You hear the word stage — what comes to mind?
Lights? Curtains? Stage fright? In the past, most people would have agreed, but in recent years, virtual and hybrid events have redefined our understanding of what a stage can look like. Now, when you, your speaker, your sponsors, or your audience are on stage, the stage could be someone’s living room, a production studio, an office, or a physical stage.
Social media has also democratized what it means to take the stage. TikTok, Instagram, and other platforms allow anyone — at any time — to perform or speak their mind. A stage is now any platform used to present, perform, or share stories and ideas with an audience.
Virtual events now serve as a blank canvas where presenting can happen on a main keynote stage, in a Q&A breakout session, or at an expo booth where sponsors showcase their products or services.
The sky’s the limit, with planners having used virtual stages to host:
- virtual gyms,
- drag performances,
- talks by heads of state,
- and even meditation sessions
— all online. With that overwhelming potential, being creative virtually may seem like a steep mountain to climb, but luckily the trek will be easier after browsing these 10 virtual stage examples for inspiration.
Virtual stage example #1: Glassdoor
In 2021, Glassdoor’s annual sales kickoff emphasized its mission to “help people everywhere find a job and company they love.”
With Hopin, they created a virtual environment for employees to interact, network, share questions, and get answers in real time. Glassdoor gave each speaker the main stage for 30 minutes. Then, to increase interaction and engagement, they used Hopin's audience engagement tools so employees and speakers could interact on their own stage.
Aesthetics elevate an experience. Which means that attractive virtual stages make your audience feel excited to be a part of your event.
With that in mind, Glassdoor designed an energetic atmosphere to captivate the audience. The keynote session and some round table stages had physical presenters on a stage with a series of LED screens. Then, the AV team added the event name, company name, theme, and presentations or videos they wanted to share with the audience.
To create a more intimate atmosphere, Glassdoor and their presenters used virtual stages to feature speakers’ personal spaces. They planned a scavenger hunt to engage the audience where employees could find items hidden in the session backgrounds during the presentations in a game of corporate Eye Spy.
The collaborations didn’t stop there. The team invited Glassdoor's vendors to host virtual expo booths at the event, and representatives from companies like Slack, Gainsight, and Salesforce joined the kickoff. Each company’s virtual booth taught employees how to become superusers of their tools. The vendors used Hopin’s interactive tools, like polling, quiz, and Q&A features for employees to interact with vendors in a familiar atmosphere throughout the event.
To highlight their fun factor on stage, they chose vibrant colors and a tidy white background to create a light atmosphere. To add familiarity, they included Glassdoor’s logo and branding and they customized the virtual event’s sidebar and pop-up messages to make the kickoff easy to navigate.
To recreate the off-the-cuff authenticity of an in-person event, Scott Schwartz, Senior Manager of Glassdoor’s Sales Enablement team, used Sessions to create private meeting rooms for new executives to meet with employees.
When all was said and done, Scott had set the stage for a fun event tailored to Glassdoor’s employees. Check out this article for more details about how they pulled it off.
Virtual stage example #2: Saint Rock Media
From day one, Saint Rock Media used Hopin to throw everything from pitch competitions and corporate conferences to startup launches and even kids’ summer camps. The wide range of features and integrated tools help CEO and founder Kalah Haley and her team tailor events to sponsors', attendees', and speakers' needs.
What’s their secret sauce? To create the perfect stage, it first requires organization. Offstage, speakers prepare in the virtual green room — without all eyes on them — before taking the stage.
On stage, speakers engage directly with attendees during their presentations. And because Kalah and her team use the Xeo integration with Hopin, attendees can applaud speakers through their phones. Speakers enjoy it because it communicates feedback missing from most virtual event platforms.
While designing the stages, Kalah’s team strategically used physical backdrops to make the atmosphere seem less tech-heavy and more intimate.
Honeycomb-like blocks hid the microphones on one stage, and white curtains blocked them on another. They created a warm and compelling atmosphere with flowers and candles in some rooms.
On their main stages, Kalah and her team frequently use GoFundMe with their nonprofit clients. The integration helps companies make a positive social impact with their events and engage their audience with a seamless in-event donation experience.
Click here for more about how Saint Rock puts on its events.
Virtual stage example #3: European Forum Alpbach
Founded in 1945, European Forum Alpbach blends the worlds of art, culture, business, politics, and science to address the most pressing socio-political questions of our time. The forum bridges generational and ideological differences by encouraging dialogue among current world leaders and the leaders of tomorrow.
For the first time in 75 years, the hosts of European Forum Alpbach transitioned to a virtual event in light of the obstacles 2020 presented to in-person event planners.
Some speakers were able to attend in person, while many joined remotely. To seamlessly accommodate travel abilities, planners revamped their typical set. Since many people interested in socio-political current events are familiar with news broadcast sets, planners designed the virtual stage with a broadcast studio-like format. This helped visually communicate the seriousness and relevance of the topics discussed.
One trick-of-the-trade is placing random decor — stacks of books, plants, odd objects, and the like — on the stage. For this event, the team added striking visual aspects like rocks in their background.
“They’re talking points,” Scott Gould, author of “The Shape of Engagement”, says. “People wonder: ‘Why is that there?’ They stoke curiosity. You don’t see this very often. You often arrive, and you know what everything is for. There’s no mystery.”
To connect attendees and sponsors, the European Forum Alpbach team provided personalized booths in the virtual lounge area. There, sponsors hosted sessions, invited speakers, and curated content for attendees.
By running multiple stages and hosting hundreds of virtual sessions, European Forum Alpbach packed its virtual agenda with compelling content from speakers around the world.
The virtual stage lets you weave your theme throughout your event. For instance, consider incorporating your event theme into your virtual stage design — the team here added clouds and photos of the Alps’ natural surroundings to connect to their theme.
As part of the main forum, the alumni team created, coordinated, and hosted 80 live sessions streamed to Hopin stages in 20 international hubs. Event planners used the local setting to inspire the stage design. For example, the photo below shows how the team created a set unique to its locale in the Alps.
Attractive and location-specific stages help attendees feel included and connected — look to natural surroundings like they did here — having the stage as a traditional cabin in the Alps when talking about political issues that affect that region.
Read more about the inner workings of a successful international event here.
Virtual stage example #4: West Peek Productions
Online event production agency West Peek Productions creates seamless virtual experiences for clients. After finding Hopin, co-founders Trévon Hill and Scooter Taylor challenged themselves to host their own fully immersive virtual event, Quarantine Con, on the platform. And they gave themselves only four days to prepare.
They knew they needed to have their tech in order if they were going to host a successful virtual event. So, they equipped their main stage with large LED screens and green screens.
Presenters also streamed directly onto Hopin while their tech team was behind the scenes to streamline visual transitions which included lower thirds, quotes from the audience, and video transitions.
A quick way to build cohesion into your presentation is to incorporate a uniting visual theme. To do this, West Peek Productions used brand colors to sync the stage background with the virtual event space.
Looks aren’t everything, though — it is what’s on the inside that counts. With that in mind, they experimented with Hopin’s Sessions feature to provide unique interactive experiences for attendees. For example, a virtual gym they built for one event featured a different personal trainer and workout class in each room.
For another event, they hosted a large keynote panel discussion using Hopin’s main stage followed by breakout sessions featuring each speaker. During the sessions, attendees and speakers engaged in a more relaxed and interactive setting.
Ahead of the curve, as usual, Trévon and Scooter were already using StreamYard before Hopin acquired it. One of West Peek Productions’ trademarks is streaming live content with a TV-quality production standard, so they were thrilled when the acquisition helped them streamline their tools.
Want more food for thought? Learn more about how West Peek has produced nearly 200 events here.
Virtual stage example #5: FCM Events
As a full-service international events agency, FCM Meetings & Events is well-versed in hosting an array of events for clients of varying sizes and industries.
They understand the importance of forging an emotional connection with attendees. During a prestigious product launch event, for instance, they provided interactive content that gave attendees the time, space, and imagery needed for the complete event experience. They made clever use of several Hopin features like:
- Pre-recorded product videos,
- Television commercials,
- Live presentations,
- Q&A sessions with the CEO and head of marketing,
- And other marketing materials.
FCM wanted the atmosphere to mesh with the event's tone, so they created a virtual stage that was sleek, user-friendly, and beautiful. To juxtapose the weathered feel of the industrial past with the vibrancy of tech’s future, the stage was a mix of LED televisions in a traditional brick building. And the televisions let the emcee casually present while the AV and tech team streamed videos, presentations, and more to the screens.
Using the Slido integration, FCM engaged attendees with interactive presentation elements like live word clouds, quizzes, and polls.
Read more about how FCM customizes events here.
Virtual stage example #6: National Student Pride
Every year, National Student Pride attracts nearly 2,000 students from more than 170 global universities — making it the UK's largest LGBTQ+ student event. The weekend festival inspires attendees with talks and debates among activists, student parties, and the UK's largest queer-inclusive recruitment fair.
For its 2021 event, National Student Pride pivoted to a virtual festival. The team created a festive virtual stage using a myriad of beautiful colors and installations within a studio-like set-up.
The design agency tapped by Festival Director Ollie James Parr made artistic use of Hopin’s Dark Mode by hand picking colors that popped against the dark stage from the platform’s customization options.
During the festival, attendees experienced a diverse range of interactive virtual activities like:
- Drag bingo
- Drag aerobics
- Voguing workshop
- Gender-diverse cabaret
- Meditation with lululemon
- Trans+ makeup masterclass
- Quiz show hosted by Lorraine Kelly
Panel discussions about Black Lives Matter, mental health, women's rights, and trans love informed attendees on the most pressing LGBTQ+ issues today. And intimate interviews with guests like Stephen Fry, Paris Lees, and Daniel Howell inspired the audience.
Through clever use of Hopin Sessions, National Student Pride was able to host immersive, engaging experiences like a live podcast recording.
Sheena Carmichael, Senior Producer of National Student Pride, says she didn’t want virtual attendees to feel disconnected. "While we always stream National Student Pride, going virtual this year meant that it was a genuinely interactive experience rather than just a livestream. So, attendees were able to actually get involved instead of just watching what they were missing out on."
Learn more about how National Student Pride amped up their festive atmosphere, and how you can, too.
Virtual stage example #7 NOLAvate Black
New Orleans tech collective NOLAvate Black is dedicated to improving racial equity and inclusion in the tech industry. Their aim? To create accessible pathways into the sector for the Black community. One of NOLAvate Black’s goals is to build a community that fosters meaningful connections, so they hosted a virtual event for a broader reach.
To fulfill Black Tech NOLA's primary goal of bringing people together, Sabrina used Hopin's expo area to connect recruiters with job seekers and others interested in breaking into the tech space.
She also created energizing virtual stages for the 400 attendees. One stage background featured large banners with the event brand and theme displayed. The second stage had the same color of LED lights displayed in a simple, linear fashion that gave off a futuristic feel.
Black Tech NOLA is known for its interactive experiences, so Sabrina leveraged Hopin's community-building and engagement features, including the chat functionality in Sessions and Stages. She also used the platform's one-on-one and group video networking features. Then she partnered with Microsoft to create a virtual reality exhibit.
To maintain Black Tech NOLA’s reputation for incredible speakers and content, Sabrina used Hopin's multi-stage functionality to deliver a packed schedule of more than 100 speakers.
Check out how delivering the goods helped NOLAvate Black break its previous attendance records.
Virtual stage example #8: Sensedia
Application programming interface (API) specialist Sensedia helps enterprise companies reap the benefits of their digital presence by unlocking data, enabling ecosystem-based innovation, and simplifying the journey to a more open, digital, and connected world.
In 2021, Sensedia planned a new, virtual edition of APIX — a conference usually hosted in São Paulo, Brazil — to welcome a larger, global audience. With a new virtual format, they aimed to provide a more accessible and engaging experience for APIX attendees worldwide.
Sponsors used Hopin's virtual expo booths to host interactive sessions and chat directly with attendees. The flexibility of these booths allowed sponsors to host a range of content like pre-recorded videos, live discussions, downloadable content, and keynote presentations.
Sensedia customized the look and feel of the event with its own branding to ensure attendees felt at home. On their main stage, they streamed physical speakers set against a background of beautiful art and screens featured folks involved in the event for an inclusive feel.
To add a dash of novelty, they scheduled a series of relaxing breakout sessions — including stand-up comedy performances and a demo on making the perfect coffee at home — to engage attendees with entertainment.
The stages’ low barriers to entry made it easy for speakers to join from their computers or phones. And each session was tied together with Sensedia branding to complement the main stage’s colors and theme.
To learn more about how Sensedia hosted an event that served attendees from all over, check this out.
Virtual stage example #9: Coda
Users of Coda’s all-in-one document editing software enjoy an integrated experience that allows them to take notes, talk to one another, add tables, and connect to third-party software for added functionality.
They also enjoy Coda’s annual Block Party, launched in 2018, which has become a flagship event for Coda’s community of makers.
One of their event goals was to help creators become confident Coda experts. The team also wanted to create a library of content for their marketing and sales campaigns. To do this, their event offered attendees a shared experience reflecting the immersive feel of Coda’s document editor.
"We customized the expo hall to not really be an expo hall, and we could call it the Makerspace — which really made it feel more like a Coda environment versus a platform we’re plugging your content into,” says Andrew Stinger, Product and Corporate Marketing Lead for Coda. “The fact that the event could have branded locations was really cool."
Thanks to Hopin’s high-production video streaming capabilities, the Coda team delivered outstanding content to attendees. Their stages also leveraged StreamYard’s video graphics functionality by displaying questions for speakers as on-screen banners that prompted folks to answer in real-time.
"StreamYard would make it easy for us internally to continue doing event-based activations even without our production team,” Andrew says. “Based on the training we got, I feel confident actually being the operator for the stream and managing content."
Coda wanted everyone’s experience to be as seamless as possible. To do this, speakers prepped in Hopin’s virtual green room and all their presentations were paired with a corresponding Coda document. Many presenters chose to pre-record their talks, then join for live Q&A sessions powered by Hopin’s audience engagement tools.
To read more about the impressive speakers featured on Coda’s virtual stage, click here
Virtual stage example #10 Hopin’s Company All-Hands Meeting
During Hopin’s weekly all-hands meetings, everyone from the leadership team to individual contributors gathers to share updates and project statuses. With the entire team present, we love to use our integrations like SnapBar, Slido, and other interactive tools to engage our Hopineers.
We want everyone to feel connected, so branding plays a large role. The Internal Communications team created a custom look and feel that’s used in every inch of the Hopin platform to infuse the experience with Hopin pride.
We know putting on an event is stressful enough, and finding the right partner is half the battle. Find out how Hopin helps event planners design virtual event stages that push the limit of their creativity and wow attendees.
If you're curious how these teams, and many others, put on some of the best events, reach out to one of our team members to guide you through the process.