There are TONS of amazing ways to translate in person activities and events into a virtual experience.
It’s clear that the biggest questions about transitioning events to a virtual experience are:
- How to communicate best with your participants
- The ability to manage and predict payments
- How to move forward with hosting your event or program
We’ve put together some tips and tricks for transitioning your events, activities, and programs online AND how to manage stress when working from home.
Going Virtual: Hosting Your Events Online
Whether you plan to go ahead with your event but make it virtual, or postpone your programs until later in the year – having a solid plan in place to do so is crucial.
In order to translate your in person even to a virtual event, communication is CRITICAL in your success.
Do you have a process in place to gather information on prospective attendees and a way to manage your outreach to both them and your current base?
Don’t worry if you answered no! We got you.
How to host private and group lessons online
Many community education programs are working hard to provide their quality programming to their participants without actually SEEING them.
This might sound like a challenge, and it is – but it’s possible to continue to provide your programming and offerings while limiting in person contact.
Zoom and other online conference and webinar programs are a great resource to use in these situations. Set up a zoom conference easily, and email the link out to your participants. Use your registration software to easily filter and identify the right participants to communicate Zoom information to.
It’s a good idea to have the activity or event at the same time you normally would to limit scheduling conflicts and maintain routine.
If special equipment is necessary, try to work around this and provide alternative programming that will allow your participants to participate from home comfortably without missing out on the opportunity to engage.
How to Host Classes and Courses Online
Many schools are using the same tools to continue to teach classes online, including:
- Scheduling class at the same time it is normally held. This helps with the transition to going online
- Using an email tool to communicate with students about when, where, and how to login to their online class
- Adjusting the class curriculum if specific tools are needed so that it can be done from home
- Provide additional at-home resources to supplement your class and make participants feel as though they aren’t missing out just because in-person class has been cancelled.
How to transition a traditional conference into a virtual conference
Here are a few key ways to stay organized and make the best of your virtual conference set-up:
Decide on the Details
If your event has speakers, sessions, and other activities – this can all be done through online conferencing software like Zoom or Google. Simply create an account with a service of your choice, and then create unique links for each session.
Once you have the platform in place, confirm with speakers they are still available – hopefully on the same date and times you originally planned – but be flexible with scheduling over a 1-5 day period of time to give attendees options as well.
Here’s a great list of tips to add.
Communicate the Details
While you might be dealing with requests for cancellation and refunds, the goal is to provide the same level of value virtually as you would in person.
Yes, you are missing the face to face time, but Facebook groups and online forums allow attendees to interact virtually – both socially and to discuss your content.
The best way to stay on top of cancellations and show how you are providing value, is to communicate CLEARLY and CONSTANTLY!
Use your registration software to filter and target attendees with personalized messages to communicate the experience you want them to have. This includes sending links to the sessions to those pre-registered and providing additional content that adds value. More on that below.
Create and Communicate Additional Resources
Another great way to add value is to put together comprehensive resources to share with participants so they feel like you are on top of ensuring they get the most out of your event or program.
Examples include the event agenda, or sharing the recorded Zoom meeting after the event. If the event or program includes a presentation or additional reading material, make sure to include this in follow ups so attendees have what they need.
These resources should act as a supplement to your offerings, and provide value as they navigate their unique challenges.
Protecting your registrants investment in your offerings
Spread Out Payments and Increase Your Financial Security
When it comes to continuing to collect payments for future programming or for online activities, automatic billing functionality can really help.
The ability to offer custom payment plans to participants is crucial now more than ever. Flexible payment schedules ensure that you get paid but with consideration and flexibility for those you serve.
What happens if participants cannot attend and how do I protect myself?
Peace of mind has always been important when it comes to cancellation policies, for both you and registrants.
Can your registration platform support you in case of registrant illness and other health emergencies?
Purchase Protection options can guarantee refunds to registrants who need to cancel due to illness, without affecting your bottom line and protecting your revenue stream.
If you don’t have Purchase Protection, it’s a good time to ask if your platform offers a service, and if not, find a solution that does.
More Resources on Virtual Events
30 Virtual Event Statistics You Need to Know in 2020
Resources to stay up to date on COVID-19:
World Health Organization (WHO)
Center for Disease Control (CDC)