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5 of The Best Virtual Event Examples of 2020

The events industry has almost entirely pivoted to organising virtual events over the past 12 months. Eventprofs from all over the globe have adapted and upskilled in order to produce fantastic online events that achieved objectives, fostered new relationships and connected the events industry at a truly difficult time.  

There were some outstanding virtual events taking place in 2020, but we wanted to shine a spotlight and show some love to 5 of the best virtual event examples we've seen. Plus, with 89% of event planners going virtual this year, this is a great opportunity to pick up some tips and get planning for next year's virtual events!

If you need a helping hand, download our virtual and hybrid event strategy planning tool or get in touch with our Virtual Event Experts.

1. SBC Digital Summit

The SBC Digital Summit was a 5-day interactive online event for the betting and gaming industry, attracting over 10,000 attendees.

The concept

SBC wanted an impressive space for their online event, so they designed their very own virtual space, based on a real conference centre. The "advanced digital platform" came complete with a 3D lobby, auditorium, breakout rooms, exhibition booths and networking lounge, which immersed attendees in an experience that felt like a physical conference and exhibition.

Plus with high-level speakers, a jam-packed agenda and innovative networking opportunities, this Summit stood out from the rest for all the right reasons.

Why we love it

SBC went one step further than a standard virtual event - creating a 3D experience made the event much more exciting for attendees and, we're guessing, provided great ROI for their sponsors too by creating tangible booths for attendees to visit. By allowing attendees to feel like they were at a physical event, SBC successfully connected their industry, brought attendees together and provided an unforgettable and novel experience for their audience.

If you're interested in creating a 3D virtual event experience of your own, get in touch with our Virtual Event Experts who'll be happy to help.

SBC Digital Summit

2. Big Top by Hire Space

Back in Lockdown 1.0, we at Hire Space realised that the festive season was going to be very different in 2020. So, we wanted to create a virtual offering that was more than just a virtual quiz: we wanted a virtual extravaganza that was fun, exciting, engaging and extremely unique. Building on early work by Sparkle - the organisers of 2020's virtual Burning Man - Hire Space gathered some of the world's best performers and thus, Big Top was born.

‌The concept

When guests arrive at our virtual Christmas Extravaganza, they're greeted and whisked away to the main party by one of our fantastic performers. From there, guests can explore the festive clickable map and enter each room at their leisure. You could find yourself in the jazz bar with your CEO, the smoking area with your desk buddy or even end up in the comedy club with Louis Theroux! The opportunities for fun are endless!

Why we love it‌

It's unique, it's festive, and it's just great fun! We've worked extremely hard and are really proud of Big Top and all the exciting parties we've hosted. Don't just take our word for it, check out Big Top featured in BBC, The Times, WIRED, Evening Standard, Metro and many more!

3. Planet IMEX

Every eventprof worth their salt has heard of IMEX. Their huge bi-annual exhibitions are a hub for attendees to come together, learn and share experiences, and attending either the Frankfurt or Las Vegas event is a bucket-list item for many event planners.

This year, like so many others, IMEX was forced to pivot to virtual. Instead of creating a one-off virtual event and calling it a day, IMEX instead decided to design and create a virtual learning hub, providing valuable content throughout the majority of 2020.

The concept

Back in May, IMEX created a multi-sensory 3D island-themed platform featuring ocean sounds and colourful, interactive features. There were three different islands, packed full of blogs, podcasts, videos, and even a special 'island sounds' DJ mix. They also created a hub of news articles and podcasts from industry publications to keep visitors updated. To launch the platform there was a 3-day conference (which was kicked off by our very own Co-Founder Ed Poland), packed with sessions on relevant and interesting topics with great speakers, as well as multiple social events to wrap up each day.

For the second virtual event in October, IMEX this time created an underwater-themed experience with a colourful coral reef, sea life and other nautical elements making up the event platform.

Why we love it

Ingenious creativity lends to a whole hub of educational content that extends well beyond the event itself. You could spend hours clicking around exploring, making this a really user-led and unique experience for visitors, unlike any other we've seen. Although the dates for IMEX 2021 have been scheduled, we think Planet IMEX is going to stick around as a handy way for them to stay connected to their audience all year round.

Planet IMEX

4. Tomorrowland Around The World

Tomorrowland, one of the largest electronic music festivals the world has ever seen, decided to take a jump and go virtual for its 400,000+ attendees this year.

The concept

Tomorrowland created an interactive experience to bring a quarantining world together for a weekend in July, using "the best 3D technology, video production, gamification and special effects" the world has to offer. The festival was set on a mythical island in the sea, showing how digital experiences really can break through the boundaries of time and space!

The Belgium-based festival created an online realm of 8 stages and over 60 artists, and attracted over 1MILLION people. Now if that's not a sign of success, we don't know what is...

Why we love it

The entire platform was insanely lifelike and created an incredible platform for attendees to explore. The maps and stages were created with exceptional attention to detail and it was so lifelike attendees almost felt like they were really there, complete with fireworks, sound effects and even laser shows. Plus, as well as a world-class performer lineup, Tomorrowland also held webinars, games and workshops on everything from lifestyle to fashion, as well as plenty other interactive activities for attendees to explore.

If you're looking to create an out-of-the-box experience, get in touch with our Virtual Event Experts to see how we can help.



5. Oktane20 Live

Oktane Live is an annual event run by software company Okta, which brings together thousands of IT professionals, product leaders and developers. This year was the first ever digital version and was a huge success.

The concept

There were over 65 breakout sessions and some very high profile speakers in the IT world taking part, which provided fascinating, relevant content to their attendees.

Wary of not wanting to bore their delegates, Okta put a lot of thought into the engagement tools they used in order to encourage delegates to join in with the event, offering several cool techy features. For example, they designed a virtual lobby, which acted as 'home' from which attendees could join the keynotes, breakout sessions, networking chat rooms and even pose questions to the speakers in real-time.

Why we love it

Okta went one step further to add an element of fun into Oktane20 with their 'passport game'. Attendees could earn 'badges' by visiting virtual sponsor booths, attending sessions and joining in the chats. Attendees with the highest score were displayed on leaderboards and were entered into a prize draw. Read our piece on creative event formats to get some inspiration for livening up your digital offering.

Oktane20 Live

We hope you loved these virtual event examples. For more guidance and advice on how to plan unforgettable virtual events, check out our Complete Guide To Virtual Events, or get in touch with our Virtual Event Experts below for a free consultation.

In the meantime, be sure to check out our brand new virtual and hybrid events platform, Arena. Designed by event professionals, for event professionals, Arena offers a fully brandable interface, audience engagement tools, multiple ticketing types, video and audio breakouts, and so much more.





Author Izzie Lachecki profile image

Izzie Lachecki

Izzie brings a deep understanding of the events world to Hire Space, and keeps busy by writing lots of Hire Space and EventLAB content and managing the Hire Space social media presence.

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