EXp World Holdings, the parent company of eXp Realty, announced Thursday its virtual world subsidiary VirBELA is creating a customizable virtual world for companies to hold events. The move comes as many industries and trade organizations are canceling in-person conferences and looking for alternative solutions due to the threat of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
“The majority of our clients are large corporations and universities who now are looking to host events without the fear of travel or large group settings,” Alex Howland, the founder and president of VirBELA said, in a statement. “Our virtual world is a conduit to help communities emerge, grow and flourish in a way that typically requires travel for face-to-face collaboration.”
“We create an experience that, when people leave, they leave thinking about the people they met, the friendships they deepened, what they learned and the fun they had.”
The customizable virtual world is being created in conjunction with Event Farm, an event engagement platform.
EXp Realty currently operates its brokerage on the VirBELA platform, where agents can hold meetings and attend training sessions. EXp has, in fact, deeply invested in creating a business where many tasks can be managed virtually.
Through eXp Realty, clients can take virtual home tours guided by an agent virtually and hold virtual meetings with clients. The VirBELA-powered cloud campus allows agents to customize office layouts and brand their own suites, all while getting virtual tech support.
Mortgage or refinance applications can be submitted electronically and the company offers a digital closing platform.
An estimated $1 billion has already been lost in the events industry due to widespread cancelations, according to eXp World Holdings and this new offering is aimed at helping companies recoup some of those potential losses while eyeing future savings.
The virtual event space — where companies can host trade shows and other major gatherings — will be powered by VirBELA while Event Farm handles aspects of the virtual world that includes registration, check-in, mobile apps and engagement solutions.
“Think of VirBELA as the all-in-one virtual venue: convention center, stadium, hotel ballroom, break-out rooms,” Howland said. “All that’s needed is the event technology overlay, design experience and audiences that are ready to be engaged in compelling ways, which is where Event Farm comes in and knocks it out of the park.”
Ryan Costello, the founder of Event Farm, said it’s the closest thing he’s seen to replicating a real world event.
“This partnership is not just offering webinars or online video conference calls, we are immersing attendees in a virtual world completely customized for a particular experience,” Costello said.