Out of the several trends that show promise in the coming year, virtual events will take center stage in 2021. Exciting, isn’t it? we bet you’re looking for some virtual event ideas yourself? 

Virtual events replicate the experience of physical conferences and other major gatherings using an online platform. They connect exhibitors with attendees in a virtual space which makes them more accessible for everyone. They also lower the cost of organizing an event while enhancing the reach and boosting the return on investment (ROI) effectively. 

What Are The Types Of Virtual Events? 

If you haven’t organized a virtual event before and are confused about the kind of event you can host, this is for you. We have ten groundbreaking virtual event ideas for you to incorporate in your corporate strategy for the next year.

These virtual events include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Virtual Trade Show
  2. Virtual Product Launch
  3. Virtual Benefits Fair
  4. Virtual Career Fair
  5. Virtual Open Day
  6. Virtual Education Fair
  7. Virtual Conference
  8. Virtual Job Fair
  9. Alumni Networking Fair 
  10. Virtual Exhibition Fair 

Without further ado, let us help you understand these virtual event ideas.

1. Virtual Trade Show

Trade shows conducted online allow businesses to capture qualified leads effectively. They are a good method of educating your target audience and converting them into customers, regardless of geographic boundaries. 

Virtual trade shows can be classified according to the industry, such as virtual fashion shows, virtual motor shows, and virtual food shows.

If you are planning to showcase your products or services and hope to capture leads with minimal cost, virtual trade shows are the right choice.

Case In Point

Northumberland Manufacturers Association (NMA) hosted a virtual trade show as COVID-19 prevented them from hosting their in-person event. They wanted to engage participants making sure they attended workshops. They also intended to host interactive presentations and raise funds through ticket sales and in event donations. 

The NMA Virtual Trade Show featured exhibit booths, which their team very easily set up themselves, a grand lobby with a welcome video plus a leaderboard that encouraged participants to cover maximum virtual ground. They also had a plant tour in addition to on-demand presentations. NMA fully benefited from the versatility of the virtual platform and ended up reaching a wider audience. The team enjoyed the customizable designs and the flexibility of the platform. 

NMA networking lounge

“Your designs — love the animation, sizes of lobbies — the compatibility with Zoom — Zoom through your platform is much nicer than on its own — and your team. We could not have done this without a patient, well-educated team, and vFairs provided that” – Darla Price, Managing Director NMA 

2. Virtual Product Launch

Have a new product and want to introduce it to the market in the best way possible? Go for a virtual product launch

A virtual launch event can introduce your product to a global audience, increase prospective customers, provide measurable insights about the attendees, and enable you to conduct the event with low overhead.

With the help of interactive tools, a virtual product launch can be made more effective. Interesting features like audio/video chat, webinars, presentations, and videos can be added to a virtual launch as well.

Case In Point

Solid Solutions hosted their virtual product launch event in hopes of attracting customers and educating them about the new software. In addition to that, they wanted to conduct skills development sessions and build brand awareness. They employed features that would draw in audience members, engage them and create a memorable experience for them. They did so with animated lobbies, interactive sessions in their 3DEXPERIENCE auditorium, and an expo hall with booths clearly laid out. 

They ended up increasing attendance by 30% in their virtual trade show. They were also able to demonstrate the new version of the software to customers and help them develop skill sets and knowledge. They created networking opportunities for them. The best result was that Solid Solutions was able to generate sales leads with the increased attendance. 

Solid solutions auditorium

“[A virtual event] was a very good replacement for in-person events. I was pleasantly surprised by the overall outcome. It was a good platform to share content and build awareness” – Nick Sibly, Group Operations Director, Solid Solutions

3. Virtual Benefits Fair

The easiest way to inform employees about the benefits offered by your organization is through virtual benefits fair. In an interactive environment, employees get to know about the benefits providers and compare the best options. 

With the help of brochures, webinars, and presentations, employees get to make informed decisions. In case of any confusion, they can reach out to benefits providers through audio/video/text chat.

An online benefits fair cuts the cost of flying in benefits providers for an information session provides measurable insights and makes the whole process more convenient for everyone involved.

Case In Point

The second Hillrom Benefits Fair with vFairs exploited the virtual benefits fair platform to maximize employee engagement. Hillrom virtual benefits fair was focused on educating and communicating the benefits available to employees and getting the employees to various different benefit partner sites. 

They relied on a leaderboard where attendees could gain points if they took the benefits knowledge check survey, or attended a presentation or even pre-registered for the event. All this is aimed at creating maximum awareness among employees regarding the benefits available to them. They tied this up to wellness points (converted into Health Savings Account Dollars) which people could earn based on the points they earned in the leaderboard. This even drove them to the benefits booths. 

Hillrom benefits fair

“We refer [vFairs] to other clients. This is our level of satisfaction. We explored four more options when considering virtual benefits fair, but nothing in the market comes close to what vFairs has to offer” – Chris Mahoney, Manager of Employee Benefits Plan

4. Virtual Career Fair

Want to hire top talent and promote your employer brand? Then virtual career fairs are for you. A virtual career fair enables organizations to reach out to a global talent pool by leveraging the power of technology. 

Online career fairs are not only cost-effective but also a great medium for hiring a diverse pool of employees. You can interact with potential candidates through chat tools, disperse information through webinars and presentations, and go beyond geographical boundaries to get the best possible resources for your organization.

Furthermore, virtual career fairs allow organizations to conduct interviews in real-time. Organizations can list all the open positions on an integrated job board and collect resumes from interested candidates. They can also go through applicant data and filter candidates easily. 

Case In Point

Unilever Turkey redefined recruitment with an interactive virtual career fair. They wanted to find a targeted talent segment of recent graduates from across the country for the company’s various departments. They also didn’t want the constraints of a physical career fair holding them back and hindering their ability to promote company culture at the physical career fair – which makes them a top employer in the country. 

With a virtual career fair, they were able to overcome these constraints firstly with the customized registration form which captured leads that mattered the most to the employer including education level, university, city and department of interest. The prospect pool could be easily filtered to separate various qualifications, geographic segments and even career ambitions. By allowing attendees to upload their resumes at the time of registration, Unilever Turkey was able to secure a digital resume database that required no physical paper collection, sorting or data entry hassles.

unilever turkey exhibit hall

Moreover, they had customized booths for all departments and real-time chat options to create a wholesome experience for the attendees. They also had a built-in search resume filter to accommodate a reliable and instant means of finding talent based on the desired employer criteria. 

Unilever Turkey virtual career fair ended up with 900+ Registered Users, 350+ Logged-In Users, 1750+ Private Chat Messages and 1700+ Public Chat Messages. 

5. Virtual Open Day

We all have heard about or been to open days — also known as open houses — at colleges and universities. They are very helpful for prospective students, as they provide them with all the necessary information for making a sound decision and acing the application process. Open days are also a good branding opportunity for universities.

With a virtual open day, universities can reach out to a global pool of prospective students, diversify the student body, and promote programs effectively. They can chat with attendees to address their questions or collect inquiries and follow up later. 

Attendees can also access important documents like brochures, course outlines, and program guides on the event website. Information sharing can be further improved with the help of webinars and presentations. 

Case In Point

When COVID-19 struck three weeks before Bard College was set to host its open day for accepted students, they didn’t have much choice but to host a virtual open day. They wanted a virtual platform that would allow them to accurately showcase the opportunities Bard College has to offer and create spaces for students and their families to ask questions of faculty, staff and current students.

They created a branded landing page with a simple login setup. Introductory videos and welcome videos by the President of Bard College and the Director of Admissions were added to the virtual platform. They were able to depict their beautiful campus virtually as well as highlight all the major landmarks. In addition to this, they featured individual booths which gave access to various courses. They were able to offer additional content, podcasts, brochures, etc. which could easily be downloaded. A campus tour video and gallery were also added to give attendees a visual representation of the college. Furthermore, with webinars and presentations on curriculums and life at Bard the admissions team was able to engage the students. 

bard college

“With just three weeks to turn around our event, vFairs reassured us that they could get everything online even in a short amount of time. The content included videos, documents, podcasts and live webinars which could be recorded for later use. vFairs worked around the clock making sure we could get everything in place for our event” – Mackie Siebens, Director of Admissions 

6. Virtual Education Fair

Education fairs are very common these days. They enable universities to properly showcase their offerings, to increase awareness and improve the chances of recruiting the best students for their programs.

With virtual education fairs, universities get a chance to showcase their culture, programs, and values to a global audience. This enhances the reach of the event, generates more value for the money, and makes the event accessible for everyone. 

Customized booths, video vaults, and chat tools enable universities to engage with attendees effectively and leave a lasting impression. 

Case In Point

EDLANTA hosted a virtual education fair, increasing their leads and improving their engagement. With Bulgaria in lockdown, EDLANTA had to find the best way to continue organizing their annual fairs, while making them safe to attend for students, parents, and university representatives. Their best bet was a virtual education fair. However, EDLANTA had never hosted online events. They feared missed conversations, opportunities and thought the language barrier would further add to these hindrances. 

To counter EDLANTA’s concerns, vFairs created a vibrant space with virtual booths, an animated lobby with optimal customization for the diverse audience. EDLANTA set up their event mainly in English. This was to cater to their main target audience (the students) and it also made sense since the universities were international. To assist the parents, EDLANTA incorporated Bulgarian in their visuals and posters. In this way, they were able to serve a wider audience and make it easy for them to navigate the education fair.

EDLANTA virtual lobby

7. Virtual Conference

Gathering everyone in one place to discuss a topic of interest is no longer needed thanks to virtual conferences. Virtual conferences enable organizations to host keynotes, breakout sessions, webinars, and much more without flying in people from various parts of the world. They connect like-minded people who can exchange ideas, gain inspiration from one another and network. 

An online conference is not only cost-effective but also allows speakers to address a large audience without the limitations of a traditional physical conference.

Case In Point

vFairs has hosted a number of virtual conferences for a ton of clients over the years. One of the more recent ones was for the Slovenia Tourism Board (STB). FEEL sLOVEni@ Business Date is a B2B tourism event in Slovenia that offers networking opportunities and meetings with renowned Slovenian tourism providers. Additionally, the conference offers an amazing opportunity to establish and strengthen business partnerships between foreign tour operators, tour agencies, and the representatives of the Slovenian tourism industry. The main goal of the event was to promote Slovenia as a tourist destination.

STB was looking for a platform that would have an interactive two-way meeting scheduling process as one of their main functions such that both attendees and tourism providers can seamlessly schedule meetings. 

The 1:1 meeting scheduler, buyer and exhibitor profiles complete with description and interests plus technical support among other features helped STB achieve their goals and overcome their fears of an online event. They also enjoyed the fully branded lobby and auditorium. It added an extra flair to their experience. 

slovenia virtual lobby

“We were very satisfied with colleagues on the other side, vFairs side, with project managers – we were very surprised because there are different time zones between Slovenia and Pakistan, they were so quick in answering and helping us, whether it was a Sunday or Saturday, we always got an answer – compliments for that.”- Tanja Mlakar, Project Manager at Slovenian Tourist Board

8. Virtual Job Fair

Get the chance to play matchmaker for organizations and job seekers by hosting a virtual job fair. By leveraging technology, a virtual job fair breaks traditional barriers and attracts participants from around the globe to meet, network, and give interviews to representatives of their dream organizations.

It enables organizations to conduct real-time chats, collect resumes, and interview potential hires on the spot. If you are an organization looking to hire fresh talent, a virtual job fair can be the right virtual event for you.

Case In Point

RCNi virtual job fair successfully connected nurses with potential employers. Their physical job fairs were hit by COVID-19, and hence they moved to a virtual location. What really stood out for them in the virtual platform were the on-demand sessions which were available for 30 days after the event. Attendees were able to access these at their own convenience. 

The animated lobby, the simple and easy-to-navigate exhibit hall plus the chat and networking facilities made the virtual job fair an instant hit with RCNi. Through the ‘Search Attendees’ tab on the navigation bar exhibitors were also able to filter resumes and could view and extract resumes from a database of over 5000 resumes.  

RCNi virtual job fair

“The vFairs team was very patient and supportive with us and answered numerous questions along the way” – Tina Sutch, Event Manager RCNi

9. Alumni Networking Fair 

Facilitate your universities or schools alumni to come together on one platform and engage with one another. Providing them with this platform will help you keep all your alumni connected. They are an asset, and an alumni networking fair not only brings them close to their peers, but also to your university/school. 

Alumni can search for similar profiles, people with similar interests and job titles. They can invite them for a chat using the live chat tools.  Alumni can get updates about their alma mater. This fosters meaningful conversations and also helps create opportunities for people. 

Case In Point

NYU brought its alumni together in a career conference. Their top three objectives were to bring a large network of students and alumni to a single platform, find an alternative to the high costs of allocating resources, creating marketing collateral, and managing vendors while also making similar information available for multiple students at the same time. 

NYU enjoyed the global accessibility that this platform accorded them. The online networking event also made interactions possible using the live chat tools. Students were able to access bios of professionals belonging to their industry and could book an appointment to have a 1:1 text/audio/video conversation with them. 

The two-day NYU Virtual Career Conference was quite successful. Over 130 students registered for the event. vFairs tracked visitor traffic and activity throughout the event and prepared a detailed report for the host to assess their overall performance at the event.

10. Virtual Exhibition Fair  

You can either host a virtual exhibition fair or be an exhibitor in an event hosted by another party. In the case of being a host, you can invite other organizations to exhibit their products and services. As an exhibitor, you get to showcase your products and services without the stress of hosting.

With the help of an online exhibition fair, you can increase brand awareness by marketing your products/services to the intended audience. It also enables organizations to sell their products through the event.

Features like chat tools, webinars, and video vaults can be used to keep the attendees engaged. Such features also help in converting attendees into customers. 

Case In Point

The Arizona Imaging & Microanalysis Society (AIMS), a local professional society in the state of Arizona promotes the knowledge of biological, physical and industrial applications of microscopy, imaging and/or microanalysis. When COVID-19 forced AIMS to reconsider their in-person annual conference, they decided to host a virtual meeting with vFairs. 

They wanted a platform that had easy-to-use templates, was cost-friendly and supported poster hall sessions. 

The easily scrollable exhibit hall in the AIMS virtual meeting featured individual vendors showcasing their products and relevant resources among other useful links. Vendors had completely customized booths, with branded banners and graphics on display. Even the avatars were diverse, and were selected by the vendor themselves. 

AIMS virtual meeting also wanted poster halls. In their poster halls, attendees could download a larger version of the posters. Some of the presenters had a complementing recording with the posters, where they described the posters. 

AIMS lobby

Arizona Imaging had a wonderful time working with the vFairs team. 

“The sales representative from vFairs was super helpful. They helped us split up invoices and even accommodated the numerous changes” – Page Baluch, Research Scientist AIMS

How Do You Make A Virtual Event Fun? 

Using the above virtual event ideas as key takeaways, we list down the best ways for you to meaningfully engage your attendees and make the virtual event fun and memorable for them: 

  • Live chat tools (1:1/group audio, video and text chat)- enabling communication
  • Resume filters/ search profiles/attendees features – providing convenience for employers and employees alike
  • 1:1 meeting scheduler 
  • Multilingual sessions – catering to people globally 
  • Gamification (scavenger hunts, polls, quizzes) 
  • Knowledge check surveys 
  • Live tours (university/plant etc.)
  • Shopping cart to push sales/leads 
  • 3D experience auditoriums 

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