Virtual and Hybrid Event Solutions enable planners to expand their audience base, promote inclusivity, boost revenue, and track crucial user data.
In the past, event planners were in agreement that in-person connections were the most powerful component of an event. The pandemic, however, turned this premise on its head. Real-time events and conferences that had been in the pipeline for months were abruptly cancelled. It became impossible to bring people together in the same space.
The show, however, had to go on. The event management industry navigated the storm, learnt some valuable lessons, and rose to the challenge by adopting virtual and hybrid event platforms to meet the demands of a fast-changing event planning landscape.
The virtual and hybrid event industry has witnessed an unprecedented boom in the last year. It has enabled planners to expand their audience base, promote inclusivity, boost revenue, and track crucial data about their users.
But with more and more virtual event platforms rolling into the market, making the right purchase decision has become a complicated process. There are many aspects to consider while selecting a hosting platform that fits the bill perfectly for you. In this blog, we’ll look under the hood to understand what a virtual event experience is like and what key features make a platform a success.
What are Virtual and Hybrid Events?
Let’s first decode what Virtual and Hybrid Events stand for.
- Virtual event: It is hosted online, where people interact in a virtual environment using live video streaming. Activities like content sharing, networking, breakout rooms, and exhibitor booths all happen in the e-space. Examples of virtual events include webinars, team meetings, study groups, and executive panels.
- Hybrid event: They are a mix of live and virtual events. Enterprises add a virtual component to their live event, enabling their audience to participate and engage in the event from any location. A hybrid event seamlessly integrates technology to facilitate participation between a live and virtual gathering of people, bringing them both on the same platform. Examples of hybrid events include sales kick-offs, global town-halls, conferences and tradeshows, dealer meets, and product demos.
What makes a Hybrid Event Platform Perfect: Key Features to Consider
Although conducting live events will remain an integral part of any robust event program, the event management industry has learned that virtual events come with their own unique benefits.
Also, while eventualities like the pandemic may leave virtual events as the only go-to option, Hybrid events – that bring together the best of both worlds – are gaining huge traction among organizations. They are fast emerging as the new normal for the event industry, resulting in a boom in mobile and web applications offering hybrid event platform solutions.
With companies spoilt for choice, we analyze some must-have features of a seamless virtual and hybrid event platform, to help you make the perfect purchase decision.
Branding/White labelling capability
The platform must enable you to showcase your brand in the event environment. Be it the event registration page or the web app, consistency is key for hybrid events. The best event platforms facilitate customized branding and allow organizations to upload their logo and brand name upfront. Event platforms like nunify.com offer seamless white labelling capabilities.
Integrated control centre
An event platform should run both the virtual and in-person aspects of a hybrid event on one centralized hub. The hybrid platform should plan events in a way that optimizes in-person and online experiences, allows them to work in sync with each other, and ensures end-to-end information flows from one system. The absence of an integrated platform could result in losing valuable insights on attendance, sponsor ROI, and engagement.
Personalized experience for on-line and in-person attendees
A right-fit hybrid event platform should not use the same app to facilitate event participation for in-person and online guests. There should be a designated portal for online attendees and a mobile app for on-site participants, thus enabling event managers to leverage the strengths of a hybrid event format. However, both portals should come under an integrated control centre, so that participant experience is not compromised, irrespective of how they’re engaging in an event.
The transition from virtual to hybrid events happened in quick time. And innovation and evolution is still happening as the industry grows. Opting for an event management platform that frequently updates its solution is a smart decision.
Invest in a platform that supports varied content forms, such as pre-recorded videos, live streams and feeds that allow speakers, vendors, and guests to share content and interact with each other. Content is the key factor in keeping your audience invested and engaged in virtual and hybrid events.
Personal chat-rooms, live-chats and social-media based networking opportunities
Events are hot spots for networking. The primary reason people attend events is to build and grow their connections. Therefore, it is critical to invest in a hybrid event platform that offers networking features like intuitive live chat and messaging. Similarly, features like personal chat rooms are key during hybrid events as they enable both in-person and virtual audiences to split into different breakout sessions. Platforms that allow attendees to network over video and audio also facilitate networking to a large extent.
Tracking attendees/Analytics and reports
Invest in a hybrid event platform that allows you to track your attendees, and record details like the sessions they attended. Capturing this data enables you to plan a detailed marketing and engagement plan.
Some other features to look for in a great-fit hybrid event platform would be subscription based pricing, content sharing on demand, and gamified app experiences for better audience engagement.
Choosing the right virtual event platform can be a gamble. It’s like dating multiple people and evaluating who matches your wavelength perfectly. Invest in a platform that helps you nurture your audience relationship over a prolonged period of time, is all-encompassing, and can rapidly innovate to meet your evolving event needs.