Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve seen a massive pivot to virtual events. Now, as many events are starting to be held in person again, some people are still not comfortable or cannot attend due to geographic restrictions. This has led many organizations to get creative and host hybrid events to accommodate both in-person and virtual attendees.
Although this type of event first became common during the pandemic, it is likely to remain popular because of the convenience and inclusion of attendees from any geographic location. If you’ve held any virtual events during the pandemic, you are in a great position to start planning successful hybrid events.
Many associations host engaging events for their members such as annual conferences, trade shows, and expositions. While the nature of these gatherings has historically been in-person, many organizations have turned to virtual offerings in the past year or so to continue engaging with their members from afar.
Now, in-person gatherings are beginning to pop up once again. Yet many association event planners are hesitant to move away from the virtual engagement model that they’ve come to appreciate. Luckily, there’s an easy solution: hybrid events!
I’ve collected all this attendee data, now what? We take a deep dive into evaluating these results in order to measure your event’s success.
HOW TO EFFECTIVELY UTILIZE ATTENDEE DATA
When attendees register for and attend an event, there are a multitude of touch points that occur that can provide a plethora of insights at your fingertips. Surveys, registration data, mobile app analytics, session scanning, live polling, lead retrieval, social media, and more! Not to mention internal data your company may already have.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies ramped up their virtual events to replace in-person conferences. However, now that the return of in-person events is on the horizon, continuing to drive attendance to those events is not as simple.
Aspects of digital events are still expected to generate leads, prospects, and revenue pipelines to help your business grow, and event strategists must be flexible enough to adjust strategies and plans when something is not working the way it was meant to work.
When your team is making the choice between virtual and in-person events, there are many factors to consider. COVID-19 is an omnipresent risk that affects your potential attendees’ behaviors. Uncertain travel restrictions and potential cancellations are a cost-intensive headache. Even your attendees’ motivations change depending on whether an event is in-person or virtual.
According to Drift, “almost three-fourths of virtual attendees said learning was their main goal, compared to less than 10% who specified networking as their top priority.”
Event marketing has always been an effective method for attracting and retaining customers. According to Jobs In Marketing, at least 31% of marketers consider events the most effective marketing channel for their businesses, and 52% of business leaders named event marketing the biggest ROI driver. However, a lot has changed recently, making it more important than ever that marketers are quick to catch up.
The past 18 months have made quite an impact on the present and future of events, resulting in new methods and preferences for improving guest experiences, one of the most important aspects being technology.
Virtual events have increased in popularity, particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic.
As we all know, Zoom has been a dominant player in the virtual event industry, with their stock peaking at almost $560 in October 2020, up nearly tenfold from the year before. Of course, Zoom wasn’t the only company to benefit. Many others, including 6Connex, also saw 1,000% increases in virtual events on their own platforms.
Hosting a virtual event is no joke. When you’re hosting a live event where people can jump in and out as they please, a celebrity face might help in maintaining a person’s attention span, but interactions with the audience are much more sustainable.
Event technology trends are continuously adapting. Those that adopt the most recent advancements often have a competitive advantage. In fact, studies have shown that event technology can increase in-person attendance by up to 20% and technology is an integral part of the events world.
But with so many new and emerging technologies, how do you make the right choice for your event that is going to benefit everyone?
Virtual conferences offer planners and marketers a way to connect with a broader audience, often leading to higher registration numbers than in-person events as travel and cost are no longer burdens attendees must bear. In our new normal, virtual events have taken over. According to a survey conducted by PCMA, 79% of event planners are going virtual. With this event type comes a new way of thinking and planning an event. It takes cross-functional teams that include planning, marketing, IT, and digital, as well as reimagining content that engages attendees from home. So, what does it take to plan a virtual conference?
It goes without saying that the last year has been…long. And yet it also seems only yesterday that pots were being banged at 7 p.m. and Italian tenors were singing “Nessun Dorma” to their apartment blocks in lockdown. Time has been particularly elastic in the last year, and (meaning no disrespect to those that have lost or suffered) that’s been particularly the case in the #eventtech space, where more innovation in digital and hybrid events has come in the last year than in quite some time. I often get asked if I think that pace will continue. Let’s look at history to find clues to our future.
We live in a hybrid world, filled with integrated experiences that blend the physical and digital. But the events industry has struggled to keep up with the change. Event management software wasn’t purpose-built for connected experiences, which has left event organizers unable to produce events that live up to their visions.
The resulting gap is what we call the Event Impact Gap™ — the chasm between what event leaders aim to achieve and what event technology enables them to do.
Before the pandemic, virtual and hybrid events were less common –– especially as the high-production, immersive experiences they’ve now come to be. They were largely designed to attract future in-person attendees while adding an element of innovation.
The steady development of these formats –– and the technology to support them –– has now accelerated. Their benefits have also come into focus: wider reach, more inclusivity, and increased sustainability –– just to name a few.
The last couple of years has forced event organizers to shift their strategies from in-person to virtual events. But it’s unfortunately been a challenge. Shifting attendee expectations and new protocols have made it difficult to manage event planning and prove ROI.
Thankfully, the quick emergence of virtual events has birthed innovative and creative methods to level up attendee engagement and provide immersive virtual experiences.
The events industry is shaking off a tumultuous last year and a half and taking with it many lessons learned. In 2020, event pros learned that the virtual component of events isn’t going anywhere, especially when tools like virtual event apps can help bring together in-person and virtual attendees through hybrid events.
Attendees no longer have to choose between attending an in-person event or not attending at all. In fact, with the emergence of virtual event technology, attendees can be present at an event from anywhere in the world!
Hybrid events have become a new industry favorite—they merge the community benefits of in-person events with the expansive reach and safer environment virtual events provide.
Though hybrid events are exciting and rewarding, they still pose some unique challenges for event managers. This article will discuss some of these difficult challenges and provide solutions for how to overcome them. Learn how to simplify and power your hybrid event planning, and delight attendees with memorable experiences
With many event venues reopening across the country and some restrictions on public gatherings loosened, you may think it’s time to return to hosting 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 with in-person events on the calendar again, many audiences will continue to be interested in virtual events because they usually offer unique experiences.
With the world slowly making its way out of lockdown, we’re seeing the return of public events, conferences and festivals. While event apps have existed before the pandemic, we could see them become more popular and essential in the coming years. Event apps not only benefit the attendee during the event but also the organizer as they can glean useful post-event insights.
Since the introduction of apps, they have revolutionized how we communicate, entertain and learn. An i-Verve report shared that 60% of event planners believe that event apps provide a boost to attendee engagement.
When planning a virtual or hybrid event, it’s imperative to understand how virtual attendees differ from in-person attendees – or, more specifically, how their engagement differs.
During an in-person event, engagement is almost guaranteed; attendees are locked into their day-to-day schedule and are fully immersed in the event as a matter of course. But when an event goes completely or partially virtual, new digital engagement strategies are necessary to maximise attendee engagement.
As life starts to open up, now is a great time to start focusing on attendee engagement in your live events. Developing ways to engage your audience and increase audience participation can give everyone the connection that they’ve been missing. And that is just as true of virtual and hybrid events as it is for in-person offerings.
Nowadays, you don’t need to rely on cheers and claps. Instead, you can use audience participation software to enable guests to interact with your event format.
Take a moment to think about the most fun you’ve ever had at an event. What made the experience so memorable? Chances are this event stuck out in your mind because you had fun. (Really, it’s that simple!)Creating an engaging attendee experience starts with getting attendees excited to participate and return year after year.
The key to creating a memorable meeting is to make activities interactive and exciting.
We see a lot of information on the internet at the moment about virtual event engagement. We all know engagement is so important for the success of any event and it is no different at a virtual conference.
As a company, we run 100s of full virtual conferences a year. From July-December last year, we had over 160,000 Delegates attend over 250 Conferences on our Platform (majority of these conferences are multi-day, multi-stream events). We had over 91 million live stream minutes viewed so we learned a lot about how great events keep their Delegates engaged.
Event technology is evolving faster than ever before—and for good reason. Today, 90% of event professionals agree that technology can have a positive impact on the success of their events. With the rise of virtual events and hybrid events, many teams recognize that the right tech solutions can take their event experience to a whole new level. In fact, one study even found that event technology can increase event attendance by 20 percent and productivity by 27 percent.
At the start of the pandemic, many planners didn’t know where to turn to when their in-person events were postponed and later cancelled. If planners didn’t cancel or postpone their events they relied on Zoom or other webinar technology. It soon became clear, however, that the event industry would need to harness more robust tools and allocate more resources to creating engaging digital conferences, trainings, trade shows, and the like.
Four out of five MeetingPlay clients report engagement as a top challenge for virtual events — but that’s only because they haven’t yet read our new guide to virtual event engagement. In this comprehensive, fun-to-read e-book, you’ll learn why engagement matters, break down the four types that are critical to implement in your virtual events, and get inspired by examples and ideas you can implement for your own virtual events right now. Before you download, here’s a preview of what’s inside.