stripe and supports multiple currencies.
The platform can also be used to create guestlists and send invitations and there are also tools to send SMS messages and automated emails.
Eventcreate offers a 7-day free trial as well as a Free Starter Plan. There is also a Professional Plan ($9 per month) and an Enterprise Plan ($39 per month).
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With Enventzilla, live streaming can be added directly to any event page, with integrations possible with streaming platforms such as ZOOM, GoToWebinar and ON2. Attendee directories, polls and comment features can also be added to make any live stream more interactive.
Tickets can be sold for any webinar or streaming session, with custom registration pages and personalised access for attendees.
For example, attendees can be given different content depending on their registration level or breakout group, and can be sent related content after the event.
Organisers can also provide on demand content, with videos and materials available to download for paid attendees.
Eventzilla offers both pay as you go and prepaid options. The Basic pay as you go plan costs $1.25 per registration, whilst the Pro is 1.9% plus $1.50. The prepaid plan starts at a $2 fat rate fee. There are also pricing options for free events available on request.
Spotme has hosted over 10,000 virtual events, counts some of the world’s largest companies as customers and has some of the best virtual events features available.
Its virtual lobby can be branded and customised, and features a virtual concierge and a networking feed, where attendees can interact with one another and chat with experts and speakers.
Live streaming can be done through Zoom, WebEx and OBS with the option to hold multiple simultaneous sessions and multi speaker streams.
There is also built in video conferencing tools, allowing breakout sessions, workshops and networking events to be held. All events can be accessed through the web, and iOS and Android apps.
There are three main pricing plans – VX Essentials, VX Pro and VX Premium. Essentials is suitable for one time and short events and costs $4800, whilst Pro costs $16000. Premium is $26700 and is best for large scale conferences and comes with 18 hours of streaming time and 3 months access.