Zoom became Apple’s most downloaded in 2020; by the end of the first quarter, it had been downloaded almost 71 million times. The COVID-19 pandemic was the main reason seeing that we now have to maintain social distance when interacting. As a result, more platforms that enable virtual socialization have gained popularity. Virtual events provide users with the ultimate experience of social interaction, though remotely, through many features. As a result, they have become the preferred alternative, especially for remote social gatherings with large audiences. Various companies have swooped in to take advantage of the new demand, and here are the five we think are leading the way in virtual events.
Hopin flaunts its uniqueness, saying it is different from other virtual events platforms because it is a one-stop-shop thus offers an all-in-one solution for everything you need. It also boasts of suiting customers’ preferences by being flexible enough to accommodate whichever event you want to host remotely. It has a reception area, sessions, networking, stage, and expo areas meaning that it can be used for both formal and informal events. Most of all, it focuses on the people instead of avatars. It has a promising future as it continues to make strategic moves needed to place it as the leading virtual events platform. For instance, in January 2021, it acquired Streamyard, a live-streaming studio, for reportedly $250 million. Hopin was leveraging itself to host large events with all the features required for big crowds with the acquisition. Hopin has the advantage of being flexible in its pricing to suit all customers’ budgets; it has four packages, namely starter, growth, business, and enterprise, with the starter package being the cheapest at $99 per month. However, signing up is free.
BigMarker was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Chicago. It also brags of being an all-in-one solution and aims to create unique virtual events. It combines robust marketing, interactive experiences, and powerful technology to help users have the ultimate experience. Some of its features include screen sharing, scheduling, participant permission, live chats, desktop applications, and browser applications. When creating an event on BigMarker, you have to choose the type of webinar, and you are provided with seven options. You then get to the setup process, and the interface for this platform has been hailed as being user-friendly. Since it is fully customizable, you get to pick the template you would like to use for confirmation and webinar registration pages. Each template is uniquely different, and you can customize it, after which you find yourself in the webinar room. As revealed on G2, BigMarker has four pricing levels: starter, elite, premier, and white label virtual events; the starter package is the cheapest at $79 monthly.
If you are looking for a platform that offers unlimited opportunities in attendee engagement, GoToWebinar should make the list. It can accommodate even 1000 attendees making it perfect for large audiences. It is particularly preferred to GoToMeeting when the event requires extensive reporting or if you are interested in taking polls or surveys. If your audience comes from different parts of the world, you can be sure that they will get what you are saying because you can schedule the events in their preferred language. The languages it offers as displayed on the GoTo support page include English, German, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish and Korean. They have a free trial but no free pricing. It has four pricing tiers: lite, standard, pro, and enterprise, and pricing begins at $49 per month per user.
HeySummit is among the top-rated European starts-ups specializing in online events. It is headquartered in Edinburg, Scotland, but users come from all over the world. HeySummit has proven its worth because even when over 2000 artists chose to broadcast their workshops and share their skills, they chose the platform. It is trusted because it caters to the entire process of virtual event hosting comprising the development of transition plans, conference configurations, and selecting and engaging webinar integrations. So efficient is it that it promises a turnaround time of five days at most. The sky is the limit for the platform that raised $1 million in funding to accelerate its growth, according to Silicon Canals. By October 2020, it prided itself in having almost 2million attendees and hosting more than 4,500 events in the past 12 months. It sets itself apart from the rest because it can be integrated into video hosting platforms such as Zoom. Some of its clients are renowned like Udemy and the UN. However, HeySummit prefers to focus on those pursuing their passion, such as artists and teachers. It has three pricing levels: basic, which goes for $29, professional at $99, and business at $299, and all the tiers come with free 14 day trials.
This mobile event app was founded in 2000, and its headquarters are in Lausanne, Switzerland. In 2018, Tech in Motion Chicago selected it as the finalist in the Best Tech Workplace Diversity category. The previous year, SpotMe had still been recognized as the most promising private technology venture in Europe through the Top 100 Europe awards courtesy of Red Herring. The platform was launched in 2001, and throughout its existence, SpotMe has continued to navigate through several technological cycles. For instance, it has evolved from a mobile device aimed at event networking to a fully-fledged mobile app technology and service provider majoring in virtual events. It is, however, quite an expensive option for your event hosting. According to SpotMe, the pricing starts at 24,000 per year in the business category then proceeds to more than double the amount in the advanced tier that goes for $60,000 annually. Of course, as you can expect, the rest, ultimate and enterprise, must be costly; hence, they do not even display the prices on the website; you will have to contact them for a quote.