We are now approaching the two-year anniversary of the outbreak of Covid-19; back in 2020, the subsequent cancellation of live events forced a move to remote working and led to the emergence of a new virtual events landscape, and, as the virus eased, a new hybrid model, combining a “live” in-person event with a “virtual” online component
Today, many countries are opening up and allowing certain live events to take place, but businesses and event professionals are still struggling to develop a reliable strategy for the year ahead because of ongoing uncertainty.
Breaking down the geographical barriers, virtual events have the power to reach and connect exponentially bigger audiences. With virtual events, attendees can join from the comfort of their homes. This gives businesses the chance to accommodate all attendees’ needs, lifestyles, and abilities.
Added to this, virtual events are more affordable to execute than in-person ones. Combining affordability with a greater attendee reach, companies are able to increase their organic ROI. When it comes to larger virtual events, businesses can attract more partners, sponsors, and exhibitors, driving profitability even further.
Moreover, with the right virtual events platform, event organisers can gather valuable data from all touchpoints and use it to pinpoint what went well and not so well. With multiple real-time metrics and dimensions, organisers can measure attendee reactions and engagement and gain a better understanding of attendee interests and a breakdown of exhibitor offerings.
So, with all these benefits in mind, it looks like virtual events are here to stay even as we continue to recover from the virus. Indeed, according to a recent report from Fortune Business Insights the global virtual meeting software market size is projected to reach US$ 41.58 billion by the end of 2027.
The right event technology platform will provide every marketer with the opportunity to set and track multiple metrics in real-time. The granular details from all touchpoints allow you to refine experiences for online and offline attendees, speakers, and sponsors alike.
Marketing professionals should pay close attention to the level of support offered by the event technology platform provider. Behind every successful event is a dedicated customer support team who will assist at the preparation stage and ensure the entire event flow is as seamless as it can be. Moreover, it is crucial that marketers learn from every event, what worked, what did not, and what can be improved. In terms of don’ts, steering away from copying and pasting the same marketing strategy for online and offline events is always the best approach.
However, running alongside, we’d also expect the transition towards hybrid events. With some people still hesitant to attend in person for safety reasons, four-day mega-events are largely off the agenda. Certainly not if they’re based on the old-school model of 80% in-person, 20% virtual. Turning that model on its head with an 80% virtual audience and contingency plans in place is a more sensible option.
Nevertheless, to succeed in the hybrid world, marketers need to learn how best to generate and demonstrate the events’ ROI utilising new methods and tools they might not yet be familiar with.
The success of any event depends on setting out primary objectives, which could range from lead generation to increasing awareness of your brand/product or improving employee retention. Once the objectives are established, marketers should conduct audience research to better understand demographic profiles, interests, and needs for the purpose of polishing event messaging and promotional campaigns. Getting to know your audience is also crucial to plan and distribute resources and costs efficiently.
Even as the world slowly opens up, the virtual format will remain while the hybrid space has already begun to be embraced by companies and events. We can expect to see more immersive Metaverse experiences in the future, and both augmented reality and virtual reality will set new heights for events.
As we look back, the events industry has changed significantly for the better. With the influx of new technologies we now have to work with, there is a lot to look forward to in the future.
About the Author
Mayank Agarwal is Co-Founder and CTO at Hubilo. As the CTO of the company, Mayank’s primary objective is the continuous progression of the technology platform. From developing a (Minimum Viable Product) virtual event platform in a short window of just 26 days to continue integrating the platform with new features; Mayank’s ensures that the technology strategy for every client is customized based on their specific requirements, it is aligned with their objectives and is simple to comprehend, operate and derive the end-results. Hubilo has a strong Clientele in the US, Europe, APAC, Middle East and Africa regions and is consistently growing its technical base under Mayank’s strong expertise. From a fellow-batch mate from Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA- IICT) to Vaibhav Jain’s co-founder, Mayank today, alongside Vaibhav, has built a platform that is helping redefine the interpretation of the technology landscape in the virtual and hybrid events industry.
Featured image: ©Andrey Popov