Virtual Booth: An Interview With Mark Henning

Every now and then, we focus on companies or products that we think will make the small business journey a little easier. Today we are going to focus on something called Virtual Booth. It’s created by Simple Booth and has been designed to make online events more fun and more engaging.

How does it work?

It’s a virtual photo app that you can create from the Simple Booth Dashboard and then share with anyone. If you have a virtual event, you can send a link, a button or a QR code to start the photo experience. Attendees to the event take a photo and then customise it with a background or overlays, then add stickers that have been preselected by the host of the event.

These photos can be used on social media to drive a buzz around your event. Obviously, they can also be used to build engagement for business on social media.

In recent times, online meetings and events have, by necessity, increased in number. Virtual Booth adds to the value you can give attendees and people who engage with your business online.

We took some time out to speak to Mark Henning, CEO and co-founder of Simple Booth.

QTell us a little bit about Virtual Booth and what it does. 

Virtual Booth is an intuitive way to engage an audience to take fun photos for virtual events, marketing campaigns, and more. It’s like your own digital photo app that can be shared as a link, button, or QR code. When a participant opens it, they can take a photo right there, customize it with your selected creative filters, backgrounds and stickers, and then share it with your hashtag.

Q. What problem does this solve for businesses?

It solves three problems for businesses. 

First, for event marketers, how do I generate content that shows our event was a success? When people take photos at your event, Virtual Booth is an easy way to demonstrate they were engaged, which is valuable to both internal stakeholders and to promote future events. Second, how do I add experiential elements to engage attendees? When you cannot interact in-person, your options are much more limited. Event planners need digital solutions like Virtual Booth in their toolbox. Third, and most fundamentally, Virtual Booth is a new way for any business to get social traction with branded photos. Instead of asking people to take a photo and hoping they share it with your hashtag, you can now control the process.

Q. Tell us about the journey. Where did the idea come from?

When the event industry came to a standstill in March, we brought our team together to brainstorm ideas. We asked, how can we make the photo booth experience translate into something that makes sense right now and adds value for the industry?

By the end of the meeting, a web-based photo experience stood at the top of the list. It took several months to build out the idea into a compelling product, complete with brandable elements and visual effects that make it attractive to use.

We wouldn’t have created Virtual Booth if it weren’t for current events. But now that we have it, we see that the use cases for it are endless.

Q. Do you have any general tips for anyone holding an online event?

If you are planning a virtual event, I would encourage you to think of it as a new medium. Trying to force a virtual event into the same look and feel of an in-person event, such as by simulating 3D convention centers or trade shows, can come off as tacky to savvy internet users. Think outside the box and explore what a good digital experience is, not just what in-person events used to be like.

Don’t worry, soon enough, in-person events will be back. We don’t have to be overly nostalgic quite yet!

Q. How have online events changed in the last six months?

Online events have moved from being a quick patch to a permanent part of the event landscape. There are thousands of startups focused on virtual events now, and investor money has poured into them.

Now that there are established frameworks to hosting virtual events, it will be much easier to include them in the event mix. Event planners don’t have to start from scratch every time. Events can have both an in-person and virtual component going forward, which will expand how many people can be part of it, which is beneficial for both planners and attendees.

Thanks to Mark for the interview.

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