Virtual events were on the rise before the pandemic but a sudden shift to working from home put the spotlight on running events remotely. While Zoom shot to fame as the hottest meeting software during lockdown, companies needed something more robust for running events like virtual conferences, summits and expos.
In this article, we’re looking at the best virtual event platforms currently available. This includes systems capable of running fully virtual, in-person and hybrid events of all sizes.
Which virtual event platforms are we reviewing?
This article reviews the best virtual event platforms to help you choose the right system for your company. We start with a quick definition and a list of key features to look for in virtual events software and, then, we review our top choices.
Here’s a summary of what’s coming up:
- What is a virtual event platform? A quick definition of virtual event platforms and the key features to look out for.
- Hopin review: The all-rounder for virtual and on-site events that doesn’t break the bank.
- vFairs review: The all-in-one event management system.
- Zoom Events review: The affordable option for smaller, virtual events.
- Swoogo review: Run virtual events with airtight security.
- Airmeet review: Power meets affordability for smaller events.
- Webex Events review: Run engaging hybrid events for virtual and on-site attendees.
- Hubilo review: Maximise revenue from every corporate event.
- Comparison: We help you choose the best virtual event platform by comparing pricing, features and usability.
Once we’re done with the reviews, we wrap this article up with a comparison section to help you choose the right system for your needs. We start by comparing the key features of each virtual event platform. Then, we look at the pricing information available to us and select the best virtual event platforms for day-to-day usability.
What is a virtual event platform?
A virtual event platform helps companies to run corporate events online for attendees to join remotely from any location. High-end platforms allow you to run virtual, in-person and hybrid events with a mix of on-site and remote attendees.
Here’s how Hubilo – one of the systems we’re reviewing today – defines virtual event platforms:
“A virtual event platform is a software that allows users to host virtual webinars, conferences, hybrid events, and much more with relative ease. Attendees can participate in both peer-to-peer interactions as well as one-to-many interactions, which makes virtual event platforms unique! Their many features go beyond standard video conferencing software and will help you make your virtual events more engaging.”Hubilo – The Complete Guide To Virtual Events
To put this in better context, let’s take a quick look at some of the key features to look for in a virtual event platform:
- Event types: Depending on the type of events you want to run, you’ll need to make sure your platform of choice supports the formats you need: virtual, in-person and/or hybrid.
- Love broadcasting: A system for broadcasting live streams, video footage, interactive sessions and the other elements of your event.
- Event planning: Features to help you plan the schedule of your events with keynotes, presentations, webinars and everything else you need to include.
- Event promotion: Tools to help you promote your events, such as website and landing page builders, registration forms and email marketing.
- Payment processing: Support for payment gateways for accepting ticket payments on your website.
- Event networking: Features to help attendees network during your events.
- Attendee engagement: The ability to run polls, surveys and other interactive elements in your events.
- Security: You want a system that keeps you and your attendees’ data safe throughout the event.
- On-site features: In-person check-ins, badge printing and a mobile app for integrating the virtual and on-site experience.
- Event reporting: Insights into event performance, attendance rates, the registration funnel and more.
All of the virtual event platforms we’re looking at in this article provide the features listed above to varying degrees. However, some are better in certain regards than others and pricing varies significantly across providers.
So, let’s get started with our first review.
#1: Hopin: Virtual & on-site events without breaking the bank
POA (free plan available)
Hopin is one of the most comprehensive virtual event platforms on the market. The system can hold events for up to 100,000 viewers and also run hybrid events. This allows you to welcome in-person attendees and online viewers to the same event.
The platform’s pre-event planning system helps you set up a secure registration system with optimised landing pages. You can offer free, paid and private tickets at different prices in multiple currencies. This makes Hopin a great choice if you want to run “international” events online or hybrid events that open the doors to those who can’t make it in person.
The system allows you to build customised digital venues for holding online events. You can also create stages for keynote speakers, presentations and panels. The system supports pre-recorded webinar streaming and live streaming. This is great if you want to capture the authentic feel of a live event.
- Virtual events: Manage and run virtual events for up to 100,000 viewers.
- Hybrid events: Run events at venues for attendees and stream for online viewers.
- Internal events: Run virtual events for employees for team building and productivity.
- Virtual reception: Welcome attendees to a customised virtual reception where they can view the event schedule and speak to other attendees in the live chat tool.
- Virtual venue: Create an immersive attendee experience with interactive programming for both digital and on-site audiences.
- StreamYard Studio: Produce professional, reliable streams with Hopin’s free StreamYard Studio integration.
- Video editing & hosting: Make your event content evergreen with Hopin’s video storing and editing capabilities.
- Event marketing: Promote your event with landing pages, online registrations and marketing insights.
- Landing page builder: Create landing pages to promote your events with Hopin’s drag-and-drop builder.
- Audience engagement: Make your event more interactive with polls, quizzes, Q&As and more to drive audience engagement and satisfaction.
- Payment processing: Accept payments online using Hopin’s native integration with Stripe.
- Event analytics: Track registrations and ticket sales before your events, real-time attendance during them and success insights once they’re over.
Hopin includes its own video editing and hosting system. This provides everything you need to create and store your own content in the cloud. Of course, you can still create your own content in external software like Adobe Premier and upload it to Hopin. Either way, it’s always good to have the all-in-one option available.
In terms of interactivity and engagement features, the system supports one-on-one video chats and the matchmaking system allows you to pair up attendees that could benefit from meeting each other. It also gives you full control over networking. You can customise matchmaking rules by ticket type, set time limits for video chats and the system allows attendees to connect through follow-ups after the event with a single click.
You can also run polls, quizzes and Q&As and chat with attendees throughout your event.
In this sense, Hopin provides the fundamental engagement features we would expect from a virtual event platform. Even still, many of the other options we’re looking at today offer more in this regard.
How much does Hopin cost?
Hopin doesn’t provide any pricing information on its website. Quotes are based on several factors, primarily the number of registrations you expect to have over the course of a year and how many admin seats you need on the account.
Unfortunately, we can’t give any specific numbers. However, the quote we received was pretty competitive in a software niche where monthly fees often start from three digits.
Hopin also offers a free plan for companies looking to run smaller, simple events. The free plan allows you to run events for up to two hours and 100 registrations per event. This also includes a 15% commission fee on any ticket sales. Advanced plans cover you for up to 72 hours and the commission drops to 2%.
You find more information on the company’s pricing page.
Hopin pros & cons
- Production quality: The development studios in virtual events systems can be uninspiring but Hopin does well here.
- Customisability: You get plenty of options for customising your events and personalising experiences.
- Usability: Hopin succeeds with usability where too many virtual event platforms fall short.
- Networking: Hopin isn’t as strong as some of the other systems we’re looking at today for virtual networking features.
- Automation: Hopin doesn’t make it easy to duplicate or automate events for future use.
- Registration-based pricing: Hopin charges fees based on event registrations, not attendees
Hopin is an excellent virtual event platform that helps you plan, manage and run quality corporate events. With its built-in development studio, you can create events your company will be proud to run with all the customisation options you need to put your brand image on centre stage.
This is a powerful system with a lot of native features but this never gets in the way of usability. This is one area where enterprise virtual event tools struggle. Yet, Hopin excels at updating and optimising its platform to simplify the complexities of running events.
That being said, if you’re looking for an events platform that offers the best interactivity and engagement features, you might want to consider some of the other options in this article.
#2: vFairs: The all-in-one event management system
vFairs is an award-winning virtual event platform and one of the biggest names in this software category. It’s also one of the most advanced systems of its kind, especially when it comes to running hybrid and in-person events.
Hopin is a pretty good system for running hybrid events (a mix of in-person and virtual) but vFairs offers the stronger set of features. This is particularly true for in-person events. Optional check-in gear, badge printing and mobile apps create integrated hybrid experiences.
So, if hybrid and in-person events are a priority for you, vFairs could be the better system for your needs.
Earlier, we mentioned Hopin doesn’t offer as many networking and engagement features as some providers. vFairs steps things up with interactive breakout rooms, appointment bookings for attendees and exhibitors, easy contact info sharing and multimedia chat options for attendees to connect: text, voice and video.
vFairs also packs plenty of features to keep attendees engaged during your events. You can stoke the competitive spirit in people with leaderboards and run virtual scavenger hunts, trivia games and other activities to gamify your event. Aside from that, the platform includes a social media wall feature. This helps you showcase relevant content and posts from attendees and a virtual photo booth where attendees can capture and share pictures.
As you would expect from a system like this, you can also run polls, quizzes and Q&A sessions.
- Virtual events: Run fully-virtual events at digital venues and promote them with built-in marketing features.
- Hybrid events: Run hybrid events and enhance the experience for attendees with the vFairs mobile app.
- In-person events: Elevate your in-person event experience with vFairs’ mobile app and onsite event technology.
- Registration & ticketing: Manage event registration and ticketing from a single platform.
- 3D Virtual Venues: Create 3D virtual environments for your events with the option of replicating real-life venues.
- Landing pages: Build landing pages to promote your events and win signups.
- Email marketing: Send customised emails to segmented lists for pre, during and post-event communications.
- Event networking: Make it easy for attendees to find new connections through user profile search, matchmaking and appointment scheduling.
- Payment processing: Integrate with Paypal or Stripe to collect instant payments upon registration.
- Attendee engagement: Use leaderboards, photo booths, social walls, quizzes and other tools to keep attendees engaged.
- Event reporting: Real-time insights on attendee stats, event performance, attendee user journeys and more.
In terms of feature depth, vFairs is hard to beat but the platform does come with its own compromises. Hopin is far easier to use, not only in terms of UX design but also when it comes to onboarding.
vFairs is a heavy system and it’s going to take time for the company to set it up for you. The good news is, the platform is highly customisable. The company’s support team will build the system to meet your needs.
Again, this will take time. So don’t call up the company with a list of demands when you’ve got an event to run next week. You need to give the company enough time to implement the system. The more complex your event is, the more time this will take – and the more teething problems you’ll run into when the system first goes live.
How much does vFairs cost?
Like Hopin, vFairs doesn’t list any pricing details publicly. You’ll have to apply for a quote to get specific numbers. All quotes are customised to meet the needs of your events so you’re not going to get an accurate quote right away.
The flexibility of the system makes the pricing model quite complex, too, so you’ll have to push the company to get a complete, accurate quote verified before you sign up for anything. As you can probably tell, vFairs is designed for companies running large events so you should expect enterprise-level pricing.
vFairs pros & cons
- Features: vFairs offers one of the most complete systems for running virtual, hybrid and in-person events.
- Networking & engagement: Few virtual event platforms offer the same depth of networking and engagement features.
- Account management: vFairs’ team works very hard to meet the needs of its customers and their events.
- Implementation: While the company takes care of most of this for you, the setup and implementation process is quite complex and time-consuming.
- Workload: vFairs allows you to run pretty complex virtual events but this does involve more initial work than simpler systems require.
- Usability: vFairs’ system isn’t the easiest platform to use, particularly given the depth of features.
If you’re looking for pure power and feature depth, vFairs is one of the most capable virtual event platforms. You have to work hard to get the best out of the system but few alternatives offer as much for companies that need to run virtual and in-person/hybrid events from the same platform.
Another big strength of vFairs is its networking and engagement features. These are invaluable for virtual events where keeping people interested is always a challenge. These features integrate perfectly for hybrid and in-person events, too, enhancing the experience for everyone who attends.
#3: Zoom Events: The affordable option for smaller, virtual events
If you’re looking for a simpler virtual event platform, Zoom Events comes in with an easy-to-use alternative. Zoom has established itself as one of the biggest names in video conferencing in recent years so it makes perfect sense that it would put its own product forward for running virtual events.
Let’s be clear, Zoom Events isn’t a direct competitor with Hopin or vFairs. Instead, it’s a step up from Zoom’s meeting software and a simpler alternative to the likes of Hopin and vFairs.
The biggest advantage of Zoom Events’ relative simplicity is that it’s fast and easy to plan and manage simple events without any of the fuss you have to go through with more comprehensive virtual event platforms.
This simplicity extends to the people attending your events with Zoom making it super-easy for attendees to join. The company’s popularity is an asset here, too. Most people know how to use Zoom in some capacity and this minimises the learning curve. It also reduces the risk of attendees running into problems and simplifies the whole experience from their end.
Zoom Events won’t top the list of options for companies looking to run showcase corporate events but it’s a capable platform for smaller business summits, expos, kickoffs, etc.
- Virtual events: Manage and run virtual events with Zoom Events.
- Hybrid events: Run hybrid events for virtual and in-person attendees.
- Multi-session events: Manage multi-session events for up to five days with integrated ticketing, registration and reporting.
- Expo Floor: Allow attendees to interact with sponsors, engage in live conversation and explore content within the customisable Expo booths.
- Event branding: Customise your registration page, event lobby and events with your brand’s colours and logos.
- Event networking: Helps attendees connect with other participants ahead of the event, discover key individuals and make the most of their experience.
- Event Hubs: Organise all of your events and recordings in one place – choose to make the content public or private and use the space to collaborate with your colleagues on setting up and hosting events.
- Event sponsors: Drive more revenue from your events with sponsorship tiers, special tickets and branded visual content for showcasing sponsors to attendees.
- On-demand video: Give your event a longer shelf life with a video-on-demand library that lets attendees access your content after the event closes.
Zoom Events is capable of supporting hybrid events. However, a lack of in-person features makes it difficult to consider this as a real option. For fully-virtual events, Zoom makes a stronger case, if you’re looking to run relatively small events.
How much does Zoom Events cost?
Zoom is the first company we’re looking at today to publish pricing details for its virtual event platform. As the company offers a variety of tools, finding the right pricing info on its website can require some digging so make sure you’re looking at the pricing page for Zoom Events and Zoom Webinars.
Zoom Events starts from $1,490/year per licence, which works out at $124/month per licence. This only covers you for 100 attendees per month, though. Pricing increases pretty steeply as more people attend your events – so keep this in mind.
Once you pass 100 attendees per event, the next pricing bracket jumps to $4,990/year ($416/month) per licence for up to 500 attendees per event. This rises to $9,490/year ($790/month) for up to 1,000 attendees, $26,490/year ($2,207/month) for up to 3,000 attendees and $42,490/year ($3,540/month) for up to 5,000 attendees per event.
If you’re welcoming anything between 5,001-10,000 attendees per event, you’ll have to pay $84,400/year ($7,033/month) per licence.
Zoom Events offers some affordable entry prices for companies running smaller events. However, the costs rise quickly, especially if you need multiple licences or event hosts. If you’re running events for more than 500 attendees, you’re going to get much better value elsewhere – starting with our next suggestion.
Zoom Events pros & cons
- Usability: Zoom Events makes it easy to run simple virtual events on one of the most popular video calling systems.
- Simplicity: If you want a simple virtual events system that helps you create simple events without any fuss, Zoom Events could be ideal.
- Affordable*: Zoom Events is an affordable option for small companies running small-scale events.
- Limited features: Zoom Events isn’t the right system if you want to run complex virtual or hybrid events.
- Personalisation: You’re not given a lot of room for personalising experiences for attendees.
- Connectivity issues: We’ve experienced some connectivity issues and seen reports of others running into similar issues.
- Security: Zoom’s security frailties have been well documented in recent years and many of these are equally present in Zoom Events.
Zoom Events verdict
Zoom Events is a great option if you need a simple, affordable option for running small-scale events. By small-scale, we mean events for fewer than 500 attendees and, better yet, fewer than 100 – as this is where you get the best value for money from Zoom Events.
If you’re running events for larger audiences than that, you’ll want to look at other systems that offer better value for mid-sized events. Luckily, we’ve got the perfect suggestion for a virtual event platform that delivers similar value for money in the next price bracket.
#4: Swoogo: Run virtual events with airtight security
Swoogo’s entry prices are much higher than Zoom Events but the platform quickly takes over as better value for money once you’re running events for 500+ attendees. Unlike Zoom Events, Swoogo doesn’t charge you for attendees, registrations or the number of events you run every year.
You can run unlimited events on every Swoogo plan with unlimited registrations and attendees, which means there’s no price creep to worry about.
We’ll discuss pricing in more detail shortly but let’s talk about the features you get for your money. With higher starting prices than Zoom, you would hope for a more capable virtual event platform and Swoogo doesn’t disappoint.
The system includes a built-in registration system for creating signup forms with conditional logic and 15+ question formats to choose from and edit. It also comes with its own event marketing toolkit. This helps you build websites and landing pages to promote your events, complete with email marketing features for sending reminders, nurturing campaigns and more.
Swoogo is a capable platform for running hybrid events, too, with badge printing, on-site payment support, live check-ins and a mobile experience add-on available. That being said, the mobile apps are quite basic and they don’t add as much to the experience as the apps provided by Hopin, vFairs and some of the providers coming up in this article.
- Event registration: Create immersive registration systems for attendees using conditional logic to enhance relevance.
- Event Hub: Run immersive virtual events effortlessly with Swoogo’s built-in Event Hub.
- Event logistics: A toolkit for running your event on the big day(s), including badge printing, live check-ins, on-site payments, exhibition management and more.
- Event marketing: Sell out your events with a marketing toolkit for building websites, landing pages, email marketing and other tools.
- Event security: Protect attendees’ data (and your own) with multi-factor authentication, content security protocols and other industry-standard security features.
- Payment gateways: Take payments from attendees with support for 11 major payment gateways.
- Event reporting: Gather insights across registration, attendance and the post-event cycle.
As you would hope from a system designed for large corporate events, Swoogo takes security seriously with multi-factor authentication, content security protocols and industry-standard protections.
While most virtual event platforms offer reporting features of some kind, they often lack any depth of insights. Swoogo does much better than most of its peers with real attendee insights, event analytics and full integration with major CRM platforms.
It helps that you’re capturing registration data from Swoogo forms and landing pages (assuming you use these features), which starts your analysis at the point of conversion.
How much does Swoogo cost?
Swoogo offers four plans with flat pricing based on the number of admin accounts you need on the system. Pricing starts from $9,800/year ($816.66/month) for one full user and one reporting user with full access to the platform.
This increases to $15,000/year ($1,250/month) for three full users and three reporting users and $24,000/year ($2,000/month) for five full users and five reporting users.
Every plan gives you full access to the platform and covers you for unlimited events, registrations and attendees. Considering Zoom Events charges you $9,490/year ($790/month) for one user and 500-1,000 attendees per event, you can start to see how Swoogo offers much better value for events with 500+ attendees.
If you need more than five full users or five reporting users on your account, you’ll have to speak to Swoogo’s sales team about its Enterprise plan.
Swoogo pros & cons
- Onboarding: Swoogo’s support team makes the onboarding and setup process as effortless as you could hope for.
- Pricing: Given the feature depth provided – and the quality of its software, overall – Swoogo is good value compared to some of its pricier rivals.
- Usability: Swoogo’s design and development teams have done an excellent job with usability.
- No phone support: While the support team is fast to respond, you can only contact them by email and chat – no phone support at all.
- Mobile app: The mobile app offering is quite basic compared to some of the other providers in this article.
- Duplicate contacts: We can’t find a way to merge duplicate contacts into one when the same person signs up for multiple events.
Swoogo strikes a great balance between power and affordability for companies running medium-to-large-scale events. It’s not as capable as the likes of Hopin and vFairs but it delivers far more than Zoom Events at a better price point if you’re running events for 500+ attendees.
The company’s support team is excellent and the only small complaint is that it doesn’t provide phone support. You’re limited to chat and email channels but the team is quick to respond and deal with any potential issues.
#5: Airmeet: Power meets affordability for smaller events
From $500/month (free plan available)
Airmeet is a virtual and hybrid event platform that offers relatively affordable options for companies running smaller events of up to 200 people. The system can run much larger events, though. Airmeet can support events for up to 100,000 attendees and it also offers an option for running one-time events at a flat rate starting from $5,000 for up to 300 attendees.
Airmeet’s virtual event platform is built around four integrated products:
- AirStudio: The platform’s production studio for creating one-of-a-kind, branded event experiences.
- AirControl: The event management system for planning and executing multiple events from one place.
- AX360: A networking toolkit for connecting attendees together during your events.
- AirIntel: A built-in reporting system for measuring the performance of your events.
If your company only runs small events, Airmeet offers more affordable entry prices than Swoogo and a more capable system than Zoom Events. However, attendee limits and price increases make Airmeet’s more expensive plans harder to justify when Swoogo starts to offer comparable prices without the same limitations.
That being said, Airmeet gives you a far more capable production studio. This is great for creating immersive, fully branded event experiences – so you have to factor this into the pricing, especially on the more expensive plans that unlock AirStudio’s best features.
- Branded events: Easily create branded experiences that stand out and keep your brand centre of mind.
- Virtual networking: Create digital spaces for attendees, speakers, sponsors and key figures to interact.
- Event engagement: Keep attendees engaged throughout the event cycle with personalised emails, session reminders, direct chat, Q&As and a suite of other engagement features.
- Live streaming: Stream your events live across social media platforms to maximise visibility.
- Landing pages: Build custom landing pages to promote your events and capture signups.
- Customisable signups: Create customisable registration forms, welcome videos, email reminders and other interactions to maximise attendance.
- Event analytics: Track event performance, engagement analytics and insights for sponsors, exhibitors and other key figures.
With Airmeet’s production studio (AirStudio), you can create branded event experiences and all the resources you need to run and promote your events. You can build customisable registration forms and landing pages to capture registrations, create interactive receptions and stage backdrops, and design your virtual event booths.
You can also create welcome videos in AirStudio to greet attendees when your event launches.
AirControl is Airmeet’s event management platform where you can plan every aspect of your events and make sure they run smoothly. You can manage the prices for different tickets to your events, schedule keynotes, sessions and everything else on the agenda, manage registrations and keep track of everything as your event runs.
To maximise engagement during your events, Airmeet’s AX360 platform helps you create more immersive experiences. You can gamify events with leaderboards, tasks and rewards to incentivise participation throughout your event. You can also create breakout rooms and social lounges and implement speed networking to help attendees meet the most relevant people.
As you would expect from any virtual event platform, you can also run polls, quizzes and Q&As while the live chat feature keeps everyone in contact.
How much does Airmeet cost?
Airmeet runs a free plan for single organisers that allows you to run unlimited events for up to 50 attendees per event. You’re limited to 90-minute sessions on this plan and features are heavily restricted, as you would expect from a system like this.
You don’t get any meaningful access to AirStudio on the free plan and you only have basic access to event management features, engagement tools and reporting.
The Starter plan is available from $500/month and this covers you for unlimited events of up to 200 attendees per event. This is a starting price so you can pay extra for up to 1,000 attendees per month. The Starter plan allows you to run sessions with no time limit and opens the basic features in AirStudio for creating branded events.
It also gives you most of Airmeet’s event management and engagement features and priority customer support 24/7.
The professional plan starts from $1,500/month for up to 500 attendees per event and you can scale this up to as many as 10,000 per event. This unlocks most of Airmeet’s features, except for a few deal sweeteners on the Enterprise plan.
You find out more from the company’s pricing page.
Airmeet’s pricing model makes it pretty affordable at the entry price for small events but more expensive than the likes of Zoom Events and Swoogo once you reach 500+ attendees. It really comes down to how valuable AirStudio is as a production studio for your events because this is what will justify the higher price tag on the Professional plan (or not).
Airmeet pros & cons
- Smaller events: With a limited free plan and lower entry prices, Airmeet is an affordable option for smaller events.
- Engagement: Airmeet has some of the best engagement and gasification features we’ve seen in an event management system.
- Usability: The system is easy to use, performs well and provides an intuitive experience for attendees.
- Product maturity: Airmeet is one of the newer systems on the market – and this shows in certain feature gaps and design quirks – but it’s improving at an impressive rate.
- Productivity: Some obvious productivity features and tools are missing, such as one-click event duplication and editable event settings in a single interface.
- Bandwidth: Airmeet uses up a lot of bandwidth and this can cause connectivity issues.
Airmeet is an interesting option for two very different types of companies/events. On one hand, it offers a free plan and an affordable starting price on its cheapest plan for small events. However, the price increases rapidly for events with more than a few hundred attendees.
By this point, the affordability vanishes for smaller companies. Instead, Airmeet becomes an all-in-one event management and production system for medium-to-larger businesses. If its AirStudio production suite justifies the price tag, Airmeet can provide a more affordable alternative to the likes of Hopin and vFairs.
#6: Webex Events: Engaging hybrid events for virtual & on-site attendees
Webex Events (formerly Socio) is an enterprise virtual event platform for running virtual, in-person and hybrid events. The system can support events of up to 100,000 attendees with advanced features for in-person and hybrid events, networking, engagement and a bunch of other high-end features.
Webex Events is up there with the best virtual event platforms on the market and it excels in several areas. First, let’s talk about it being one of the best systems for accessibility and inclusivity. It supports closed captions in multiple languages, screen readers, seizure-safe videos, adjustable font sizes, adjustable colours and plenty more.
Webex Events isn’t the only platform we’re looking at today that includes accessibility features but it is the best system for this.
It’s also one of the best systems for engagement and gamification. You can personalise agendas for attendees, provide interactive maps and run interactive polls, quizzes, word clouds, Q&As and more. Webex Events also supports an internal private social network, providing a closed environment for attendees to network and interact without external interruptions.
Built-in gamification allows you to incentivise engagement with leaderboards, points systems, and rewards for completing tasks during your event.
- Virtual events: Host engaging, interactive virtual events that attendees love.
- Hybrid events: Run hybrid events for in-person and virtual attendees from the same system.
- Registration & ticketing: Build fully branded registration in minutes with flexible ticketing for multiple ticket types, prices, groups, discount codes and plenty more – all with instant payouts.
- Event communities: Build virtual communities to continuously engage attendees year-round with networking, topic-based discussions and exclusive content.
- Onsite solutions: Manage in-person event check-ins easily with badge printing, QR scanning, and attendee reporting.
- Mobile Event App: Allow your attendees to access your event content in-person or on the go from an intuitive and fully customisable event app.
- Video & streaming: Professional-grade live streaming, simulive, and video hosting for events.
- Audience engagement: Native tools like chat, polls, and gamification that make your event interactive.
- Sponsorship tools: Monetise your event by maximising sponsor ROI with banners, booths, custom CTAs, resources and more.
- Event reporting: Get actionable, real-time insights from your events to drive continuous improvement.
Webex Events’ drag-and-drop event builder makes it easy to plan events from scratch. Crucially, you can save elements and templates to plan future events faster. Many virtual event platforms lack these basic automation features that save you from repeating the same tasks every time you want to run another event.
As a system designed for running large-scale events, Webex needs to deliver when it comes to security – and it does. Advanced data encryption protects you and your attendees, including all of your streamed content, sessions and engagements through the system.
You can expand the system’s standard set of features through several add-ons, too. This includes an add-on for on-site check-ins and badge printing, a lead retrieval app, managed services and a community platform for building online communities around your events.
How much does Webex Events cost?
Webex doesn’t publish any pricing information on its website. So you’ll have to request pricing from the company’s sales team to get a quote. Keep in mind, the full version of Webex Events is designed for medium-to-large-scale events and this is one of the most capable systems of its kind – and this comes at a premium.
Webex also offers dedicated systems for running meetings, video calls and webinars with pricing information available for the first two. None of these are suitable replacements for a virtual event platform, though. So, if you’re looking for a relatively affordable option for running virtual events, you’ll probably need to look at alternatives like Swoogo or Zoom Events.
Webex Events pros & cons
- Event planning: The back end is intuitively designed, putting powerful event planning features at your fingertips.
- Attendee UX: Webex Events makes life easy for people attending virtually – something some providers don’t pay enough attention to.
- Customer support: Webex’s support team is easy to contact, fast to respond and well-equipped to deal with any issues you run into.
- Pricing: Webex Events is one of the more expensive options we’re looking at today and we’ve seen several increases recently.
- Feature availability: We ran into some inconsistencies with feature and settings availability – for example, polls only being available before video conferences, not during.
- Administration: Webex Events places all of the management responsibilities on the admin, which can create a lot of work without more automation or permission settings for other users, attendees and sponsors.
Webex Events verdict
Webex Events is one of the most advanced virtual event platforms currently available. It provides robust security features, excellent support for accessibility and inclusivity and some of the best networking and engagement features among any of the providers we’re looking at today.
If you’re willing to pay for the best quality, Webex Events is one of the first platforms you should look at. It’s only let down by some odd usability quirks and navigational design choices. Aside from that, usability is excellent with powerful event planning features and intuitive UX for attendees.
#7: Hubilo: Describe
Hubilo promises to help companies run events that drive real revenue with an all-in-one system for virtual, in-person and hybrid events. This comes with a complete event planning and management system, including Hubilo’s own broadcasting studio for running virtual events and adding branded elements to your content.
In terms of generating revenue from your events, it’s Hubilo’s event marketing toolkit that’s designed to make the difference. As with many virtual event platforms, you can create customised landing pages to promote your events and capture registrations with registration forms.
Hubilo also supports payment through integrations with third-party payment gateways.
However, the standout feature of Hubilo’s event marketing toolkit is its built-in email marketing system. This allows you to send personalised emails to registrants to keep them engaged and build up excitement ahead of your events. Targeted email campaigns help you maximise attendance rates with personalised incentives and notification reminders to make sure nobody forgets about the big day.
Once your event is done, you can use the same email data to nurture registrants and get them involved in future events of interest or any other services you want to promote to them.
- Virtual events: Run full virtual events that keep attendees engaged throughout.
- Hybrid events: Manage hybrid events with virtual and in-person attendees without sacrificing results.
- Custom branding: Customise the full experience of your events with branded elements.
- Attendee experience: Enhance the attendee experience with one-to-one chat, one-to-one meetings, personal events and other tools.
- Audience engagement: Immerse attendees with Hublio’s Broadcasting Studio, live chat, Q&As, leaderboards and more.
- Broadcasting Studio: Create customised live events in Hublio’s Broadcasting Studio, run live streams and upload for public viewing.
- Registration tiers: Create different types of tickets for multiple target audiences (eg: free and paid attendees with different price options).
- Breakout rooms: Build virtual spaces for attendees to network with each other, sponsors and key figures.
- Virtual booths: Give exhibitors and sponsors digital spaces to hold booths for showcasing their brands to attendees.
- Event analytics: Track registrations, attendance, event performance and other key insights.
To maximise engagement during your events, Hubilo makes it easy to create breakout rooms and lounges for attendees to network. You can run live polls and surveys, hold Q&A sessions and match-make to connect relevant attendees with each other.
As host, you can hold one-on-one chats with attendees, schedule meetings and create personalised event schedules to maximise relevance for your most important attendees.
For in-person and hybrid events, Hubilo also provides on-site event check-in and badge printing. The event mobile app enhances the experience for on-site attendees by connecting them with virtual engagements: chats, polls, Q&As, etc. You can also send targeted notifications to in-person attendees to remind them about key moments in your event agenda.
How much does Hubilo cost?
Hubilo doesn’t publish any pricing details on its website so you’ll have to contact its sales team to get a quote. The company runs three plans with pricing largely based on the number of registrations you have for each event. This is an important point because it means you’re being charged for registrations, not attendees, so it’s important to maximise attendance rates.
This is where Hubilo’s marketing toolkit is crucial, especially its built-in email marketing system, but attendance-based pricing is always preferred.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that Hubilo is geared towards medium-sized events with the Enterprise plan maxing out at 4,000 registrations per event. So you’re not going to be running events for 100,000 attendees with Hubilo and you’ll need to look elsewhere for larger-scale events.
Hubilo pros & cons
- Interactivity: Hubilo makes virtual events as interactive as possible and the attendee networking features are a real strong point.
- Hybrid events: Hubilo’s mix of virtual and in-person event features make it a truly capable system for both – and hybrid events.
- Excellent support: Hubilo’s support team guides you through the onboarding/setup process and helps you get the best out of the system.
- Registration-based pricing: Hubilo’s plans are priced based on the number of registrations you generate for each event.
- Sessions: creating sessions involves quite a lot of work and you have to create each one from scratch – templates and automation tools would help with this.
- Reporting: Hubilo’s reporting features are lacking, especially when it comes to storing and accessing attendee data.
Hubilo is a powerful, all-in-one system for running virtual, in-person and hybrid events for up to 2-3k attendees (depending on your attendance rate). The registration-based pricing and relatively low registration limits across each plan will rule this out for companies looking to run larger-scale events but the platform itself is excellent.
Interactivity is a real strength of this system with a depth of features to keep virtual and on-site attendees engaged. This, combined with powerful on-site event features, makes Hubilo one of the best platforms on the market for running hybrid events.
What is the best virtual event platform?
To help you choose the best virtual event platform for your needs, we’re ending this article with a head-to-head comparison section. This is where we compare all of the platforms reviewed in this article on the following three criteria:
For the pricing and features sections, we’ve put together some comparison tables so you can quickly see how the providers stack up against each other. Finally, for the usability section, we pick out the three platforms that impress us most for all-round usability and day-to-day use.
Best value for money
Normally, we like to give you a sense of how products compare in terms of pricing so you can see which options deliver the best value for money. Sometimes, companies don’t make this easy for us by keeping their pricing information under wraps and this is largely the case with virtual event platforms.
This is quite common in spaces where most products are aimed at larger and enterprise businesses. This is generally the case with events software so get ready to make some calls.
Still, here’s a quick review of the pricing information we have available to us.
|Tool||Free plan?||Starting price||Top plan|
As for which virtual event platform offers the best value for money, this mostly comes down to three factors:
- How many registrations or attendees each event has
- Whether you need to run in-person and/or hybrid events
- How much you’re willing to pay for quality features
If you simply want the most affordable option for running smaller virtual events, then Zoom Events is hard to look past. However, if you want a platform that’s more capable or better for running medium-sized events, then Swoogo and Airmeet may offer the best value for money.
Alternatively, if you want the best systems your money can buy, vFairs and Webex Events offer two of the best platforms around. Then, you have Hopin and Hubilo which are pretty close in terms of quality but not so hard on the wallet.
Best for features
Most of the platforms we’ve looked at today offer the same general set of features but quality can vary from one provider to the next. So, the table below shows which platforms are particularly strong for the following five key feature sets:
- Virtual events
- On-site and hybrid events
- Engagement, interactivity and networking
- Event marketing and promotion
- Event security (online)
A tick means the platform in question is among the best providers for each particular feature.
As you can see, vFairs and Hubilo are excellent in every category. Webex Events only just misses out when it comes to event marketing features. At the opposite end of the spectrum, we have Zoom Events which is better suited for running smaller, virtual events – and it’s the most affordable option for this purpose, too.
Best for usability
When we test new software products, our team always pays close attention to four key factors when assessing usability:
- Smooth operation: The software runs smoothly without lags or slowdowns as you interact with elements.
- Navigation: Elements, tools, settings and everything else you interact with are easy to find.
- Minimal clicks: Simple actions require no more than 1-3 clicks to complete and more complex actions (eg: settings changes) within a reasonable number of clicks.
- Action completions: The quantity of meaningful actions you complete vs time spent interacting directly with the software.
Usability is an important quality in any software product. This is especially true when you’re going to use a system on a regular or day-to-day basis. Following our usual criteria for assessing the usability of the virtual event platforms in this article, three products stand out for us:
- Zoom Events
Now, let’s explain a little bit about why these three products, in particular, impressed us for their usability.
Hopin is the most pleasing virtual event platform for us to use. It incorporates one of the most powerful sets of features into a system that remains easy to use on a daily basis. It’s not quite as advanced as the likes of vFairs and WebesEvents but it’s not too far behind and it crams a lot of power into a highly usable system.
Hopin doesn’t try to do anything exciting with its UI designs. It simply applies robust UX principles to the overall architecture of its product, interfaces and feature implementations. The platform is logically divided up into dashboards that you can access in a single click with features and tools intuitively grouped together, making them easy to find and access at any time.
Considering how much Hopin offers in a single platform, the learning curve is relatively mild. This is largely thanks to the intuitive design of the product, as a whole.
Airmeet takes a completely different approach to Hopin with software design. It wants to look modern and exciting while using contrast to guide your eye to the most important elements. This helps you to quickly familiarise yourself with the most important actions and features although it, arguably, makes it a little more challenging to find secondary tools that aren’t highlighted so clearly.
In terms of navigation, Hopin does a slightly better job of dividing up its system. That being said, many people will prefer using Airmeet once they’re comfortable with the platform.
It’s also worth pointing out that Airmeet is more active than Hopin with product design updates. We’ve seen a couple of design revamps in recent years while Hopin tends to simply refine and optimise its platform with modest improvements.
There’s no right or wrong here; they’re just taking two different approaches to product design.
Either way, these are the two standout platforms in terms of usability and Hopin edges it for us with the more practical user experience.
#3: Zoom Events
Zoom Events takes the third spot in our usability round. This is mainly because it’s the simplest platform to use that we’ve looked at today. Not only is it the most affordable option for running smaller virtual events, it’s also the easiest system for quickly running them without any of the frills other platforms may offer.
The obvious downside to this is the platform lacks many of the features and tools we’ve seen from other providers.
This is a perfectly legitimate design choice, though. Zoom Events made its way into this article for the very fact that it does offer a simpler, easier and more affordable alternative to the other platforms we’re looking at today.
If you simply want an events system for holding small events, Zoom Events makes a good case for itself.
What does your next virtual event look like?
Choosing a virtual event platform really comes down to what kind of events you want to run. If your company runs large-scale virtual and in-person events throughout the year, then you’re going to need a robust system like vFairs or Webex Events.
You need a system capable of handling everything you can throw at it.
However, if you’re primarily running virtual events, you have more options available to you. Are you looking for a solution that can run more engaging virtual events or do you need a system that makes no compromises with security?
Are you struggling to get attendees networking virtually?
We’re confident we’ve covered all bases with our pick of virtual event platforms and, hopefully, this article will help you make the best choice for your needs.