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The advantage of virtual trade shows

December 3, 2020
Eliana Viner
Written By
Eliana Viner

Opening the event doors to the digital world

Virtual experiences are becoming increasingly popular, and the event world is no exception. Conferences, meetings, trade shows, exhibitions, concerts, fairs, summits and expos have all begun a massive process of digitalization and it is important to understand why. Even before the world saw its first truly global pandemic, these changes were underway. The reason centers around the countless opportunities and benefits that digitalization offers from cost-efficiency to expanded global reach to greater sustainability to optimized lead generation. Social distancing just gave businesses the final push to adopt this budding technology. 

 

Bring on the savings

Organizing a virtual event is not only a more flexible option, but there are also considerable time and cost efficiencies to be found. Forego the need to spend countless hours trying to find the perfect venue and then painstakingly plan the event within the physical and administrative constraints. Instead, design and customize a dream venue, free of physical limitations, and make every inch of the digital space fit your show’s needs. Create unique branding and sponsorship opportunities, make spaces larger or smaller to accommodate the number of exhibitors and visitors, and optimize the layout. When creating your own event space, the opportunities are endless. 

Once you’ve created your ideal space you can reuse that exact 3D environment for future shows, modify it each year, or even use it year-round, the choice is yours. Either way the costly expense of finding, renting, setting up, maintaining, cleaning and organizing other show services for a physical venue are gone. With all these other tasks and expenses avoided, time and money can be channeled towards more critical elements of an event. 


Exhibitors also gain extraordinary time and cost savings when they sign up or create virtual exhibitions. According to EXHIBITOR magazine, exhibitors spend 35% of trade show budgets on booth space, 11% on exhibit design and construction, 10% on shipping, 13% on show services, 14% on travel and lodging, 10% on graphic design, production and promotion, and 7% on miscellaneous expenses. The most obvious area for savings when switching to a digital exhibition is the complete avoidance of certain expense categories like show services, shipping and drayage, travel, and lodging. But, imagine you can take your biggest expense category, booth space, and find huge time and cost efficiencies. The fee to rent booth space is slashed to a fraction of the usual cost since the cost savings enjoyed by the organizer can be passed down to the exhibitors. Why would the savings be passed down you ask? Because breaking down barriers to exhibiting leads to more exhibitors, which creates an infinitely more expansive and interesting event. This in turn will attract a wider range of visitors from around the world, boosting a show’s overall prestige, recognition and attendance.

More cost advantages are realized as exhibitors can merge exhibit design with graphic design, production and promotion by creating one digital 3D asset. This one asset can include innovative booth design, interactive 3D models and configurators, company videos and downloadable collateral, all with custom branding. Better yet, the same digital asset can be used simultaneously at various shows around the world. The booth and related products can also be easily repurposed for any other digital marketing campaigns. This helps all exhibitors, large or small, get the biggest bang for their buck by creating one digital 3D asset with limitless possibilities.

Make it green

Virtual exhibits not only save people time and money, but they also help save the planet. Traditional trade shows produce 600,000 tons of waste per year on average. This works out to approximately 20 lbs of waste per visitor. Most of this waste comes from booth materials, flyers, posters and other trade show collateral. Utilizing the latest technology to create digital 3D booths and content helps mitigate this waste by eliminating the need for printed materials. Beyond the material waste, hundreds of thousands tons of carbon emissions are released from airplanes, trains and cars used to get to physical shows all around the world. Virtual events negate the need for carbon-intensive travel, making virtual trade shows a more sustainable alternative.

 

Connect with anyone, any time, anywhere

Virtual events provide greater flexibility, convenience and accessibility, meaning a show can drastically increase its number of visitors and expand its global reach. This is especially true for international visitors who no longer have to consider whether travel restrictions or geographical limitations, or constantly changing pandemic guidelines will impede them from attending a desired event. Instead, these visitors can simply click a link and be transported into the virtual event from the comfort of home.

Moving online also takes away the time constraints of in-person shows, since virtual events can be extended. Both the live and on-demand content of virtual events can be streamed indefinitely, meaning the show can live much longer than its in-person counterpart. This long-term access to a virtual exhibition will not only increase exposure, but will also sustain lead generation and revenue throughout the year. 

Big data means big deals

Virtual events also offer one critical feature that brings about greater business success and that is big data. Moving away from a basic attendance report, virtual events have the ability to track visitors movement, engagement levels, and interactions during an event. This allows for immediate analytics and reporting with more detailed information. For example, an event could track which attendees viewed which booths, what models and materials visitors interacted with and which they downloaded, or the average time it took for booth staff to connect with visitors. In addition to greater analytic capabilities, virtual events also offer a substantially larger pool of prospects since these events are not limited by geographical location. Features like online registrations provide events with more information on each visitor, which can then be used by exhibitors to personalize event interactions and follow-ups. In these ways, virtual events have modernized lead generation and event reporting. 

 

Overcoming the biggest obstacle

With so many benefits, there must be a few drawbacks right? Generally, yes. Virtual events have two major downsides, which are the loss of face-to-face interactions and introducing technical vulnerability to events. But the size of these obstacles is heavily dependent on how an event is created and distributed. Creating virtual events that emulate the feel and excitement of a physical conference is hard, which is why many digital alternatives fail to achieve this. This is why choosing the right content creators is critical. First-rate content creators can create hyper realistic, interactive, and immersive 3D experiences that mimic the atmosphere of physical events. Choosing a reliable and stable streaming service to ensure the event is distributed without any obstructions to quality, speed, or accessibility is critical. To guarantee that thousands or even millions of concurrent users can seamlessly access the event and receive a high resolution, high fidelity, show stream to their computer or mobile device, the best streaming technology is needed. PureWeb’s stable distribution platform is the best solution to be certain that any virtual event will not succumb to technological malfunctions. The cloud based streaming technology from PureWeb will provide a flawless streaming experience for any event of any size, anywhere in the world. 

 

Putting it all together

So to sum it all up, virtual trade shows are an innovative way to create customizable and flexible events that better track attendee data, bring in more exhibitors and attendees, decrease environmental impact, and save a ton of money. With the right partners any trade show, exhibition, fair, summit, conference, meeting or expo can be turned into an ultra successful virtual event.  

Download our free white paper to learn more about how to get started with your own virtual event.

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