How to create a virtual event… and actually succeed!

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Image credit: Unsplash | By Hannah Carroll and Ben Muldoon | Register Now

With strict regulations and widespread bans on mass gatherings, virtual events have never been more popular. Event Organisers are problem solvers by nature and participants still crave the buzz they get from mass participation sports, coming to an alternative to traditional gatherings was inevitable.

Although virtual events can be established with lower upfront costs and with a lot less logistics compared to traditional events (no crowd control barriers in sight!), it doesn’t mean they don’t require a certain level of planning and forethought. Since event organisers can no longer offer the atmosphere, structure and community of a traditional event day, organisers need to find other ways to offer value to their participants.

Think about it like this, why would participants pay to sign up for a virtual marathon if they receive nothing in return. They could save on registration fees and run around their block for 42kms and call it a day.

Overall, we are seeing many organisers failing to create virtual events to their fullest potential, giving their participants little incentive to sign up!

We want to use our experience in the industry to help Register Now clients succeed in this new virtual space. We have taken a keen interest in the various shapes and forms of all of these virtual events. Unfortunately there is no single product on the market that will suit everyone or all of your requirements, without some level of compromise.

1. So where do you start?

The first question that any event organiser needs to ask themselves before launching a virtual event is - what is the purpose of this event and why would participants register?

For example, we are seeing many virtual events with the main purpose to replace a cancelled event, in this case participants have the incentive to sign up as they have already prepared and trained for the scheduled event.

2. Build out your event structure

Once you understand the purpose of your virtual event, then you need to work through the required elements. Of course you will need a kick ass, reliable registration system to collect everyone’s details and potentially process payments! But what about activity tracking and results? Is fundraising a key component? Will you be offering merchandise for sale or posting out Finishers Medals? What about digital or printed race bibs?

From here, once you have worked out all these integral elements, they then need to be integrated for delivery. To help, we are currently working with some of our trusted partners to bring you some virtual solutions for these issues.

3. Add value to your event

Once you have the virtual event blueprint designed you can then move onto how you can further engage your audience and add value to their registration. Some ideas to think about including are exclusive live training sessions, unique social media content, exclusive forums for participants, giveaways, brand ambassadors and tips and tricks from experts. Ultimately, this is the time to get creative and think about how you can make your virtual event unique and engaging for participants.

As we saw with the wildly successful Relief Run, which happened before most people knew what COVID-19 meant, virtual runs can be done when they have a clear and strong purpose that unites the community.

We don’t believe virtual events are here to replace traditional mass participation events in the long term, humans need the connection of shared experience, but they certainly have a place in the market and now is the perfect time to be experimenting with what works.

For more support with setting up your virtual event contact us today at or give us a call on 1800 734 669.