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EDLANTA is a Bulgarian consulting agency founded in 2007. It specializes in the field of education and language training abroad for Bulgarians. The agency accompanies both potential students in finding the right university programs abroad and connects global universities with prospective students.
For this, EDLANTA also hosts annual education fairs for its target audience.
However, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company took their education fair online for the first time ever.
Once the lockdown was imposed in Bulgaria, EDLANTA started their research. They had to find the best way to continue organizing their annual fairs, while making them safe to attend for students, parents, and university representatives. All research pointed to one solution: their best bet was a virtual education fair.
But EDLANTA had never done any online events. They were worried about losing traction and clients. Here are the three main challenges they were worried about.
Virtual events were very new to Bulgarian audiences and EDLANTA had no experience in organizing them. They were also worried whether prospective students and their parents would be able to navigate through the platform and find the information that they needed.
On top of that, EDLANTA is run by a small team of 10 people. Managing a completely new platform and making sure the audience engages with it seemed like an uphill task.
With all sorts of in-person interactions out of the picture, EDLANTA realized that there could be fewer chances to engage attendees. During in-person events, you can call over people who seem interested and strike up a conversation. In a virtual setup, that option isn’t really there. You need to rely on other means to get prospects to speak with you.
And will they do that? This entirely depended on the engagement features of the platform they’d use.
EDLANTA was offering placements for international universities and the attendees at the fair were mostly students who had taken English as their first foreign language at school. This made English the first language of choice. But the second part of their audience was parents who were more familiar with Bulgarian. This raised EDLANTA’s third concern: Would a virtual interface be able to accommodate different languages?
The event team set out to look for a solution that could solve the problems events faced in virtual setups. They looked up various options and attended their events to get a feel of them.
After comparing several competitors, they found vFairs to be the best choice for them. The team’s responsiveness and customer service did it for EDLANTA. The onboarding was smooth and they got around the software very quickly. And that was just the beginning.
EDLANTA started designing their vFairs education fair immediately. The application was very easy to use and the team enjoyed experimenting with different layouts. What had initially seemed daunting, became very easy for all people involved in setting up the event.
Moreover, the team was extremely helpful every step of the way. In our interview with Radina Michaylova, Marketing Manager at EDLANTA, she remarked: “The HR of your company [vFairs] is flawless!”.
To make navigation easy for their audience, EDLANTA wanted their booths to be easily identifiable. They would tag in-person booths by country and then arrange them alphabetically.
With vFairs, they could replicate this arrangement in a virtual environment. Booths were assigned different colors, each representing a specific country so attendees could easily head to their regions of interest.
In addition to this, each of the booths had program details and links to relevant university web pages. This feature helped students explore the universities on their own, checking out courses, and discovering other opportunities on the campuses.
EDLANTA’s education fairs had parents and students both in attendance. And the generational difference also translated to lingual differences. While the students were comfortable with English, their parents mostly preferred Bulgarian.
To tackle this, 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.
The consulting agency was also worried about losing student interest if the virtual even turned out to be unengaging. But the opposite of that happened.
vFairs’ webinars helped EDLANTA invite several different speakers to record speaker sessions for the event. These could be easily accessed at any time. Moreover, participants could go to each booth, get details for the university, and initiate a chat with the representative. This helped them feel more connected with the event.
Despite the challenges, EDLANTA was easily able to maintain the same level of engagement and conversions from their education fair. They were also able to improve the quality of the attendees, with more relevant participants making their way to their education fair.
The fair generated a steady stream of clients that kept coming even after the fair had concluded. With vFairs, EDLANTA made sure that their education fair not only survived the pandemic but thrived in it.
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