While in-person meetings will never go away, virtual and hybrid (in-person combined with virtual) models are becoming more common.
Unique considerations accompany both virtual and hybrid meetings. Which model you select rests on which one will best achieve the goals and objectives of your meeting. Here are some key considerations as you incorporate hybrid and virtual into your event program.
As the world of virtual events is continuously evolving, there are always new tools and better versions of existing ones. As a marketer, it might be difficult for you to keep up with virtual engagement tools and incorporate them into your event marketing strategy.
Knowing each tool in-depth and what sets it apart is essential to make informed decisions. But how do you get there? Fortunately, we are here to help you. We have curated a list of the top 10 virtual event networking tools to help you get the maximum ROI from your next event.
With events going fully-digital in 2020, the prospect of re-introducing the in-person element to events is becoming an exciting (albeit a little scary) reality for planners and marketers. Though people are certainly craving that face-to-face experience, in-person gatherings will be small scale and largely local for the forceable future – and hybrid events with both digital and in-person elements will play an invaluable role in rounding out those experiences.
ResourceOne is the event planning and logistics arm of HelmsBriscoe, the world’s largest meetings procurement and site selection company. With client demand for virtual events still growing, ResourceOne partners with Hubb and their proven, established virtual event platform to help him serve a broad array of clients.
To best serve each client, ResourceOne needs options for how a client’s attendees can interact with each other. Hubb is designed for attendees to tailor virtual events to their needs, so they will remain engaged throughout the event.
There is a lot to video, especially as we move into hybrid events. For virtual attendees, video is how your audience will consume the majority of your event. For your live attendees, unless your event is a networking dinner or gala, the same could be true for them. To help you make the most out of your event’s video content, we created a data sheet with a few different ways you can deploy it to your audience.
A flawless and impactful experience is what every planner wants for their audience. One of the most important factors to deliver this experience is high-quality production. It’s what will give your content a sense of place, a sense of professionalism, a sense that you are experiencing something special. And as we move in to an age of hybrid events, it is also one of the main tools to connect the virtual and in-person audiences.
The evolving event landscape and the rapid shift to hybrid and onsite-only events present event planners with a mix of uncertainty and opportunity. Taking full advantage of the recovery while minimizing the risk of a misstep means shifting skill sets and new talking points in partner-sourcing discussions.
But it has also created a simplicity market wherein the ability for a provider to manage things behind the scenes is a valuable differentiator. In 2020, this resulted in planners leaning heavily on their tech providers to fill the gaps:
To say that the last few months have been a whirlwind would be an understatement. In a matter of days, live events and conferences that had been planned months in advance were suddenly postponed or cancelled. Virtual events became the new normal, and we had to learn how to create effective programs. We navigated through the storm and learned a lot of lessons along the way. One of the most important lessons the event industry learned was that while virtual events certainly have their benefits, live events will always be an important part of any robust event program.
Zoom quickly became the go-to video conferencing platform during Covid-imposed quarantines and work from home orders last year, but event professionals just as quickly realized its limitations and moved to more robust virtual event providers.
That hasn’t stopped Zoom from trying to capitalize on the virtual events market, albeit a bit late. Last October, the company released OnZoom, a virtual event marketplace that was designed to help mainly small businesses and entrepreneurs pivot events like fitness classes and art lessons online and monetize them — à la Eventbrite.
As virtual and hybrid events become the norm, planners are going to need to make data-driven decisions about where to double down, especially when it comes to in-person events that historically did not offer the most efficient or reliable methods for collecting lead information. Virtual events and digital components of hybrid events promise massive reach due to increased access, but this also means more prospects that may have varying levels of interest in the event content.
exVo is relatively unique in the virtual event platform space as it’s an avatar-based 3D platform. It was developed by gamers, and as such it has a distinct video game feel where users join immersive environments and can explore and interact with their surroundings.
exVo was built upon the existing infrastructure of the Allseated floor planning system, which has been around for close to a decade. This means that exVo has access to Allseated’s library of 3D scaled real venues that can be used as backdrops for virtual events, as well as Allseated’s larger catalog of furniture, decor, and objects that planners can use to customize their event.
VR technology has been around for a while now, and although it’s become more accessible to consumers in recent years with all-in-one headsets like the Oculus Quest, it still has yet to become mainstream. One of its most popular uses has historically been gaming, but VR also has many different applications across various industries, including, of course, events.
While the focus in the event industry over the past year hasn’t necessarily been on VR, there have been several notable VR experiences throughout the pandemic that will undoubtedly help propel the industry forward.
The recent explosion of virtual and hybrid event tech has helped the industry through one of the most challenging years it has ever faced, but it has also thrown event planners into unfamiliar territory. Sourcing virtual event platforms and hybrid technology was not the norm until 2020, and it requires at least a basic understanding of the available offerings and features.
With that in mind, here is an extensive glossary of event tech terms to help you make sense of the technology you’re working with.
Hopin announced today that LinkedIn had become an investor in the company, an investment that has come through its oversubscribed Series C secondary round. According to CNBC, LinkedIn purchased under $50 million worth of shares from existing shareholders at the same $5.65 billion valuation.
While $50 million is by no means a small investment, the potential of a Hopin-LinkedIn partnership will undoubtedly raise many more eyebrows in the event industry.
In a scenario all too familiar to event organizers during the pandemic, the Wikimedia Foundation’s annual conference set to meet in Bangkok in 2020 was cancelled and rescheduled for the same venue this year. As the pandemic dragged on, those plans had to be scrapped as well, forcing organizers to announce that Wikimania 2021 would take place on August 13-17 as a virtual event for the first time in its 16-year history.
Far from a disadvantage, Wikimania’s international team of volunteer organizers say the virtual format has the potential to expand the conference’s global reach and blow through time zones and language barriers.
Event professionals across the industry spent much of the last 15 months upskilling as events moved online and production value became a key differentiator. To lessen the burden and respond to market demand, event tech companies upskilled in kind, adding to their standard offerings a level of production support that ranged from dedicated virtual production coordinators to entire virtual production studios in remote venues.
But what becomes of these investments in the wake of rapidly returning in-person events?
The unknown can be a scary thing. I don’t know about you, but there are few things that freak me out more than not knowing how to handle a new situation.
It feels like a decade ago, but think back to when the pandemic first canceled all in-person events. Having to learn everything we could about virtual events and implement them seemed like an impossible task some days.
It’s been almost a year of six-feet separation, nasal swabs, and take-out date nights. That also means we’ve spent nearly 12 months learning everything we can about hosting engaging virtual events that meet our goals.
Raise your hand if that last sentence either made you roll your eyes or let out a huge sigh of disappointment. You’re not alone. The past year has been nothing short of draining.
For creators in the music industry, 2020 was all about agility and adaptability. In the face of canceled or postponed live events, attendees were more hungry for entertainment than ever. Many concerts and festivals responded with online content, but they soon found that bringing the music to people in their homes presented a whole new set of challenges, from technical issues to keeping people engaged.
A business event revolves around its speakers — and speakers thrive when there’s event audience engagement. Audience participation in presentations might seem like something that happens in the moment, but there are techniques and technologies you can employ ahead of time to encourage it. To ensure your speakers aren’t faced with a sea of blank stares and the sound of crickets, create a strategy to maximize audience engagement.
As restrictions on in-person events are being lifted in certain communities, live events are becoming a possibility again — but not everyone will be ready to return to in-person gatherings just yet. Accommodating both the eager-to-socialize and the more cautious attendees can be key to leveling up your event creation game. Hybrid events, which can be enjoyed either in-person or virtually, do just that.
Scrolling through Facebook can be such an easy and fun way to keep in touch with family and friends that we might forget what a powerful tool it can be, especially when it comes time for event marketing. Facebook makes it easy for your event to come up in related event searches, enabling you to further target interested audiences. Not only that, but the site makes it extremely easy for people to share your event with their friends, creating a cascade of potential ticket buyers. And afterward, you can gather all the data to see what promotions worked best.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many creators turned to virtual events to reach their audience. Now, we’re seeing more and more creators incorporate online events into their ongoing business model even as we start returning to live events. There are seemingly limitless options when it comes to livestream and video hosting platforms. You might find yourself asking: Which video hosting platform should I use?
With many event venues beginning to reopen across the country and some restrictions on public gatherings being loosened, you may think it’s time to return to only in-person events and leave the streaming tech behind once and for all. After all, the cameras, microphones, and wiring needed to pull off first-class hybrid and virtual events are just one more thing for you to worry about, right?
Not necessarily. Even as live events return, many audiences will continue to be interested in virtual events, because they usually offer unique experiences.
The abrupt shift to virtual events in 2020 left many event organizers scrambling to tie up loose ends as they figured out how to livestream their events. Now, after a year of planning virtual events, the popularity of these events has been confirmed. That means it’s essential for event planners to understand how to host livestreams, webinars, and other virtual events like a pro. Here’s our readiness checklist to make sure you’re prepared for the expected and the unexpected during your next event.
The road ahead seems promising for the return to live events. After a bleak start to 2020 and an unexpected turn towards digital experiences, vaccination rollout is the light at the end of the tunnel we were all waiting for. Friends and family are already gathering for casual meet-ups, and smaller-scale events are popping up everywhere, signaling that our industry might be ready to make a slow return to its former state – and even achieve higher heights, given that the lessons learned don’t go to waste.
#EventIcons podcast is all about talking to the cream of the events industry and getting to know what they do, how they do it, and what the current event trends are. Today’s guest is somebody with years of experience and a lot of charisma. Meet Kristin Horstman, the senior director at Salesforce!
Together with the rest of the world, she had to make a quick pivot to virtual events last year. Today, she shares with our audiences what she had learned. As a marketing leader, she focuses on marketing virtual events. And since our host Sarah is the head of marketing of Endless Events, the conversation is all the more worth listening to!
Covid has left an undeniable mark on all of us. While much has changed – some good, some bad, and some ugly, the pandemic changed how we have experienced live events. We need to get used to this change as it will only continue to expand over the next few years. So buckle your seatbelts and get ready to experience a different kind of live event FOREVER.
Nearing the end of 2020, the trendy term for the moment was “the new normal.” And although that term was spreading faster than the virus itself, no one had a definitive answer about what that would look like. It seems the new normal is taking shape, and thanks to the latest tech innovations, we can finally re-imagine the future of hybrid and virtual events.