“Metaverse” is the buzzword in events today.
Fashion shows, tournaments, and concerts are banking on it. This year saw the inaugural Metaverse Fashion Week. Plus, the Australian Open held the first official tennis grand slam in the metaverse. Their goal was to be the “world’s most accessible and inclusive sports and entertainment event.”
What pushed the Australian Open into this hot new virtual space? Fans had difficulty attending in person because of travel restrictions due to the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
So, organizers created a virtual-reality rendition of Melbourne Park landmarks. Attendees donned VR headsets to walk around Grand Slam Park and compete for prizes in the form of championship point tennis balls via non-fungible tokens (NFTs) linked to live tournament data.
This article shares 11 tips for creating incredible metaverse events. But first, let’s answer a few burning questions about this fast-growing trend.
What exactly is the metaverse?
The metaverse is the next version of the internet, where physical and digital worlds seamlessly come together.
This immersive, 3D environment uses new technologies like virtual and augmented reality. While it leverages many of the same tools as gaming, the metaverse goes much further. It promises to take hybrid and virtual events to a new level of immersion.
How big of an impact will the metaverse make?
Business leaders like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates have already created digital spaces for remote team collaboration. In Meta’s Horizon Workrooms and Microsoft Mesh, employees across the globe can enter as avatars to work together through the power of VR.
While it’s too soon to know the full impact, McKinsey shares these forecasts below:
- By 2030, more than 50% of live events will be held in the metaverse.
- This space could create $5 trillion in value by 2030.
- In addition to events, significant growth opportunities exist in the coming decade across our economy, in such sectors as consumer packaged goods, retail, financial services, technology, manufacturing, and healthcare.
- 95% of business leaders expect the metaverse will have a positive impact on their industry within five to 10 years.
What are the benefits of events in the metaverse?
These virtual worlds connect people in new and immersive ways.
That makes them relevant for events of all types, from user conferences and trade shows to networking events, product launches, training sessions, fashion shows, concerts, sales kickoffs, and more.
Let’s look at the seven main benefits of meta events.
1. Rocket engagement for virtual gatherings.
Chat boxes and mosaics of people’s faces on a screen can only take online events so far.
By incorporating metaverse components – like virtual and augmented reality, avatars, and video – users can fully engage and connect. During metaverse conferences, for example, you can meet up with colleagues at a virtual coffee shop or hotel bar, mirroring the experience at physical events.
How does this work?
Accessing the metaverse varies from platform to platform. Attendees can enter this space through AR glasses, VR headsets, or Internet browsers.
First, they create a digital twin – an avatar – who looks like them and can interact with others while walking around a virtual venue. Depending on the platform, avatars can chat, hug, and high-five each other. A digital twin who actively engages enhances the experience for attendees, speakers, and stakeholders.
2. Push the boundaries of innovation.
Brands can build the event of their dreams and invite people to travel the world through bespoke VR spaces.
For example, let attendees see the ancient city of Machu Picchu high in the Andes Mountains, take in India’s bejeweled Taj Mahal, and view masterpieces of the Louvre in Paris – all without having to leave their homes.
Use these experiences as meeting spaces where attendees talk to each other as though they were getting together in the actual physical spaces. Create VIP lounges featuring entertainment, activations, games, challenges, and NFT swag bags. The opportunities for customization in the metaverse are boundless.
3. Create new revenue streams.
Do your attendees and sponsors want to be on the cutting edge of events? Live events in the metaverse will draw a new audience of early adopters. Generate revenue by reinventing how you bring people together and attracting audiences looking for immersive, new experiences.
4. Cut costs.
Virtual experiences won’t replace the energy of meeting in person. Still, travel, lodging, and F&B costs are rising. Having the option to teleport some employees to a meta event means brands can continue to build their communities and drive business when budgets are tight.
5. Build resilient event strategies.
Reduce the risk of health and natural emergencies. If an on-site event gets canceled, delight attendees and partners with a next-level, immersive virtual event.
6. Host sustainable events.
Digital worlds also reduce your event footprint. Replacing on-site events isn’t the goal of people behind the metaverse. But this doesn’t mean every gathering must be in-person. Strike a balance and host meta and physical events. You’ll save energy and cut food and material waste.
7. Drive inclusion.
This space welcomes people who can’t attend physical events due to health, financial, accessibility, or logistical challenges.
For metaverse inclusivity, eventgoers can create unique avatars that look like their IRL (in real life) selves. Digital worlds are advancing fast with new options for languages, gender, race, age, body size, assistive devices, hairstyles, and traditional and religious dress.
How to host an epic event in the metaverse
Despite these advantages, meta events pose challenges like barriers to entry, costs, complexities, and learning curves, to name a few.
These 11 quick tips below will help you sidestep the hurdles and create meta experiences attendees and stakeholders will love.
1. Put the metaverse on your radar now.
Start by attending events and getting acquainted with the possibilities and challenges.
What the metaverse will turn out to be is still open for debate. But we’re confident virtual will continue to flourish. The technology that supports the metaverse will keep advancing, and we’ll see more immersive experiences each year.
2. Don’t adopt the technology for novelty.
As always, choose the format that best supports your event goals.
3. Know your audience.
Do people have access to hardware like VR headsets? Are they comfortable interacting in a digital universe? If they embrace the notion of VR engagement, create a meta event that will blow them away. But if they’re uncomfortable, skip the metaverse and create an equally incredible on-site event.
4. Rethink your budget.
You’ll save on speaker travel, accommodations, meeting space, and F&B. But VR headsets, AR glasses, smartphone apps, and other devices also present costs.
5. Assemble a team with diverse voices.
You’ll need technology AND human behavior experts to create secure spaces people want to visit and linger.
6. Have everyone at the starting gate together.
Include technologists in the conversation from the get-go. Collaborating from start to finish boosts speed to market. You’ll also reduce change-order fees, increase efficiency, and produce more successful events.
7. Re-imagine the experience.
Don’t plan to reuse promotional videos and presentations you created for other channels. They won’t always fly. Instead, rely on people with experience creating AR/VR/mixed reality spaces to design compelling content for the metaverse.
8. Walk in your attendees’ shoes.
Want to engage and delight all participants? Build an experience with easy navigation for newcomers. Accommodate a range of capabilities, too, and offer customizable settings for bandwidth, audio and video quality, and other features.
9. Provide guidance.
Handholding goes far in the metaverse. Shorten learning curves with how-to guides for attendees, staff, vendors, and speakers. Also work with a tech provider that offers 24/7 support during your event to ensure everything goes smoothly.
10. Test and retest.
What’s the secret to flawless execution? Engage an experienced developer to run through every way that attendees can move around rooms and engage at each touch point. Then conduct a thorough run-through again.
11. Offer options.
Not everyone wants sensory overload. Empowering attendees to dial the immersion up or down helps ensure everybody has an epic meta experience.
Ready to learn more about producing extraordinary events? Book a demo with Stova today.