With the Covid-19 pandemic, the way events were held changed. Suddenly, there was no possibility of people gathering in large numbers and, if not cancelled, events became virtual. Now that we are on the other side of the pandemic, most events of the future will be hybrid – consisting of in-person and virtual elements that complement each other for both IRL and the virtual attendees. This new approach will greatly impact how attendance, logistics, and sponsorships are navigated.
Hybrid events will certainly bring unique challenges with them. Event management tech now has to take virtual meetings into account. It is not only the virtual aspect that will face these changes – now, in-person events will also have to consider safety regarding health. The metrics that defined success will also be subjected to change – since the old metrics can no longer be accurate with a new dynamic in place.
While hybrid events will have their challenges, they will also bring opportunities with them. With the addition of virtual meetings, events can now be more personalized. It will also help boost attendance – the people who would have found it difficult to attend in person because of conflicts in their schedule are now more likely to attend a meeting that places equal importance on virtual attendance. The greater emphasis on virtual meeting will also allow for better engagement and more immersive experiences.
With rapid changes in the horizon, here are three things that event marketing tech needs to account for in a hybrid event world:
The Virtual Aspect Matters
Currently, there might be a greater focus on virtual events. But once restrictions are lifted across the nation, there will be a shift to hybrid events instead of solely in-person meetings. People will have the choice of attending the event online. This means that there needs to be a focus on the virtual aspect, even when the core of the event has traditionally been in-person. The virtual aspects of events need to become a priority – since the shift towards online content and online experiences seems to have become the norm.
To make virtual aspect of events a priority means using event technologies that create more integrated and meaningful experiences for the attendees – both online and in person. Live-streaming the in-person event will no longer be enough. This means using technologies that have features that help event producers incorporate digital and non-digital experiences. Without compelling shared experience, the remote attendees will not feel like they are a part of the real world event. And this will lead to event attendee dissatisfaction.
Future Proof Your Event Tech
Currently, there are several platforms that allow events to be conducted virtually. And there are several event technologies that are excellent for real life events. But moving forward, platforms will need to have features that simulate certain in-person events, virtually. Such as, scheduling sales meetings or social plugins that allow for both virtual and IRL introductions. This will require new types of technologies that integrate the event experience pre, during, and post event.
So when looking at the right technology to support your events, it will not only need to support your in person event robustly, but also your virtual event with excellent attendee experience that makes your virtual attendees feel they are in the middle of the action. Imagine a 3 dimensional virtual trade show that mimics the show floor at the actual venue, for example. Maybe VR plays a role in the future of the hybrid event.
Improve Your Technical Production Capabilities
Event marketing team leaders will now need to consider how they can upgrade the technical chops of their event team. With hybrid events, marketing teams face the greater need to have in-house personnel who can manage the virtual production as well as in real life production concurrently and in synchronicity.
Additionally, production requirements will change as event producers themselves will need to be as comfortable with live broadcasting systems as well as theatre production to understand how to create a great hybrid attendee experience.
As the pandemic has shown event managers – things can change overnight. For now, hybrid events will be the future. So having the right team coupled with the right technologies will allow for your events to soar.