A screenshot of Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia’s Virtual Open Day.

Although virtual fairs have been around for some time already, many event organisers remain hesitant to try them because there is fear of virtual fairs not performing as well as in-person events.

This misconception still exists due to the lack of understanding of how online events function. Today we’ll debunk four common myths to help you clarify the fundamentals of hosting virtual education fairs and online open days.

1. Virtual Fairs Can’t be Engaging

The first myth is that virtual events are boring and have limited engagement. With the right platform and technology, your attendees can still have an immersive experience in a virtual space. For example, you can make your online open day interactive by uploading a 360° virtual campus tour for students to explore and provide virtual booths integrated with live chats so that students can get information about the programmes offered.

To make it more engaging, get your university’s representatives to conduct workshops or alumni to share their experience with prospective students. All these are great ways to engage meaningfully with your attendees. It’s also crucial to keep track of your attendance rate and get feedback from your participants after the event so that you’re able to figure out which activity keeps them interested in your online open day.

2. Virtual Fairs are More Expensive

Event organisers tend to think that they have to spend more money on virtual fairs than physical events, especially if they’re unfamiliar with the cost of virtual event software. The truth is virtual fairs can be cost-effective when you’re removing the budget for catering services, logistics and so forth. A 2020 virtual event report states that 84% of businesses that ran a virtual event in 2020 spent less money on virtual events than in-person events.

The most important part of planning a physical education fair would be your location. The bigger the event, the larger the space required and the higher the cost. However, if you choose to use virtual event technology for the event, you can have multiple virtual halls and booths within the same space, which helps in further reducing your costs. Students will save the expenses for travelling and the time to prepare themselves, making it a win-win situation for both sides.

A screenshot of Universiti Malaya’s Virtual Open Day with different booths for each programme, all in one space.

3. Virtual Fairs Will Not Last Long

Many believe that virtual fairs only work well during the COVID-19 crisis, and everyone will return to in-person events once the situation recovers. Although the pandemic has indeed accelerated the growth of virtual events, results indicate that virtual events are not slowing down for the time being. Research by Markletic shows that 55% of virtual event organisers have plans to invest more in virtual events next year.

Not only that, virtual fairs are very useful to reach out to a broader market regardless of the pandemic. For instance, online open days are an excellent alternative for international students who want to learn more about the colleges or universities they are interested in before physically paying a visit to the campus. Virtual open days also benefit student recruiters who are trying to target students from different countries. To understand more about open days and virtual event technology, check out this article about the future of open days.

4. A Successful Virtual Fair Must Have An Interactive 3D Environment

There is a misconception that an interactive 3D platform will make or break your online open day or virtual education fair. That is why many people would attempt to replicate in-person events with 3D technology to make their virtual events appear more realistic. They assume that virtual fairs would be far less stimulating without the usage of 3D elements.  

However, virtual fairs operate differently than physical events, just like how we don’t communicate with others the same way online and offline. One major consideration is the technological limitations faced by your attendees. Do they have a strong internet connection to attend your 3D space? 3D environments require a strong internet connection to load fast, and in the worst-case scenario your attendees would struggle to even enter your virtual education fair or open day. Want to learn which events are suitable for interactive 3D environments? Check out this article.

To learn more about how Fairwiz can help you host online open days and virtual education fairs, book a demo or send us an email.