Revolutionizing Virtual Networking: The Future of Trade Shows

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Posted on October 23, 2023

Revolutionizing Virtual Networking: The Future of Trade Shows

Virtual trade shows are immensely popular, as they allow event organizers the flexibility to serve audiences from around the world. Spurred into growth during the pandemic, many event attendees who would normally scorn online events had their eyes opened to the possibilities they present. Even though virtual events are no longer a safety necessity, they are still the preferred choice by many companies who appreciate the scope they offer. 

As we’ve swiftly moved into an era where digital interaction is imperative, the traditional concept of trade shows is getting a facelift. This piece will delve deep into the newest trends and tools that are reshaping virtual trade shows. Readers will understand the technological advancements propelling these changes, the challenges event planners face, and how to surmount them. By the end, you will be equipped with fresh insights to re-imagine trade shows for the modern age.

Hybrid events

Hybrid events give event attendees the option to attend events in person or virtually. This is a win-win situation for event organizers because everyone is happy. Charismatic, outgoing extroverts who love face-to-face interactions can enjoy hybrid events alongside remote workers who may not have the time or ability to attend in person. 

Hybrid events come with challenges for event organizers, though. It’s vital for the event to have a sense of cohesion, no matter if it’s attended virtually or in person. Both virtual attendees and physical attendees must be able to engage and interact with each other and come away with similar impressions.

Advances in audio-visual technology as well as event projection mapping, allow technology to serve all kinds of events. Event projection mapping can provide intricate stages customized for each speaker or presenter or even project virtual attendees onto the stage in real life! This imagery can also be incorporated with music and other audio to create an overall experience and mood. This can create an immersive feel for both virtual and physical event attendees as they attend the same trade show, webinar or other event. 

Virtual Engagement

One of the biggest problems for virtual trade show organizers is the desire to engage audiences virtually. Sometimes it can be hard to vie for the attention of your virtual guests, who may be sitting next to their toddler, hungry cat or, even worse, an iPhone exploding with notifications.

Advancements made in virtual event technology allow organizers to engage their audiences with competitive games, interactive workshops, virtual lobbies and engaging demos.

Since there’s no need for physical attendance, you can have a whole roster of product specialists available for a personal appointment to discuss how your product or service can help them. 

This can be a great way to engage prospects beyond just your biggest spenders. According to research data, 13% of families in the US own a privately held small business. It seems like a large number, but the good news is that scalability is much more achievable for virtual events, meaning you’ll reach a larger range of customers!

It’s important to share material with your audience during a virtual event. You may choose to use PDFs or other applications to provide a more visually appealing message. Though it may seem annoying at first, paying attention to quirks like document conversion is essential if you want to increase attendee retention rates. The fewer steps a person has to go through to get what they want, the less likely they’ll drop out. 

This is why you should consider offering a PDF to Word converter feature so attendees can have the necessary materials, such as feedback forms or even quizzes, readily available. This will allow your customers to make their own notes alongside any information you’ve shared. 

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) refers to technology that enables users to intermingle virtual reality with their actual, real-time surroundings. This is a huge game-changer for virtual trade shows. Potential customers can virtually project trade show items into their own physical space to inspect them closer. This is especially helpful for industries in which the size, color or application of physical products is a crucial selling point. 

You may want to consider encouraging your virtual trade show attendees to download a special app on their phone that can be used for this purpose. The camera lens, for example, can be used to virtually project items into their own living space for reference. Customers can also use this camera to try out cosmetics, fashion styles or just enjoy a fun, interactive group experience. That’s what trade shows are supposed to be—not drawn-out speeches and in-your-face ads!

Virtual Reality

Far more advanced than augmented reality, Virtual Reality (VR) allows virtual trade show attendees to step into a digital world. VR can allow virtual trade show visitors to walk around an arena, virtually visiting different booths and interacting with different avatars. This is ideal for travel companies who want to present a new destination or property to potential travelers. It can also be a great tool for those who want to show off their products in detail. 

The biggest challenge to incorporating VR into your virtual events is the hardware required. Attendees need a virtual headset which, depending on the industry, may not be likely. However, companies in the tech sector are likely to have a lot of individuals who are exposed or even familiar to VR through the metaverse. Industries that are very tech-savvy may benefit from utilizing this incredible new technology before it becomes more widespread.

Sustainability

While not exactly a new tool or a hot new piece of technology, there has been a rising trend towards corporate sustainability. Virtual events allow companies who want to be more eco-friendly the ability to get their employees, vendors and customers together with a reduced carbon footprint. 

Attending trade shows virtually may be a huge adaptation for some who are used to the in-person model. It’s helpful to remind virtual event attendees that they are adopting a more sustainable model by reducing the amount of carbon emissions involved in planning travel, hotel stays and large venues. 

Conclusion

Virtual trade shows are becoming more popular. The technology that surrounds virtual trade shows is providing exciting new opportunities to engage attendees. Far from laggy 2D Zoom calls, virtual events utilize audio-visual technology, AR, VR as well as interactive games and workshops to create an immersive experience that’s guaranteed to leave a mark. In addition, attendees will be much more willing to take part in activities. After all, they don’t have to sit on a 5-hour flight and book an overpriced room, which usually results in in-person trade shows often having a graveyard-like atmosphere. 

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