The 17 Best Software Platforms for Virtual Retreats
No matter how much planning goes into your virtual retreat, without the right platform to host it, your event will never reach it’s full potential. The software needed for your weekly happy hour is completely different from the one required to host a large seminar. Before you get too stressed, grab a coffee and take a deep breath as we walk you through finding the software best for your next event.
But before you start there are some questions you need to answer…
What’s your event?
Are you looking for a software to host regular team-bonding events or are you taking your yearly retreat virtual? A simple video chat feature might be perfect for morning mediation, but if you’re hosting a company-wide conference you’ll want additional features, such as virtual waiting rooms and booths for vendors. After all, imagine the chaos of a hundred-person video call. I mean one crying kid in the background is plenty.
How many people will attend your event?
Is your event just for employees or are you targeting a bigger audience? Chances are if you’re taking your annual event virtual, there will be a lot more people attending than your Friday night happy hour. Some software platforms are designed to handle large numbers, whereas others are best kept for smaller events.
What’s your budget?
If you’re hosting a larger event chances are your budget is going to look substantially different than it does for a typical meeting. While $500 seems like an overwhelming price for a ten-person happy hour, even with top-tier rum, it’s a whole different story for a company-wide virtual retreat.
Sticking to the Core
These platforms are perfect for your weekly team events. With screen-sharing and poll features, they’re sure to be a hit…even if the karaoke frightens your cat. If you’re looking to host a large event skip to the “Bigger Retreat” section to find platforms better suited for your team!
Skype is great if you’re a global corporation, as its IM and video chats can be made international. Skype has screen-sharing and whiteboard tools. You can also use Skype to post polls and host a Q&A session. Skype For Business will soon be merging with Microsoft Teams, so you will have access through your Office 365 account.
Price: starts at $2.99/month
Adobe no longer just applies to the creative industry. With their new web conferencing software you and your team can easily connect virtually. Along with conducting online meetings, Adobe Connect enables customized email integration and conference rooms, and polls, whiteboards, and other elements to encourage engagement. While you can choose a plan that best suits your company, the free trail ensures customer satisfaction.
If your company is already using Office 365, Microsoft Teams might be the platform for you. The app gives you a central hub for chats, video meetings, audio calling, and Office apps. If you have Office 365, Teams is already available to you, if not there’s a free version you can download here.
Price: free to $20.00/month
4. House Party
House party is perfect if you’re looking for a less conventional meeting style. The app combines video chatting with access to popular games like trivia and Heads Up. This way you can skip the awkward icebreakers and get straight to the fun. You can download versions for iOS, Android, MacOS, and Chrome here.
Along with live video chats, Zoom also allows you to access meeting analytics, screen-share during a call, record and document your meetings, and use an on-screen whiteboard feature. However, if you choose to use the free version, there is a 40-minute limit per call. No need to worry though, you can embrace the full happy hour experience by making it a bar crawl and switching to different hosts when your time runs out.
Price: free to $19.99/month
Planning a small-budget event? Look no further, Livestorm is the software platform for you! For an inexpensive price, Livestorm handles your landing page, analytics, and email automation. You can have multiple hosts and use elements like screen-sharing and polls. And if that’s not enough, no download is required; your event is held through a web browser, helping to cut down confusion.
Whether your hosting a small-scale event or a massive festival, Events.com has features to support your team. It’s an all-in-one system for managing, marketing and monetizing your virtual event! Coupled with on-site check-in, custom dashboards, social promotion, and sponsorship management, Events.com is perfect for making your event go off without a hitch.
Price: starts at $1.95, minimum processing fee
For Bigger Retreats
Looking to host a large and memorable event and have a budget to match? This is the place for you; customized dashboards and booths to showcase your products will ensure that your event is the talk of the industry!
Having hosted over 614,000 events Communique Conferencing has figured out everything that goes into making your virtual event flawless, including a customized 3D virtual conference platform. I mean, it’s like we’ve crossed over to the matrix! Combined with virtual theaters for webinars, networking lounges, live Q & A sessions, and a dedicated event manager this is the perfect software for your next virtual networking event.
Price: varies on event
If you’re planning a large trade show, than 6Connex is the platform for you. It allows for customized booths as while as features to showcase your products and services. Worried about hosting a multicultural event? 6Connex supports multiple languages and provides analytics and a metrics dashboard to ensure that your virtual event runs seamlessly, no matter whether you’re tanning on a beach in Hawaii or bundled up in the south pole!
Price: varies on event
Every office has a Brad, you know the coworker who actually wants to be Santa for the holiday party and is energized for your 8 am meeting. With SpotMe everyone will be as hyped as Brad; it’s a great solution if you want your event to target participant engagement. By using engagement apps, pre-made templates and Q&A sessions, your attendees will have meaningful interactions that keep them talking about your event all year long.
Price: starts at $4,800/year
Whether your event is completely virtual or as hybrid as a Prius, Accelevents offers customized events that suit your company and encourage engagement. With conference registration and agenda management, Accelevents is perfect if your event features multiple registration types and speakers. Other features include personalized dashboards for attendees, custom branding, and direct integrations with Google Analytics!
Price: 20% of total ticket sales or $3 for attendee if free registration
With Exchange Business Cards and 1-1 Chat features, Hubilo creates the feeling of an in-person networking event, without leaving the comfort of your own home. Meaning you can get away with quarantine’s signature look: a blazer and sweatpants…even if you are the keynote speaker. You can even set up personalized attendee profiles or post on a social wall!
Price: varies on event
Looking for a platform to host less traditional events like weekly Fitness sessions or monthly training? RegFox might be the perfect solution. This customized software offers branded registration pages, social media integration, and restricted access for exclusive events.
Price: $0.99 per attendee plus 2.99% for credit card processing
Originally a webinar focused platform, WorkCast is perfect if you’re looking to host a managed and monitored virtual event. This platform is perfect for those who want to work with a hands-on team, cause let’s face it, going in it alone can be stressful. They require no downloads and will set up the event for you! Of course, you can always opt to fly solo and enjoy full control of your webinar with the self-service plan.
Price: varies on event
15. ezTalks Webinar
A platform that can host up to 10,000 participants? Yes, please! Whether you have 10,000 participants or 10, your event will be a hit with ezTalks interactive whiteboard, rebranding, and live feedback features. But that’s not even the best part; you can take it for a test drive by hosting a virtual event of 100 people with the trial version.
Price: free to $50.00/month
If you have a bit more of an expendable budget, GoToWebinar offers features that will boost participant engagement. Not only will polls and sharing make your event memorable, but you can also record the event for playback and sharing. Detailed reports let you review stats on attendees and see which channels drove up signups. But before you spend that coin, try out the 7-day free trial.
Price: $49.00 to $399.00/month
Whether you’re hosting a webinar, summit, or virtual conference, Big Marker has you covered! Along with live-streaming and pre-recorded functionality, no download is necessary. Instead, you can provide attendees with a URL to optimize convenience for both you and your participants.
Price: $400 to $40,000
These are some of the most popular and well-rated platforms. However, you can always consider some of the less conventional options like Facebook Messenger, Facetime, and Snapchat video. And of course for a seamless, unique event that will leave your coworkers raving, Offsite offers virtual retreats guaranteed to boost employee morale and engagement! I mean when’s the last time your team worked together to escape a mountain top or built a machine to connect you in these distant times?