People attend a virtual trade show.

Online events aren’t new but converting a large expo into a remote event is fairly novel. Trade shows, fairs, and conferences on down to annual meetings are all happening digitally.

Attending virtual trade shows is a new reality for most. And while the playbook on this topic has yet to be written, many organizations are getting creative when it comes to planning their events. Bottom line – virtual trade show are still very much trade shows. These are the top five reasons why you shouldn’t shy away from attending one this year.

1. Extra one-on-one time with vendors

One of the more obvious perks of attending a virtual trade show is the elimination of crowds.  No longer will you have to bump shoulders with hundreds of other show attendees or patiently wait in line to speak to a vendor. Instead, the experience is quite the opposite.

You can attend the show from the comfort of your home or office and get extra one-on-one time with the vendors and service providers you actually want to speak with.  That additional time lets you have more productive conversations and gives you the chance to have all of your questions answered uninterrupted. Many virtual exposes are open 24/7 allowing you to visit with exhibitors representing dozens of commercial leaders in the industry, as well as leading national associations and several key IRS offices. The option to download information and resources from each booth is also available.

2. Free CE & CFP credits

As an attendee, you can earn continuing professional education (CPE) credits for all events that qualify. Virtual or not, many industry trade shows offer the opportunity for tax professionals of every level to get Continuing Education (CE) credits and Certified Financial Planner (CFP) credits – and at no additional cost. You can also get insight into the latest tax law changes, edits to the IRS forms, and much more.

Many organizations are offering downloadable handouts that contain supplemental information for each of their CE sessions. The option to order a printed textbook when you register is also available. If you purchase a textbook, it will be mailed to you prior to the event.

3. On-demand sessions

Many virtual event registrations include access to all sessions that are streamed live and available on-demand after the event concludes. That means if you can’t attend a live stream, you can still view the content at a later time. When attending a trade show in-person, it’s impossible to attend all of the seminars. Going virtual gives you the option to view each of the sessions whenever it’s most convenient for you.

4. Expanded attendee list

A common frustration with in-person trade shows is that not all registrants can attend each workshop or session. Due to room capacity constraints, the workshops tend to fill up fairly quickly.

With virtual events, that capacity constraint is no longer a concern. Being online grants attendees unlimited access – meaning you can now attend the workshops you are most interested in without worrying about being too late to register.

5. Unique ways to interact

You likely already access webinars and spend a great deal of time online, so switching to a virtual event isn’t a big jump. But some organizations are developing new ways to increase engagement throughout the event. Moving to an online experience means adding new benefits – and, hopefully, even more value. To do that, however, many groups are using technology to deliver an experience that is similar to that of a traditional trade show.

For instance, event teams are facilitating live Q&A sessions through different social tools. Discussions are held within a social stream to allow speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and the event team to chime in on conversations happening between attendees. Many of those streams also allow you the option to submit a question or contribute to the conversation anonymously.

Find the TaxAct Professional team at these virtual events this summer: