Everything You Need to Plan a Virtual Event | The Vendry

Virtual Events
Planning Guide

Discover the resources you need to plan an effective, high-impact virtual event—from digital fundraisers to hybrid conferences to live streamed shows. Learn more about event tech platforms, find vendors who specialize in virtual experiences, and get inspired by our gallery of events that wowed digital audiences.

Read What Event Pros Are Saying About These Platforms

Want to stay up to speed on the latest event tech? Wondering which platform would be best for your virtual event? Join these insightful discussions about popular platforms and software with fellow members of The Vendry.

Recent Virtual Events That Wowed

Get inspired by browsing through a collection of standout virtual events, including galas, conferences, fundraisers, trade shows, retreats, and more. Plus, discover the innovative agencies, vendors, and people who made it all happen.

Top Virtual Event Planning & Production Companies

Search our extensive directory of virtual production and planning companies that specialize in bringing live events to the digital space. From virtual trade show booth designers to live streaming experts, you’ll find a roster of teams to fit your needs and make your virtual event a success.

Upcoming Events for The Vendry Community

Check out our schedule of upcoming events dedicated to event pros. Through our fireside chats, networking calls, and event spotlights, we hear from notable event pros on the state of the industry and explore the latest hot topics. Reserve your spot for free.


  • A: When it comes to virtual event platforms, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The platform and software you chose to use will depend on the type of event and your event needs. For example, do you want chat functionality? Should the platform offer virtual breakout rooms? Do you need a service more robust than Zoom? Once you establish your event requirements, it will be easier to narrow down your options. You can then set up demonstrations with each platform provider to test out the bells and whistles, just as you would with a physical venue visit. Also, reach out to other event pros for advice and feedback on which platforms they’ve used and why.
  • A: As with an in-person event, first you’ll need to outline your event strategy including objectives, target audience, and expected results or ROI. Also, remember to consider how tech savvy your audience is. This might weigh into your platform decision. Make sure that the event participants including presenters, panelists, and speakers have the necessary tools such as a webcam or microphone in order to produce quality video, and complete a tech rehearsal beforehand. In terms of event programming, keep in mind that an agenda for an in-person event might not translate to a virtual event; err on the side of short and sweet when it comes to sessions and presentations.
  • A: Being physically separated, instead of gathering in a central location, can leave virtual attendees feeling strangely disconnected. To keep your digital audience engaged you need to foster a sense of community among the attendees. For example, something as simple as encouraging everyone to join the event with their webcam turned on can help build conviviality. Also, enlist a host to help the event run smoothly and to facilitate interaction among attendees. Organize small-group check-ins throughout the event where attendees can network and socialize. Also, keep the programming varied, enable a chat feature, and add in fun activities to break up long sessions.
  • A: The question isn’t necessarily which events translate to virtual but rather how they can be transformed for a digital audience. After all, even the New York City marathon was turned into a virtual race. So, for example, a one-day in-person conference might be rejiggered into a five-day virtual conference that takes into consideration different time zones and the number of attendees. Traditional gala fundraisers now include live streamed concerts with celeb performers, cooking demonstrations with world-renowned chefs, and virtual table readings with all-star casts. Of course, the experience won’t be the same as the in-person event, but virtual event planners need to think in terms of redefining rather than replicating.
  • A: Depending on the goal of your virtual gathering (e.g. is it for team building purposes, employee recognition, or just for fun?), you’ll want to incorporate an activity that allows all of the attendees to join in and feel welcome. For example, to help maintain company camaraderie and boost morale, host a virtual dinner party. Consider organizing a virtual wine tasting or a mixology class in order to add an interactive, social element to a large conference. And if you’re looking to rethink your corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, plan some virtual volunteering opportunities, such as helping underrepresented young entrepreneurs through an online platform.
  • A: The general rule of thumb is that virtual events should be shorter than their in-person counterparts. That’s because an at-home audience has a much shorter attention span and is faced with many more distractions including children. Plus, you also need to take into consideration the platform where you’re hosting the event. For example, Instagram Live segments should be quick hits (less than 10 minutes) to provide digestible pieces of information. And instead of a 45-minute breakout session at a conference, cut them down to 20 to 25 minutes. But in order to accommodate as many attendees as possible, you can extend the duration of the event, i.e. going from one day to five days.
  • A: Today, there’s more content than ever vying for the attention of potential attendees. And the tried-and-true traditional methods of promoting and marketing in-person events doesn’t necessarily work for virtual events. To cut through the digital clutter, planners need to focus more on social media and influencer marketing to spread the word about their events. To generate buzz, many rely on custom mailers filled with shareable swag, which is sent to members of a target audience. Planners can also recruit event participants such as speakers to promote the event on their social media channels as well. Be sure to provide graphics, along with sample copy and links, so it’s easy for them to upload to their personal accounts.
  • A: Virtual events aren’t a new thing, which means there are established vendors with expertise in areas like live streaming and XR technology. Also, at this point, most event vendors—from caterers to florists to production companies—have pivoted to virtual events, with some even offering new specialized services. Explore our directory of agencies and vendors to find what you’re looking for and seek out advice from fellow event pros who’ve planned successful virtual events and ask for vendor recommendations.
  • A: Virtual events might seem like a cheaper option, but they can actually end up costing almost as much as in-person events. That’s because even though you might not be spending money on florals, rentals, and a venue, you’re adding costs for items such as hosting platforms and tech equipment. Like in-person events, the event goals and objectives will determine the budget, including where you need to allocate monies. Some expenses to keep in mind when planning a virtual event: the cost of shipping gift bags; how much additional staff you will need to handle the technical production; platform pricing; and the rental cost for production kits sent to at-home speakers and event participants.
  • A: Due to the lack of physical activations and face-to-face interaction, some event organizers might experience trouble securing virtual event sponsorships because brands are unsure of the ROI and what exactly they are getting for their money. But in reality, because virtual events offer easier access to data and analytics (which is prized intel) as well as a potentially broader audience, they can actually be more valuable than in-person events. Virtual event sponsorship opportunities can include: interstitial videos between sessions; sponsored breakout room; panel sponsorships; virtual trade show booths with branded elements such as a photo booth; and mailers filled with sponsor swag.
  • A: Yes. Although virtual events don’t offer the same communal dining experience as an in-person event, you can schedule delivery of catered meals to virtual attendees in their homes to help them get into the spirit of the event. Depending on the type of event, catering delivery can include a complete table setting with plateware, glasses, and decor (to be picked up the next day) or it could be a cocktail kit with the ingredients to mix up a drink to sip while attending virtually. Many catering companies are now offering virtual event programs with specially designed packaging and menu items for delivery to homes.