Updated: Sep 28
Virtual tours, classes, and other online experiences are surging in popularity, and are expected to remain popular for the foreseeable future.
While these online events vary, there are ways to get the most out of them. Here’s what we’ve learned to make the most of a virtual event.
Double Check Your Technology
To get the most out of a virtual event, at the very least you’re going to need reliable internet. You don’t want to have trouble logging in or lose your connection partway through. Some virtual tours may require you to download software; if so, do that well before the tour is set to start.
This may be self-explanatory, but when I take an online class about technology, I make sure to have the technology itself handy so I can refer to it during the session. It was helpful to have my iPhone with me during GetSetUp’s informative session with Scott Sleek on how to take better photos with my iPhone. That way I could see the tools on my own device while he was talking about them. Some of the other attendees did not have their iPhones with them, which made it harder to understand how the technology worked.
Consider What Kind of Virtual Event You Prefer
Some tours and classes, such as the ones offered by Withlocals, are more expensive, but they’re also private and customizable. Other events are less pricy or even free. However, these virtual events may have aspects to them that you don’t like, such as other participants. They may also be pre-recorded, so you can’t ask questions during the session.
Buy Ingredients for a Cooking Class Well in Advance
While virtual cooking classes are both fun and educational, some ingredients, such as certain fruits or spices, can be difficult to find. If that’s the case, you may need time to order them online, or to ask the class operator what substitutions you can make.
Be Interactive During a Live Event
Being involved makes the experience more interesting. I attended a great virtual tour of Paris through Secret Food Tours, but I was the only attendee with my video and audio on. The other participants were unseen and mute. As a result, every time our tour guide, Stephane, tried to engage the group, I was the only one who communicated with him. My tour experience was more personal and fulfilling as a result.
Get the Name of the Person Conducting the Virtual Event
If you enjoy the online experience, you might want to book another one with the same guide either online or for a forthcoming in-person event. If you weren’t in love with your guide, then you know to avoid that individual should you book a future event with the same company.
When I’m on an in-person tour or class, I take a lot of photographs to memorialize the experience. When I experience a virtual event, I turn to notetaking instead. It’s not the same as being there in person, but it’s an adequate substitute way to capture what I’m seeing and learning. Screenshots of online events seem less helpful because the screen changes rapidly.
Writer Natalie MacLean provided a handy workbook to download and take notes on to accompany her great virtual class on wine and food pairing mistakes.
Include the Wine when Attending a Virtual Wine Tasting
It greatly enhances the online experience. For instance, I enjoyed learning about Oregon wine during a wine tasting conducted by the Oregon Wine Board, offered by the Wine Media Conference. But I should have obtained the wines being tasted ahead of time to be able to try them during the session. I won’t make that mistake again.
We hope these tips on how to get the most out of a virtual event helpful. Please share with us your own online tour and class recommendations.
Have any suggestions or feedback? Don’t hesitate to send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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