There is no doubt that virtual events are here to stay even as in-person events have picked back up. However, virtual trade show platforms have made it more than manageable. Many providers are available, and choosing the right platform can be an ordeal.
Event organizers have to consider all the available options and choose the solution that best suits them. Pricing and available features are important considerations for picking the right platform. If you have decided to host a virtual trade show and are looking for suitable virtual event platforms, here are some of the best options.
10 Best Virtual Trade Show Platforms in 2023
1. vFairs – 2023’s Best Virtual Trade Show Platform
vFairs is one of the best virtual event platforms and offers multiple solutions and event types. Whether you are looking for a platform for a trade show, a job fair, networking events, and conferences, it has what you need. You can use the platform to create immersive event lobbies with great networking features like chat rooms, roundtables, and smart matchmaking. In addition, the platform is one of the few that offers excellent solutions for hybrid and virtual events.
According to the G2 Fall 2023 report, vFairs has been awarded as the Leader in the Virtual Event Platforms category! Speaking specifically about virtual trade shows, vFairs offers fantastic layouts for exhibit halls that make up for an immersive experience. vFairs virtual trade shows are the best way for businesses to meet potential customers.
vFairs: Key Features
Interactive Exhibit Booths
The exhibit hall is the most critical area of any virtual trade show, as this is where most customer interactions happen. vFairs offers different styles for exhibit halls and booths that exhibitors can choose to showcase their services and products. The platform allows customers to look through product catalogs and place their orders within the booth. In addition, they can engage with potential customers, link to their website pages, and collect business cards from potential customers.
Attendee Engagement Tools
vFairs offers attendee engagement tools that ensure businesses get the most out of their exhibit booths. For example, exhibitors can connect with customers through voice, video, and text chat options. In addition, gamification tools like scavenger hunts, trivia quizzes, and leaderboards can boost attendee engagement.
The platform offers an excellent level of personalization for each event. From the main lobby to each exhibit hall booth layout, event organizers get to choose what they want. Moreover, you can add different features to your event halls, welcome videos, custom-designed 3D event lobbies, and gamification tools.
Live and Semi-Live Events
Event organizers can host various live and semi-live keynote speaker events and Q&A sessions. As a result, they can increase event attendance and engagement and keep everyone informed of the latest event happenings.
Live Reporting Tools
vFairs offers event data that gets updated in real-time. For example, event organizers can see how many online attendees and exhibitors, the total number of logins and registrations, attendee activity, etc.
Attendee Search Filter
vFairs lets exhibitors and event hosts search for relevant attendees with the attendee search tool. Attendees can look through relevant keywords such as company name, attendee name, email, or designation, and exhibitors can quickly find a list of attendees to network with.
Mobile Event App
The highly engaging vFairs mobile event app is available for Android and iOS devices. The mobile app gives users access to the same event features – but it happens on the go. Event attendees can join webinars, visit vendor booths, and interact with media through the app.
The backend of the vFairs platform offers excellent features and event organizers can log in as an admin to explore them. The User Journey helps organizers track user behavior throughout the virtual trade show. For example, admins can search for an attendee profile, check out their number of log-ins and the booths they visited, and follow their tracks.
You can get a custom quote by scheduling a detailed demo with one of vFairs’s experts. You can contact vFairs here.
Pros & Cons
- “The best part of the vFairs platform is the combination of access to DIY controls and partnering with a Project Manager for personalized assistance. We had both helping hands to guide us along, and the ability to make edits on the fly.” – Jennifer R. – Communications Consultant
- “vFairs was the best fit for our annual trade show/expo. We reviewed several platforms, and nothing else could provide this fantastic presentation and experience.” – Norma M. – National Event Manager
- “Swag bags are a great idea for downloadable material.” – Ben T. – Director
- “Setting up and designing booths for a virtual trade fair. It was quite a great activity and the outcome was awesome. The booths looked very real and beautiful” – Angele M. – UI/UX Design for OER platforms
- “Uploading images to booths was a little glitchy in some cases.” – Ben T. – Director
Brella is an option for businesses that want to develop a personal connection with their potential customers. Virtual trade shows are about networking with potential customers and sealing the deal. Brella has some networking tools and virtual event features that can help bring businesses and customers together. However, the networking features aren’t the most immersive compared to other event platforms like vFairs.
Brella: Key Features
Brella provides a virtual booth that exhibitors and sponsors can use to collect leads, display their brand and engage prospects. They can also use multimedia content interactive integration features like polls, chats, etc. Virtual booths are customizable with PDFs, Google slides, videos, quizzes etc. However, the Brella virtual booths lack the 3D virtual component.
The virtual event platform offers solutions for AI-powered matchmaking and the ability to create 1:1 meetings between attendees and exhibitors. As a result, vendors can filter attendees by their buying intent and network with those interested in their products. In addition, the 1:1 meetings can bring potential buyers and business reps a step closer to closing the deal. The platform, however, doesn’t offer much for the natural following stages of customer acquisition.
Brella offers an online marketplace to event organizers to drive more revenue, boost ROI, and engage event attendees. The microsites are optimized for conversion but lack the personality of a 3D virtual environment.
The virtual trade show platform allows attendees and vendors to schedule meetings through a meeting board. Exhibitors can schedule one-on-ones with qualified leads without any back and forth with the meeting scheduler. It automatically highlights and finds mutually available times for easy scheduling. While it can make event attendees’ and organizers’ lives easier, it isn’t a unique feature.
Space for Sponsors
Sponsors are essential stakeholders for any event, virtual or otherwise. Brella allows event organizers to book space for virtual trade show sponsors within the event. They can also host sponsor events to drive attendee engagement and traffic to their booths.
Brella offers a custom pricing model that you can find out by contacting them directly.
Pros & Cons
Here’s what users had to say about Brella:
- “It is easy to set up and only takes a couple of days.” – Kristoffer L. – CEO
- “Brella is a one-of-a-kind tool to enable networking in your events among the attendees.” – Nivas R. – City Leader – Chennai & Bangalore
- “It is an exceptional platform, but it lacks intuition and sometimes its use tends to be frustrating, adding that it does not contain a free system to get to know it a little and be sure that you want to buy it.” – Amelia g. – Senior Software Engineering
- “I wish there were more customizable features, especially on the home screen. It would also be great to be able to send out custom emails within the platform.” – Heather T. – Project Assistant
- “The interface is only in English and that a sponsor needs to have “root access” in order to modify their booth.” – Bea J. – Tarugoconf manager
Webex is a virtual event platform that offers end-to-end functionality and support for event organizers. The virtual event platform provides support throughout the event for hosts, event attendees, event marketers, and exhibitors. Webex supports live and on-demand streaming and offers some third-party integrations as well. However, Webex users report issues with in-event polls and a difficult-to-use interface.
Webex: Key Features
Event organizers can bring like-minded attendees together through event communities. The communities can have exclusive content that drives discourse, boost topic-based discussions, and keep the audience engaged. However, there are limited ways to join communities, and recording the meetings for later use is also tricky.
The fully customizable mobile app allows attendees to log in to the event on their mobile devices. The mobile app is intuitive and provides access to all resources on the go. Mobile attendance can boost engagement, but the mobile app leaves much to be wanted. Users say that the experience isn’t as immersive as the web platform and all functions aren’t available on iOS devices.
Webex allows event organizers to customize their event colors, branding, and layout. The platform offers a few templates and options screens, but the aesthetics have room for improvement.
Engagement & Networking
Participants can communicate ideas, opinions, and resources during WebEx trade shows to boost event engagement. You can also provide your participants with a social feed that serves as the event’s unique personal social media platform and allows them to post images, exchange comments, and participate in conversation threads.
There are additional native tools like session chat, Q&A, polling, etc. Users complain, however, that the networking capabilities are not configurable because they are unable to eliminate particular aspects based on the audience’s individuality.
The WebEx pricing is not available publicly. You can request the pricing by contacting them through their website.
Pros & Cons
- “My favorite part is the ability to truly modify the visuals to make it look branded and cohesive to the event you’re creating.” – Michele B. – Customer Experience Manager
- “It’s truly amazing how interactive this platform is for the participants.” – Haylie T. – Learning and Development Coordinator
- “As the features expand, the product is starting to push past our budget range.” – Susan H. – Marketing & Digital Design Coordinator
- “On the technical side, customizations can take a long time.” – Jodi H. – Development Director
- “Our company is currently using the WebEx events app for our trade show. The mapping feature is not my favorite for the trade show booths. You have to upload the floorplan and make each booth a zone.” – Administrator in Transportation/Trucking/Railroad
HexaFair is another virtual event platform that offers networking and integration tools for hosting virtual trade shows. Unfortunately, the platform doesn’t provide many exhibitors who want to arrange live demos with the attendees. However, chat options and the attendee directory feature can help with networking.
HexaFair: Key Features
Pre-Recorded Demos and Sessions
The platform doesn’t offer support for live demos within booths, but exhibitors can record their sessions for the attendees. When an attendee visits a booth, they can watch the pre-recorded video and then leave any questions they may have about it. Attendees can also leave their business cards for further discussion.
The Teleport navigation tool can get attendees to a particular booth without having to scroll through it all. While this can improve the attendee experience, it reduces their chances of finding something valuable that they weren’t looking for in the first place.
With HexaFair, exhibitors may control all booth activity, particularly booth leads. You can scale your events easily on the go for better booth sales & audience participation. You can also make a list of the things exhibitors need to do in order to finish their onboarding and responsibilities. However, as per user reviews, there is not much scope for booth customizations.
One of the benefits of holding a virtual trade show with HexaFair is that buyers may arrange one-on-one encounters with sellers. The integrated meeting calendar enables more efficient scheduling and fruitful interactions. However, this is not a unique feature as many competitors offer it.
HexaFair offers three different pricing models:
- Starter ($249 USD per month): For small engaging events, fairs, training sessions
- Business ($699 USD per month): For events and fairs with interactive booths
- Pro: For large virtual and hybrid conferences, events and tradeshows.
You can reach out to HexaFair team for more pricing details.
Pros & Cons
- “The platform is very easy to set up.” – Rekha N. – Content Specialist | Video Creator | Designer
- “Excellent customer and technical support from HexaFair team.” – Refiloe M. – Editor
- “The user interface and user experience still has room for improvement.” – Zauriel T. – Organizing Team
- “It wasn’t compatible with many devices which it must considerating the natural use case of the software.” – Mayank A. – Co-ordinator
- “No Facebook or Youtube Live Streams can be embedded.” – Martin S. – Managing Director
SpotMe offers solutions for small-scale events like webinars or elaborate events like virtual trade shows. The virtual event platform offers customization of your event through presets and templates. You can add logos and brand colors, but a custom design is where it could get complicated for some users.
SpotMe: Key Features
The platform offers some basic exhibitor and attendee engagement tools like Q&A sessions, polls, and other networking tools. The attendees can visit different booths, tune in to live webinars and network with the brands they’re most interested in. Adding more advanced immersive engagement tools can add value to the platform.
The event builder tool can help event organizers build the entire event from the platform’s backend. It offers complete customization of colors, branding space for hosts and sponsors, and templates for designs and layouts. However, the need for a dedicated project manager can make navigating the backend challenging.
SpotMe offers mobile-friendly events; attendees can also tune in through their mobile devices with an app. This can increase engagement, more logins, and boost reach to a more significant number of people. Building a fully customizable and white-labeled event app can be a costly solution, though.
SpotMe offers four different pricing models:
- Starter (Up to 2 virtual, hybrid or in-person events)
- Business (Up to 5 virtual, hybrid or in-person events)
- Advanced (Up to 25 virtual, hybrid or in-person events)
- Enterprise (Custom plan)
You can reach out to them for additional pricing details.
Pros & Cons
- “The staff were incredibly helpful and would always work to implement requests.” – Agency in Medical Practice
- “SpotMe is dedicated to hosting great interactive events.” – Henry H. – Managing Director
- “The administrator side is absolutely nauseating to learn, navigate, and manage.” – Megan M. – Industry Marketing Specialist.
- “I think customization could be more user-led, sometimes I think that the back and forth with the designer could be streamlined if users were allowed to make changes/upload information themselves.” – Administrator in Think Tanks
- “I would recommend the account management team have much closer contact with us to make us aware of exactly what services you offer.” – Verified User in Pharmaceuticals
Accelevents offers a range of networking tools and third-party integrations to help event organizers arrange a virtual trade show. The attendees can interact with exhibitors through text and video chat options, leave their business cards at booths, and download available content. In addition, exhibitors can post demos, link to their websites, and customize their booths.
Accelevents: Key Features
This virtual event platform has live-streaming capabilities. Exhibitors and event hosts can live-stream welcome videos and demos, make important announcements, host live talks, and conduct webinars. The platform, however, can be glitchy at times and users have had issues with studio and speaker features.
The platform offers third-party integrations like CRM, social media channels, email marketing tools, live streaming tools, etc., to enhance capabilities.
Accelevents also offers a live poll within the virtual event platform to gauge attendee engagement and boost participation. The in-event polls can also help keynote speakers, event organizers, and exhibitors. However, some users have reported needing help with post-event poll and survey data management because of duplicate entries.
For attendees, Accelevents also provides networking opportunities, enhancing the experience. With the use of a dedicated live stream, promotional movies, downloadable materials, and 1:1 conversation, you can engage participants directly in your booth and turn them into prospective customers. Although networking is an advantage, the Accelevents learning curve is steep if you have not used this kind of software before.
Accelevents offers four different pricing models;
- Starter: $500/event
- Professional: $5,000/event
- Scale: $125/month
- Enterprise: $1,250/month
You can contact them for additional pricing details.
Pros & Cons
- “There are opportunities to customize just about every part of the experience to make it 100% your event.” – Mary-Beth S. – Virtual Assistant
- “We’ve felt great support from everyone at Accelevents.” – Andrew E – CMO
- “The mobile app could use some more of the features that the desktop version has.” Rich B. – Owner, Host
- “We have the Enterprise level plan, so you do get a dedicated resource for initial training and to get you started, but after that you are pretty much on your own to figure things out.” – Nick B. – Director of Marketing Strategy
- “The learning curve is steep if you have not used this kind of software before.” – Bruce L. – Vice President-Publisher
Whova markets its virtual expos and trade shows as its top solution and might not be the best choice for all your events. Event organizers can control the layout and design of the event with customizable booths, event colors, and branding. In addition, it offers some essential event marketing tools and an online registration feature. However, they don’t offer chat moderation tools or dedicated tech support.
Whova: Key Features
Custom Digital Booths
The custom digital booths provided by Whova showcase sponsors and exhibitors. Attendees can discover more about companies by reading the content displayed in each booth. However, Whova interface is a bit outdated and it doesn’t offer a 3D virtual booth like vFairs.
Whova offers audience engagement tools so that the attendees are present and participating. For example, your event can have live Q&A sessions with speakers, in-event polls, social media walls, and other gamification elements. However, the leaderboard can sometimes create unnecessary notifications.
The virtual event platform also offers a community board that boosts discussions. The attendees can use this board to chat with each other and discuss mutual interest topics for effective networking. But unfortunately, the community board can generate a lot of push notifications for new posts and user activity which can get annoying.
Event analytics tools can offer insights for event organizers. Following what the analytics show, organizers can make future virtual trade shows even better. The analytics can be complicated and the platform doesn’t offer a dedicated project manager like vFairs to help you out.
The Whova pricing depends on various factors like event type, size and features required etc. You can contact them on their website for a quote.
Pros & Cons
- “Easy to trackdown and message attendees before, during and after the event – easy to keep track of the daily agenda.” – Marc B. – Research Analyst
- “Whova is incredibly intuitive and easy to use.” – Michelle S. – Executive Director
- “The interface feels a little outdated, and I couldn’t send notifications from my iPad or iPhone.” – Linden T. – Executive Director
- “The feature to scan business cards does not work so well.” – Ivette M. – Attorney-at-Law
- “Does not seem too friendly for the consumer as a user, only for the administrators. The app lacked basic functions like a quick sign-up for events.” – Luis P. – eCommerce Lead
6Connex is an event platform for hybrid, virtual, and in-person events. 6Connex is a quick solution for hosting virtual trade shows that don’t involve a lot of technicalities. It is a simple virtual event platform that covers the basics and may not have everything you want.
6Connex: Key Features
The platform’s leaderboard feature allows event hosts to boost attendee engagement. Each activity, like a login, attending a webinar, or visiting a booth, warrants points. In addition, platforms like vFairs offer various gamification tools to create a more immersive experience for attendees.
Branded Exhibit Booths
The virtual event platform has a virtual environment where the attendees can visit different booths. The exhibit booths are customizable, and exhibitors can brand them however they want. In addition, improvements in the interface can make the attendees feel like they’re roaming around an actual exhibit hall.
The event platform also offers some networking tools for attendees and exhibitors. The primary purpose of a virtual trade show is to enable attendee and exhibitor interactions. However, the platform does not offer video interactions or video discussion rooms. Exhibitors can only text potential clients.
6Connex pricing model is as follows:
- Launch Eventory – Starting at $3,000.00 with one-time purchase
- Launch Immersive – Starting at $12,500.00 with one-time purchase
- Rise – 1 License Per Year
- Soar – 5 License Per Year
You can contact them on their website for advanced pricing.
Pros & Cons
- “The dedicated 6Connex contact was so helpful and always on hand for any queries.” – Stacey J. – Event Manager
- “The ability to customize the environment is great.” – Grace G. – Sr. Manager of Global Benefits Strategy, Experience, & Delivery
- “The platform is not responsive across variable screen sizes.” – Lilian M. – Consulting Work
- “It is on the higher end of cost for virtual platforms, especially if you are only planning to utilize the platform for one event during your annual subscription.” – Administrator in Philanthropy
- “The back end of the system is a bit bulky with multiple layers, but once you navigate a bit and get familiar, it is intuitive. It can be a lot to absorb initially for new users.” – Scott C. – Manager, Digital Support
Hopin can help you set up a virtual trade show with vendors, exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees. The virtual event platform supports various third-party integrations and RTMP streams, and you can also set up pre-recorded videos and demos. However, their packages can be on the pricier side.
Hopin: Key Features
Email Marketing Tools
The virtual event platform can also help event organizers market their virtual trade shows. The built-in email marketing tool allows you to customize and send out emails. In addition, you can automate and schedule emails whenever you want. Unfortunately, the tool has to be set up from the backend, which can be challenging to figure out independently.
A Hopin virtual trade show can have a virtual experience that includes webcasting, customizable event lobbies, chat rooms, and exhibit halls. However, the visual templates can look dated and don’t offer immersive networking opportunities.
It offers 1:1 meeting opportunities between attendees and vendors for networking. Attendees feel more engaged due to interactive content, social media walls, and polls. However, you can improve the reporting tools for attendee engagement.
Hopin offers four different pricing packages that are:
- Free ($0/month) *they will start charging based on additional users past 100.
- Starter ($99/month)
- Growth ($799/month)
- Advanced Plan (You can contact them for advanced pricing plans)
Pros & Cons
- “The platform provides all the different options for different needs – a fully pre-recorded event, a mix of live and recorded videos, multiple live speakers, and so on.” – Agnes G. – Senior Product Marketing Specialist
- “I like the platform and the way people can navigate around the different virtual areas.” Nat O. – Co Production and Engagement lead
- “The Salesforce integration has been SUCH A PAIN. It doesn’t work and our admin is having to do manual uploading.” – Anna C.
- “There is a significant learning curve for administrators setting up the platform for an event.” – Nia G. – Program Coordinator
- “One of the downsides is the fact you are limited to your attendee numbers.” – Katie J. – VP of Operations
ON24 is built with marketers in mind and offers event marketing tools. However, they focus more on providing conference and webinar solutions than trade shows. Here are some event features, engagement tools, and integrations it offers.
ON24: Key Features
The virtual event platform allows your virtual trade show customization and you can design as you like. Once event organizers get their way around the complicated user interface, they can add tools like live polls, live Q&A sessions, gamification features, and surveys.
The virtual event platform offers tools within your virtual trade show to get you leads. For example, the booths can have customizable buttons that allow attendees to request demos, start a chat, or book meetings.
The virtual event platform allows event organizers to design and build a customizable virtual lobby. So, you can design an event lobby that sets your event apart from others and allows for a more immersive experience. However, as the platform doesn’t offer a fully responsible and dedicated project manager, it can be hard to navigate through technical difficulties.
You can request a quote by contacting ON24 on their website.
Pros & Cons
- “It is very user-friendly and easy to navigate.” – Antonio L. – Customer Training Manager
- “From a technical standpoint, ON24 is smooth to operate even for beginners.” – Guillaume D. – Marketing Manager
- “It does not give enough flexibility to customize and sometimes goes down.” – Aditya C – Customer Success Manager
- “ON24 is great, and as a whole we don’t have issues, but we do struggle with some of the reporting features.” – Sydney S – Content Developer
- “Support is really slow to respond.” – Verified User in Information Technology and Services
The above list of virtual trade show platforms can help narrow your search for the best platform for your next event. Make sure you read reviews, note down your requirements, and review the available features on these platforms. An informed decision is usually the right decision so make sure you do your research.
vFairs is an all-in-one solution for a virtual trade show. It offers stunning 3D designs along with custom layouts for branded booths. You can join in anywhere through the mobile app. Lastly, live chat tools, 1:1 text, audio and video chat ensure maximum interaction between visitors and exhibitors. Contact us today to start planning your next virtual trade show!
How Do Virtual Trade Shows Work?
Virtual trade shows have interactive features like live chat, chat rooms, one-on-one or group video calls, Q&A, live or on-demand webinars, webcasts, lucky draws, and more that allow exhibitors and attendees to talk to each other directly.
How Do You Plan a Virtual Trade Show?
The primary step in planning a virtual trade show is finding the appropriate event software to help you achieve your objectives and maintain open lines of communication with exhibitors. You may create a virtual trade show with increased accessibility for attendees that feeds the sales pipeline for yourself and exhibitors using a virtual trade show platform.
What Are the Advantages of a Virtual Trade Show?
Virtual trade shows are highly beneficial since they are accessible from anywhere, at any time, and there is no need for costly rental or travel expenditures. Furthermore, virtual trade shows allow you to access more prospective clients than traditional trade shows.
What Are the Disadvantages of a Virtual Trade Show?
One disadvantage to a virtual trade show is that they are not very personal. You don’t get the one-on-one interaction with potential customers that you do at in-person trade shows where you get to speak to each interested person.
Why is a Platform Required to Host a Virtual Trade Show?
A virtual trade show platform can be incredibly advantageous to businesses in various ways. For starters, it can assist companies in scaling their events by exposing them to a global audience. It also increases the visibility of their products and services. Lastly, it can give firms helpful marketing resources and assistance in tracking and measuring the success of their events.