The Costs of Virtual Event Platforms
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Virtual event platforms are typically the largest cost center when it comes to hosting virtual events. After all, they provide the infrastructure to make your virtual events happen. In this article, we will break down the costs of virtual event platforms so that you have an idea of the expenses involved to host small or large conferences.
How much does a virtual event platform cost?
The costs of hosting small virtual conferences with 10 to 100 attendees range from $50 to $250 per month. On the other hand, the costs of hosting large virtual events with 500 to 2500+ attendees range from $625 to $8000 per month.
For example, if you host a large annual customer event with 3000 attendees, you can expect to pay between $25000 - $40000. This looks like a large amount, but a physical venue for 3000 attendees is usually much more expensive.
The above costs exclude services such as event portal customization, assistance with session recordings, and staff training.
What are common virtual event platform pricing models?
Virtual event platforms often charge a monthly subscription fee supplemented by a cost per registration. This means that your costs will go up as your number of attendees are increasing.
It’s common that you have to predict the number of attendees for all of your virtual events throughout a year. Naturally, this is never going to be 100% accurate so you will only know the final price after all of your events took place.
When it comes to budgeting for your virtual event platforms, it’s best practice to overestimate the number of attendees.
Every virtual event platform also offers additional services. These are optional costs if you need help with training, portal branding, assistance building registration pages, or if you need help to record sessions.
How can I offset the costs of virtual event platforms?
At the end of the day, investing in virtual event platforms comes from a business goal or need. The outcome is usually expected to make a positive impact on the bottom line of your business.
When it comes to hosting virtual events, there are many ways to offset the costs of the online event platform. The two primary methods are charging for sponsorships and ticketing.
Event organizers of large virtual conferences often partner with companies and offer sponsorship packages.
Companies who purchase those packages are looking for lead generation opportunities and also reinforcing their brand with the target audience of your event.
Virtual event platforms that are specialized in large online conferences allow sponsors to configure their virtual booth. Sponsors can upload assets to the virtual booth and it also includes a chat functionality so that the audience can chat with the sponsors.
Virtual event platforms also offer the capability to sell tiered sponsorship packages. This means that you can offer additional benefits for sponsors who pay more money.
Here you can find an example of a virtual event sponsorship prospectus.
Virtual event platforms specialized for large online conferences also offer the functionality to charge for tickets. This is commonly facilitated through integrations with vendors such as Stripe.
The benefits of selling tickets are improvements in the attendance rate as well as offsetting the costs of the virtual event.
Drawbacks of offering tickets is that fewer people are likely to attend your event, but this highly depends on the price range of your tickets.
What are other costs related to virtual events?
In most cases, there are more costs associated with virtual event platforms than just the license fees.
Most vendors offer additional services to help you to optimally configure your virtual events and to train your staff.
Optional additional services of virtual event platforms include:
- Designing a virtual event venue;
- Customizing virtual event venues with your branding;
- Creating registration pages;
- Training your staff;
- Technical support;
- Content creation and editing;
- Configuring sponsorship booths.
What are cheap alternatives to virtual event platforms?
If you are looking to host small virtual events with about 10-15 attendees, then you can also use your video conferencing tools to facilitate this.
There are some clear differences between virtual event platforms and video conferencing tools. A virtual event platform is dedicated software that contains advanced networking features and audience management tools.
On the contrary, virtual conferencing tools are designed for virtual meetings and lack features such as networking, sponsorship, ticketing, multi-stream agenda’s et cetera.
However, for small events such as virtual roundtables, video conferencing tools will do the job. It’s likely you already have a license to host meetings on Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
Here is a quick guide on how to set up a virtual event on Zoom.
All in all, you can expect to pay at least $50 per month for virtual event platform license fees for small virtual events. Your monthly costs will increase based on the number of attendees. For large virtual events with more than 500 attendees, you can expect to pay at least $625 per month.
A large virtual event with 3000 attendees will cost you between $25000 and $40000. If you require additional services such as training, content management, or technical support, the costs will be higher.
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