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How to run an engaging virtual exhibition and trade show

While in the midst of a global pandemic, many have seen the events industry head over to online platforms to continue carrying out events like they used to. Have you been keeping up with the types of virtual fairs in Singapore recently? Check out these reasons on why you should be running virtual events during this period. You may find yourself convinced that virtual fairs are as successful as opposed to what they were initially perceived to be. An important factor in this success is achieving a high level of audience engagement.

The term has taken a whole new meaning over the last 12 months or so. Keeping your audience engaged and interested throughout the virtual event can, and probably should, be used as a metric for success. Our recent experience with Delegate Virtual Wedding Festival led us to coming with this guide on how to run an engaging and exciting virtual exhibition or trade show. The ultimate goal here is to ensure your audience have an enjoyable time from the comforts of their homes.

Main stage virtual entertainment

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Virtual entertainment keeps your guests busy when they do not have appointments or are simply browsing around the virtual environment. This can come in the form of having a main stage performance or webinars that are accessible to everyone. You can broadcast trade shows or even hold live conferences with other vendors. Come up with a list of schedules for your guests to refer to so that they can pop into areas they might be interested in. This can even help to generate more volume to specific booths that are related to the content of the show.

Advertising opportunities for sponsors

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Involving sponsors would be a great place to start with regards to audience engagement. Relevant content showcased to attendees would definitely increase engagement levels. It beats having an audience passively “standing around” booths,  awaiting their turn. With Delegate PLAY, organisers can incorporate a host of sponsors at different segments of the event. Whether it be lobbies, halls or booths, there are sponsor placements aplenty to further engage your audience.

Take advantage of transitions in event

With virtual events, transitions between sessions or speakers may get awkward or clumsy if not handled properly. As an organiser, you can take advantage of transitions by including sponsors here. Look at it as an opportunity to have sponsorship placements which can potentially keep the interest and engagement levels high whilst waiting for the next session/speaker.

Polling during live-streams

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Image credits: Unsplash

If you plan to host a live-stream webinar, it’ll be good to engage your audience through live-polls, chat and question boxes throughout the stream. Creating polls is a great way to capture your audience’s attention as well as be aware of their preferences and tune your webinar according to their interests. It’s a win-win situation! You can also make use of social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram live-streams for a larger volume of audiences.

Live chat and appointments

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Image credits: Unsplash

When hosting a virtual fair, every vendor booth should have their own means of communication to your guests either via  live chats, or pre-booked virtual appointments. This will allow your guests to find out more about the services they offer and seek advice about specific products. Appointments shouldn’t be too long, 15 to 30 minutes for each appointment slot would be optimal. With this time limit, more guests will also be able to have their turn to speak to the booth vendor.

Games and competitions

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Image credits: Unsplash

Everyone loves games, especially when prizes are involved. Creating live games that allow for interaction with other guests or with a competitive scoreboard can keep your audiences engaged for hours! Throw in prizes for the top 3 winners for every time period to keep the crowd competitive and entertained. You can even create a treasure hunt game that is similar to “Where’s Waldo”, where guests will be rewarded if they can find specific items lying around different parts of the virtual fair. This allows them to explore every aspect of the event space thoroughly.

Virtual event goodie bag

Why not consider having virtual event bags for your attendees? Event goodie bags are generally understood as essential when it comes to in-person events. It would be great if virtual events could keep to this concept as well. An idea you can consider is to have sponsors decide what goes into your virtual event goodie bags. As the event happens online, this bag of goodies can be shared straight to your audience through a host of mediums such as email or event app. 

Home deliveries

For those who feel that engagement needs more of a human touch, this could work best for you. Chances are that it may not exactly match an actual person-to-person engagement but it has the potential to maximise attendees’ overall experience. To achieve this, a good trick is to send items aligned with your event. An example could be sending items that stimulate the senses such as relevant food items if you are hosting a food conference.

Host Lucky Draws or Giveaways

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An absence of tangible moments of connections is a concern when hosting virtual events. So, on top of goodie bags and home deliveries, you can consider hosting virtual giveaways and lucky draws. They do tend to be the main highlights of events, attracting the attention of most attendees. Giveaways and lucky draws “extend the life” of your virtual event and adds a bit of fun to proceedings. Long after your virtual event is over, your audience will have the physical object with them. This can help them revisit the positive experience of your event.

Photo booths

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Image credits: Unsplash

Installing a virtual photo booth with cool filters and adorable props are a great way to inject fun at your event. Encourage them to upload their photos to their social media platforms for further visibility of your event. These photo booths are a great way to have your guests promote the virtual fair to their followers while having fun from the comforts of their homes.

Push notifications

virtual fair
Image credits: Unsplash

Push notifications are a great way to update your guests on things that will interest them. Your guests might feel overwhelmed navigating through the event if they are not entirely sure of its features and what they can do in each section. This is where push notifications should come in! Notify your guests about what’s happening at the moment- if there are any prizes to be won or any performances and webinars on. Push notifications can also help direct your guests to specific sections in your event. 

Delegate PLAY – An immersive virtual platform putting all uncertainty to an end

While the Singapore events industry recovers and prepares itself for the new normal, it is the perfect time to look at best-in-class digital technologies to address client needs and preferences. To this effect, the recently launched Delegate PLAY is a game changer, enabling vendors to seamlessly host events and build connections. Delegate PLAY is a fully immersive virtual environment which allows users to host online conferences and exhibitions under one integrated platform. Event organisers, sponsors and attendees are therefore able to sync up and network in an online virtual environment, transforming a traditionally offline experience into an online format. To read more about it, click here.

Delegate PLAY helps optimize your events ROI by offering innovative features like custom virtual fairgrounds, real-time audience participation and engagement tracking, accessing events on the go from any device, and unlimited content without any geographical restrictions.

Planning your virtual event on Delegate PLAY? We would love to help make your virtual event a smashing success. For more information or a demo of Delegate PLAY, feel free to contact us via the form below. We promise to get in touch with you in a jiffy.

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