In April 2021, the Leaders Summit on Climate 2021 invited 40 world leaders to tackle the pressing climate crisis. Thus, came to be the largest virtual gathering of global leaders the world had ever seen. 

From small businesses, all the way up to governments and global leaders, virtual summits have really taken off. Many of us only learned of them after the COVID-19 pandemic. But over the past year, we’ve come to appreciate just how impactful they can be. 

In this article, we’ll explore:

  • what a virtual summit is.
  • why this event type became popular.
  • how organizers can design the perfect virtual summit with vFairs.

What is a virtual summit?

A virtual summit is a virtual conference that brings people together to solve a problem. For instance, global leaders discussing the climate crisis or employees solving organizational challenges.

Several people will also consider virtual summits synonymous with virtual conferences and that’s fine too! However, we like to stick with the above definition.

Why Virtual? 

As a life-threatening disease loomed over us for most of 2020, people didn’t have the option to host on-site events. Event organizers had to explore remote options and that’s how virtual events finally got global attention. 

Companies of various sizes and verticals tried various virtual event platforms out. But by way of accident, they noticed that well-organized virtual events offered the same level of engagement as on-site events. Not only that, they were much easier to host and attend. 

Here’s why summits went virtual as well.

  1. Greater reach: On-site events have logistical limitations like auditorium caps and fixed lobby space. Virtual summits don’t. Anyone from around the world can attend virtual events, making them available to limitless global audiences.
  2. Ease of attendance: People no longer had to drive to far-off venues or fly in from different cities to be a part of the discussions. They could simply use their laptop and attend a virtual summit from the comfort of their home offices. 
  3. No travel/catering costs: With people attending virtually, event organizers were able to eliminate traveling, catering, and accommodation costs with virtual summits.
  4. Longer availability period: Hosts could keep the sessions live for as long as a year for their attendees to revisit if they so wished. 
  5. Inclusivity: Virtual summits were also much easier for people with disabilities to attend. People restricted to their homes or struggling with mobility issues could easily participate in the talks. Those with hearing and visual impairments could also partake in the activities with accessibility features.

Why vFairs Virtual Summits? 

Video calling and online meeting apps have existed for a long time. Why was there ever a need for a dedicated virtual event platform? 

Well, online meeting tools like Skype and Zoom offer platforms for office meetings and group chats. But a summit needs much more than that. This event type requires advanced features like webinars, live Q&As, networking options, and resource hubs. The summit experience goes beyond just meeting someone online. 

After organizing a score of virtual events for the past few years, vFairs understands the needs of a virtual summit well and offers a dedicated solution. Here’s a breakdown of how the vFairs virtual summit offers an unmatched virtual summit experience. 

1. Realistic 3D Environments That Enable an Immersive Experience 

vFairs puts special emphasis on an immersive virtual environment. This helps attendees engage with the event better and just generally enjoy it more.

an image of the NLC virtual conference lobby

Visually rich environments also make it easier for attendees to ease the application. They’re better able to get a sense of their surroundings in a setting that matches their past event experiences. This lowers the learning curve, making navigation easy.

vFairs offers several different layouts for your virtual summits, with multiple branding options so your event truly represents your identity. You can also match backgrounds with your office or your usual convention center so attendees feel right at home. 

2. Engaging Webinars with Q&As and Live Polls

Next up is the most important aspect of any virtual summit: the webinar. People attend summits primarily to listen to the speaker sessions and interact with experts. This is why the webinars need to be highly engaging and interactive. 

an image of polls at vfairs virtual summits

vFairs offers multiple webinar hosting options: 

  • Host live sessions with real-time speaker-attendee interactions.
  • Host semi-live sessions that are pre-recorded but accept comments in real-time.
  • Upload pre-recorded sessions for attendees to view at their convenience.
  • Make your sessions available on-demand for as long as you’d like.*(((((((((

Virtual summits with vFairs offer live Q&As and polls. You can even moderate these and address questions that pop up more often. 

3. Breakout Sessions

After the speaking sessions conclude, organizers might want attendees to attend breakout sessions. These bring people together for problem-solving and work great for summits.

vFairs features breakout sessions for attendees to split into smaller groups and collaborate in a more intimate setting. The platform helps bring the best ideas to the table. 

4. Networking Features 

No virtual event can be successful with dependable and intuitive networking features. vFairs goes one step ahead to offer multiple networking options: chat, audio, and video. Choose to engage in one-on-one conversations or catch up with your colleagues in a group chat. 

an image of a webinar

Moreover, auto-matching also helps people meet others that share their interests for new meaningful connections and an overall memorable virtual summit experience.  

5. Resource Center and Video Vault

Most virtual summits also have a bunch of helpful resources to offer their attendees. These could be agenda documents, briefs about the summit, or even awareness documents. You can host these on vFairs and even let attendees save them to their virtual swag bags. The video vault lets you upload videos to your vFairs virtual summit so attendees can view them at their own convenience.

6. Navigational Videos and Maps

Upon entering the virtual summit, you can even greet attendees with introductory videos or navigation instructions. These help visitors feel more comfortable with new platforms and get better attuned to the upcoming activities. 

7. Exhibit halls (optional)

While many summits don’t really need an exhibition floor, some organizers still like to provide their sponsors some real-estate at the event. They might also want to give attendees another way to speak to organizational representatives. 

National Oceanography Centre UK

For this reason, vFairs has one of the most functional and immersive exhibit halls you’ll ever see. With custom booths and animated avatars, you can create a floor that imitates. You can also choose from a scroll-through view and an aerial view. 

How to Design the Ultimate Virtual Summit with Vfairs

The vFairs virtual event platform offers a range of summit features that help organizers design a power-packed convention. Let’s see how you can design the ultimate virtual summit with vFairs. 

1. Get in Touch with Your Dedicated Project Manager

Every virtual event at vFairs starts with the kick-off call with your project manager. This is where they assess your virtual summit’s needs and gauge the best features and add-ons for you. Depending on this call, they’ll also tell you about any integrations that will improve your virtual summit offering. 

The representatives at vFairs understand the importance of making your event your own so they’ll ask you about the event visuals as well. You’ll have the option of choosing from various layouts, diverse avatars, and much more. 

2. Configure the Landing Page 

Get the registration page up as early as possible so you can start your marketing efforts in time. This will help you collect more registrations, in case people have to sign-up for the event.

landing page example

You can prefer to keep a short and sweet landing page or you can go for an in-depth guide to the event with speaker bios, benefits of attending, the event agenda, FAQs – basically, anything that convinces more people to attend. 

landing page example

To see what types of data you can make available on your landing page, check out these massive spreads:

We recommend shorter landing pages that cover the event basics with highly visible calls-to-action, as these make for convincing pitches that aren’t too overwhelming for readers.

3. Set up the Webinars

Next, you’ll want to set up your webinars. You can either do this yourself from the webinar module or ask your project management team to set them up for you. 

an image of an auditorium at a vfairs virtual summit

For each of your sessions, choose from the following types of webinars available:

  • Zoom Webinar: This is your standard Zoom webinar that starts in the Zoom application and allows for breakout sessions.
  • Automated Zoom Webinar: This webinar automatically starts at the stipulated time.
  • Embedded Zoom Webinar: embedded within your event so attendees don’t have to navigate away from it. This also offers more branding options. 
  • Pre-recorded Video: This is the semi-live webinar option where you can upload a pre-recorded session. 
  • On-demand Video: You can choose to offer sessions on-demand so attendees can view them whenever and however many times they’d like.
  • Click Meeting Webinar: This session type lets attendees interact via video and audio with the speaker. It offers the most interaction options with the attendees.
  • Kudo Webinar: This type features our Kudoway integration that lets attendees view the sessions with real-time translations into a language of their choice.

The most popular webinar types for vFairs virtual summits are Meetings and Zoom Webinars. 

In addition to these, you can also add posters to your auditorium as PDFs or include message titles such as ‘Break’.

Next, specify the time and details for each of your sessions.

You can also use other integrations such as Wordly or Slido to add live Q&As and polls to your sessions. 

4. Set up Chat Rooms and Your Networking Lounge 

Since networking is also a major part of the virtual summit experience, you’ll want to set up networking rooms with a lot of care. Try to make as many options available for attendees to interact.

an image of a networking lounge at a vfairs virtual summit

You can set up multiple types of rooms. These can range from community chatrooms where you can connect with attendees or a ‘Meet the Experts’ room where you can reach out to speakers or experts from the event.

5. Enable the Meeting Scheduler

The meeting scheduler is another popular feature at vFairs virtual summits. This helps attendees connect with representatives without having to waste their time for the representative to get free. It also works for speakers who don’t want to be in a public chat room being bombarded with multiple attendee questions at once. 

an image of the vfairs meeting scheduler

To set this up, head to Chat Slots from the navigation bar at your event’s backend. You can create chat listings and set up reserved slots from here. 

6. Get in Touch with Your Partners for the Exhibit Hall

If your summit is going to feature an exhibit hall, you’ll have to connect with your partners for booth customizations. The vFairs exhibit halls offer exceptional customization options, allowing organizers to put branding at the forefront of the exhibition. 

Collect the booth collateral such as standees, logos, videos, and documents from your partners or give them access to the platform. They have the option to set up their stalls however they like. You can also let our project management team set up the floor based on your requirements. 

an image of a vfairs booth

The booths are also where all the resources for your event are hosted so attendees can add them to their virtual swag bags.

7. Other Features You Can Use

There are tons of other features that the platform offers if you’d like to further upscale your vFairs virtual summit. Here’s a quick summary of those:

  • Help desk: Offer attendees a centralized place to ask for directions and technical assistance. 
  • Notifications: Update attendees and let attendees know what’s about to start as the day progresses.
  • Live-attendee stats: Gauge current engagement by viewing how many people are online at any given time.
  • Scavenger hunt: Add excitement to the event by hiding objects around the venue and doing giveaways.
  • Miro integration: Collaborate with the attendees using Miro’s collaborative whiteboard. 
  • Photo booth: Make the summit more fun and engaging with an in-event photo booth.
  • Leaderboard: Boost engagement with a scavenger hunt and a leaderboard that tracks scores.

For a complete list of features, head to the vFairs features page.

Conclusion

With years of virtual summit experience, vFairs has been able to optimize its offering based on the smallest needs of event organizers. Because of this, our event specialists have also been able to understand what features work best for this event type. 

With their expertise, setting up a vFairs virtual summit is incredibly easy! All you have to do is have clear goals in place and we’ll take care of everything else.

 

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