How to find the perfect virtual conference platform in 2022

Thomas Paris
July 20, 2022
How to find the perfect virtual conference platform in 2022

Organizing a captivating virtual event isn’t easy. According to an EventMB survey, audience engagement is the biggest challenge of virtual meeting hosts.

Not only do you need to craft a schedule with entertaining yet productive ideas that will keep people engaged, but you must also choose the right virtual conference platform. Think about what your particular meeting will entail for both you and your guests, and evaluate which software would deliver the best experience for everyone.

In this guide, we’ll outline important features to look for when deciding on a virtual event platform, as well as provide a list with some of our favorite options.

What key features can virtual conference platforms offer?

girl on virtual conference platform

Virtual conference platforms are software tools that help stage and elevate your event. They use smart technology as a way to transform your digital setting into what feels like a live one.

The main goal of any virtual event is to boost engagement through interactive and immersive elements. So when it comes to selecting a particular platform for your conference, consider how much its features would assist with delivering a memorable experience.

1. Event Registration

No one wants a difficult process when it comes to event registration. See if any of your virtual conference options will provide their own registration system, perhaps through digital ticketing or an online attendance list. Having a platform that takes care of registration itself in a simple manner will be greatly appreciated by your guests, while relieving you of extra responsibilities as well.

2. Q&A Sessions

Generating discussion is arguably the most important thing for any virtual conference, so make sure your platform would excel in a question-and-answer session. This period is often the busiest part of an event in terms of audience engagement, which means you need a platform that will handle back-and-forth discussions reliably and efficiently.

3. Chatbots

Speaking of questions, people are always going to seek help when it comes to learning how to navigate a virtual conference platform. Rather than dealing with queries from your guests directly, look for a platform that offers a chatbot system to answer their questions. Using AI-constructed chatbots is a terrific feature because they provide knowledgeable answers in a timely fashion.

4. Polling

It’s not easy getting collective feedback during virtual conferences, so consider finding a platform that has built-in polling features to get instant responses. Avoid conducting group polls by hand because that can be ridiculously time-consuming. Whether your digital polls are designed for flash opinions or important event decision-making, they can be a significant asset to any conference.

5. Gamification

Gamification is a great way to spice up any virtual conference, and some software options have features that can assist in the process. If your platform provides a polling system, you can use that method as a way to conduct fun quizzes or team contests. You can also use a conference platform that offers smaller rooms as a way to execute team building activities or group competitions too.

6. Virtual Booths

Virtual booths are smaller spaces within an event that can help produce more conversation among attendees. These booths work perfectly for any virtual conference sponsorship ideas that you have, as they allow guests to interact with your sponsors in a more informal setting. You can also use the digital booth system as a way to offer people some upskilling or networking opportunities.

7. Breakout Spaces

If your conference is expected to be a long one, smaller rooms as breakout spaces are useful because they let participants relax and chat informally during breaks. They’re also incredibly valuable with regards to networking events. Considering how many people attend virtual conferences with the hopes of networking, you should find a platform that encourages interacting within smaller rooms.

8. Digital Gifts

Handing out event bags has long been a tradition at in-person conferences, and the pivot to virtual ones means those presents have gone digital too. Instead of sharing physical gift bags, you should come up with a few virtual gift ideas (like online experiences or gift cards) that can be sent electronically, then look into if particular platforms can enhance your gift-giving process.

10 of the best virtual conference platforms for your events

woman with red background happy pointing to screen

Now that you know what features to search for, let’s take a look at some of the best platforms you can choose from. While tons of people will automatically believe Zoom is their top choice because of its popularity, there are plenty of alternatives better suited for larger-scale or immersive conferences. Each event varies in terms of audience size and expected plans, so keep your particular needs in mind when evaluating your options.

1. Hopin

Hopin is a popular tool that works best if you’re hoping to stage a virtual conference that focuses on networking, as it’s designed to let attendees make connections with one another. From exchanging digital business cards, to breakout spaces, to its unique speed networking feature for large events, this platform serves as an all-encompassing tool that specializes in guest interaction. It uses an algorithm that connects like-minded individuals, which can inspire even the most introverted people to network with others if they choose.

Pricing: Free trial up to 100 participants, $99 USD/month for starter package

2. BigMarker

BigMarker is a no-download platform that makes virtual conferences easy. Its software is compatible with all web browsers, meaning the system is accessible for every guest no matter how they navigate the web. The platform offers many interactive games or features to help run effective virtual meetings, and its white label design gives you the chance to customize things however you want. Its unique streaming system even allows companies to host events on their own website as a way of drawing extra traffic in-house.

Pricing: $79 USD/month for starter package

3. vFairs

vFairs is one of the most innovative virtual conference platforms out there. It creates a 3D immersive environment with digital venues, giving attendees an in-person feel from the comfort of their home. Its lifelike layout lends itself perfectly to job fairs, trade shows, or anything that involves sponsored exhibit booths. Guests are encouraged to tour around the virtual space just like they would in a face-to-face meeting, and this browsing maintains audience engagement beyond traditional conferences. The software is also well-regarded in terms of its gamification, adding even more excitement to your event.

Pricing: Available upon request

4. GoToWebinar

GoToWebinar is among the most widely-used virtual conference platforms, largely due to its ability to handle bigger audiences. It can be integrated with workplace communication tools like Slack and Microsoft Office, which makes it useful for any team-driven events. As a part of the GoTo software line, you can also use elements of their other tools to promote or augment your webinar. It also provides a comprehensive analytics dashboard that tracks guest engagement, giving you helpful notes on what to do and what not to do for future conferences.

Pricing: $59 USD/month for lite package

5. Weve

Weve is a fantastic option to stage a conference rooted in team building. The platform has all of your regular meeting requirements, but what separates it from other apps is how much it emphasizes developing a positive company culture through gamification. It offers dozens of games for your attendees to choose from, making it an easy solution for any game-based conferences that are looking to promote fun and collaboration. Since every game show needs a host, the platform even offers you the choice of getting a professional host, but you can also choose to self-host or use an autopilot system.

Pricing: From $299 USD/room, based on expected number of guests

6. Tame

Tame is a creative platform that emphasizes customization when it comes to your virtual conference. Its interface gives you the chance to specify each element of your event in detail, letting you optimize the attendee experience. This platform works great for branded conferences with several sponsors, as it lets those stakeholders make virtual booths where they can set up and draw in audience members. It also offers everything you’d want in terms of guest interaction, with various room sizes and designated areas that provide networking opportunities.

Pricing: Available upon request

7. ClickMeeting

ClickMeeting is a terrific choice regardless of the size of your conference. The platform can handle large-scale virtual gatherings of up to 10,000 people, but it’s also versatile enough to serve smaller team meetings. If your event involves guests paying to attend, the software helps you sell tickets as a source of revenue through PayPal. It also integrates streaming systems like YouTube or Facebook Live, opening up social marketing methods to attract more audience members. Perhaps its most valuable feature is the webinar timeline, which provides detailed analytics and recordings of past conferences.

Pricing: Free trial up to 25 participants, $25 USD/month for live package

8. Hubilo

Hubilo is a unique tool that focuses on delivering an incredible event experience for everyone in attendance. It helps avoid virtual meeting fatigue through gamification. Guests can receive points for partaking in various aspects of the conference, such as watching speaking sessions, visiting virtual booths, and messaging others. The platform lets people climb up a leaderboard as they accumulate points, and you can offer gifts and rewards to those who fare best. Not only can this system help get sponsors involved with prizes, but it’s engaging for your attendees too.

Pricing: Available upon request

9. Livestorm

Livestorm is a flexible platform that lets you be in charge of each step along your virtual conference planning and execution. The software can go beyond simple webinars, allowing for interactive sessions where guests can ask questions and engage with polls. Hosts can also record automated webinars for people to take part in, which are excellent for onboarding new workers or demoing new products. After the event is completed, it also provides detailed information collected from audience feedback that would be particularly useful for sales and marketing teams.

Pricing: Free plan available, paid plans from $99 USD/month

10. SpatialChat

SpatialChat is a clever platform that puts a spin on virtual conferences, giving your guests a digital space to interact with one another. You can pick a virtual setting or destination of your choice to provide an immersive experience for everyone, which will inspire plenty of networking opportunities. One of its best features is the white label template, which lets you customize the event layout with any creative branding ideas. The platform is great for team meetings or smaller group activities, but also works well for large audiences - its top plan even offers an unlimited attendee capacity.

Pricing: Free plan available, paid plans from $49 USD/month

Hoppier: a perfect pairing to your virtual conference platform

Guest happiness is an integral part of any event, and keeping them well-fed should be near the top of your list of priorities. It’s a huge undertaking to organize catering for a virtual conference, but Hoppier is a simple tool that makes it easy for you.

hoppier card screenshot

Our virtual card system lets your attendees order from a wide variety of vendors, giving everyone the chance to personalize their food or drinks however they’d like. Once the orders are made, our global group of vendors will swiftly deliver the selected items to each guest’s remote location. As an added bonus, you can even offer extra Hoppier cards as incentives for event registration or participation.

And not only do you have the freedom to customize the design and dollar amount of each virtual card, we happily offer refunds or future credits for any money left over, so don’t feel pressured to hit a certain quota in order to break even.

The right virtual conference platform can elevate your event

If it wasn’t obvious already, virtual conferences are here to stay. In a digital world that’s becoming increasingly non-traditional, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box in order to deliver a memorable experience for your participants.

To learn more about engagement at online conferences, check out our webinar on overcoming the challenges of running successful virtual events.

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