At the onset of the pandemic, businesses went into webinar overdrive. It was one of the simplest ways to replicate in-person conferences, seminars, and networking events in a virtual world. Now, months later, webinar fatigue is setting in. People are beginning to ignore the dozens of webinar invites they receive each week and many are growing tired of the passive web-conference format.
Some innovators, however, are breaking through the webinar drone to deliver interactive, digital conferences. The upcoming ALTA ONE virtual event is one such example. We connected with ALTA’s Director of Meetings, Lauren Dollerschell, to discuss how her team is reimagining ALTA ONE as an engaging, virtual experience.
Reimagining an in-person conference for a virtual format
During an in-person event, the speakers and presentations are certainly important, but not just for the educational value they provide. The content is fuel for what Dollerschell said attendees really want out of industry events like ALTA ONE: networking opportunities.
The best conference presentations help kickstart sidebar conversations with a neighboring attendee or a quick chat with a longstanding connection while waiting in line for coffee. “We wanted to make sure these serendipitous opportunities to meet new people and see old faces were still possible in the virtual platform we chose,” Dollerschell said.
ALTA will leverage a few features within its virtual event platform (Hopin) to replicate the impromptu networking opportunities that typically arise during an in-person conference.
- The chatbox feature. Within every educational session, a public chatbox is available for attendees to communicate with one another or ask questions about the presentations.
- Breakout sessions called “hallway chats.” These are opportunities for vendors to share their knowledge on particular topics in a virtual roundtable discussion format. Up to 20 participants can turn on their video and audio to join the discussion while remaining attendees can chime in with the chatbox. Qualia is hosting an ALTA ONE hallway chat called “Leveraging Automation & Integrations to Grow Your Business.” Be sure to stop by to join the conversation.
- Networking roulette. Participants can use this program to engage in one-on-one meetings with another attendee. The system randomly matches two participants who can video chat privately for as little as 90 seconds and up to 5 minutes. This gives participants enough time to connect briefly and exchange contact information for future follow up.
- Engagement labs. These are sessions led by ALTA faculty members who are subject matter experts. Much like the hallway conversations, the engagement labs allow participants to turn on their audio and video to join the conversation. “When you can exchange ideas, that’s when you’re fully engrossed in a program,” Dollerschell said.
Constructing the virtual vendor booth experience
One of the most tangible components of an in-person conference is the vendor exhibit hall. It’s at the vendor hall where attendees typically gather to find small bites to eat or to browse the booths and collect information and vendor swag items. These enticers help draw attendees to the booths and give vendors an opportunity to get themselves in front of attendees.
In a virtual format, getting attendees to gravitate toward the digital booths is a unique challenge. Some vendors are offering “virtual swag” items at their booths such as digital gift certificates and other freebies that can be collected online.
ALTA also encourages vendors to play a more active role during the virtual conference for more opportunities to connect with their prospects or current customers. As previously noted, ALTA is offering the “hallway chats” to select vendors to share knowledge and ignite conversation.
ALTA is also providing vendors with opportunities to host roundtable discussions and live demonstrations of their products at their booths. For example, at Qualia’s booth, attendees can join a roundtable discussion titled “Staying a Step Ahead of Security Risks” where we will also deliver a demonstration of Qualia’s platform.
Preparing for a virtual event: unique challenges
One of the biggest challenges in planning a virtual event is accommodating the varying degrees of technical know-how among attendees. “When we started looking at [virtual conference] platforms, we wanted one that felt like our members,” Dollerschell said. “If the platform doesn’t fit your audience and it’s not intuitive for them, the event will not be successful.”
Another unique challenge Dollerschell faced was accommodating multiple time zones. During an in-person event, attendees are physically in the same time zone; however, during the virtual ALTA ONE experience, attendees will be tuning in from across the country. “For that reason, many of our sessions are repeated during the program at a different time or day to give people more flexibility to attend,” she said.
Overall, Dollerschell’s biggest challenge is creating a virtual experience that’s just as worthwhile and valuable as the in-person ALTA ONE event. “Our goal is for everyone to walk away saying that [ALTA ONE] was worth their time and investment,” she said.
Find Qualia at ALTA ONE
Just like last year, Qualia will be a major presence at ALTA ONE. There are multiple ways to connect with us during the 3-day event.
Qualia Demo Room Roundtable | Oct. 6th: 12-1 pm EST
Join James Lipton, Director of Strategic Accounts, and Anatoliy Pavlishin, Director of Product Strategy, for a discussion about the increase in fraud throughout the real estate ecosystem. This session will cover how businesses can protect and prepare their employees from cyberattacks.
Qualia Demo Booth | Oct. 6th & 7th: 2 pm—5 pm EST & Oct. 8th: 2 —4 pm EST
Come visit our virtual booth in Market One to ask the Qualia team your questions and to receive a demonstration of Qualia’s platform.
Hallway Chat: “Leveraging Automation & Integrations to Grow Your Business.” | Oct. 7th: 2—2:30 pm EST
Real estate has always been highly-localized. Your business thrived through personal relationships that were established face-to-face. Today, technology is changing the game and allowing title & escrow businesses to rapidly expand to new regions through partnerships that are facilitated online. How is your business leveraging technology to form new relationships and grow your business? Join Max Lamb, Director of Business Development at Qualia, and Jason Doshi, Co-founder of LemonBrew, to discuss.
“What’s Next in Real Estate Tech?” | Oct. 8th: 2:30—3:30 pm EST & 5:30 — 6:30 pm EST
Qualia’s CEO, Nate Baker, will join Gorkem Kuterdem, Senior Vice President of Strategy at Adeptive Software, and David Townsend, CEO of Agents National Title Insurance Company, to discuss how real estate technology will advance in the coming years.
ALTA Unplugged | Oct. 8th: 6:30—7:30 pm EST
Qualia CTO, Joel Gottsegen, will close out ALTA ONE alongside comedian, John Mulaney. You won’t want to miss this laugh-out-loud interview with one of comedy’s top performers.