While everyone is excited to return to in-person events, it can’t be denied that the future of large-scale corporate events has changed in a big way. As more companies look to bring their teams together, most corporate leaders and organizations agree that the future of large gatherings will include some form of virtual meetings for corporate events.
According to a recent survey, 73% of scientific event participants believe that events should remain virtual, or have a virtual component with them to improve accessibility and support social distancing rules in the short-term.
Unlike in the past when most homes had shotty Internet connections, today your employees and team members have all the technology they need right at their fingertips to enjoy an educational and engaging corporate gathering.
Event professionals need to invest in virtual events moving forward to accommodate larger crowds, keep costs low for organizers and participants, and provide a safe, inclusive environment for all event participants.
With technology developing at a rapid pace, professional event planners will need to keep their fingers on the pulse of the hottest virtual event trends. This means that event marketing will need to include digital tools, flexible ticketing, and real-time responses to event attendee questions.
Take a look at the top 5 event tech trends that will guarantee a successful virtual event.
1. Hybrid Events With Flexible Attendee Experience Options
Attendees and planners alike crave face-to-face interaction but still see the value and safety of virtual events. Not only do these in-person events allow for informal networking, they also offer an ideal environment for attendees to engage with presenters and share ideas in a healthy environment.
In light of social and technological changes, many event planners are beginning to blend their expertise in planning traditional in-person events with new virtual meeting trends to create an engaging event experience that includes in-person presentations along with a digital experience for virtual attendees.
Hybrid events will remain popular, even when life returns to normal, which is a good thing as your company will be able to reach more people and save on costly travel to centralized events. Take a look at some emerging practices that are enhancing hybrid events across the world.
Shared Experiences Between Virtual and IRL Participants: With technology developing at lightning speed to support hybrid events, attendees can share experiences from wherever they are.
Micro Events With Virtual Components: Smaller events within a hybrid setting, micro-events allow attendees to network in a small, safe, intimate setting, which builds stronger connections.
Attendance Flexibility: Because hybrid events offer multiple points of access, attendees can create their own event experience based on their needs and comfort levels by picking when they attend in-person and when they access virtually. Event attendees can access your event from their mobile devices or through a mobile event app.
It goes without saying, but if you can offer several methods for attendees and guests to attend your events then you will inevitably attract more attendees and reach a wider audience.
To get the most out of your hybrid events, be sure to utilize push notifications to remind participants of starting times, allow virtual check-ins to monitor attendance, and utilize live chatbots for frequently asked questions.
2. All-In-One Event Solutions During Live Streaming
Multitasking is a required trait of all event planners, and busy event planners can streamline their online events by introducing live streaming options for attendees to enjoy. To meet the needs of modern-day events, planners need a single platform to jungle in-person, hybrid, and virtual event components.
Platforms that connect the gap between live and virtual experiences, as well as provide tools to planners in a centralized location, play a pivotal role as planners and attendees alike navigate hybrid events.
You need an all-in-one event solution to ensure your attendees and presenters have the tools they need to create an event that is educational, entertaining, and engaging. Here are just a few aspects that you should consider when choosing an all-in-one virtual event solution:
Future-proofing your event: Your event solutions need to be able to evolve with your event strategy. Choose a solution that can adapt and change with your event strategy, whatever it may be. Ensure your technology is investing in the future of events and not stuck in the past.
Time-saving Solutions: An all-in-one solution will save you time when troubleshooting before and during an event. You can make one edit and save it to all locations, such as your platform, event website, or event app. This reduces tasks for administrators and allows planners to focus on the event strategy.
Holistic Event Approach: Provide your team with every tool needed within a singular platform. Ensure your all-in-one event solution includes tools needed to create events, align branding, engage audiences, streamline operations, and increase your revenue.
3. Event Technology Management With Broadcast Quality Production
As your company incorporates virtual events into your culture, you will need to pay special attention to the video and audio quality for your attendees. It is vital to ensure your attendees enjoy the best experience possible or else you will lose their attention and your event will not have the desired impact.
Low-quality audio and pixelated images are distracting and will harm your attendee’s event experience.
But how can you ensure audio and visual quality is top-notch for all involved? Take a look for some tips on how to enhance and prevent quality issues.
Audio quality can make or break your attendee’s event experience. Muffled speakers, crackling microphones, or connectivity issues will cause your business’ message to be lost in translation.
You want microphones placed strategically to pick up only the sounds you want and not the rustling of an in-person staff member. Provide exhibitors with a headset and other wearable technology to enhance audio quality.
Simplicity can work with visuals, but streaming should be high quality to maintain virtual attendees' attention and make them feel as if they are in the same room as the presenters.
Invest in high-quality ring lights and take the time to ensure the background of your event is visually pleasing and not distracting.
Maintaining high-quality visuals and audio allows event planners to engage the same persuasive techniques they would choose for in-person events on a digital platform.
4. Event Management Upskilling
While most attendees are opening up to the prospect of live events, corporate event planners in the post-pandemic world need to understand how to incorporate upskilling into their events to future-proof their careers.
Certificates, such as Digital Event Strategist, are becoming more and more popular because of the widespread presence of virtual events. This cert allows event organizers to stay relevant by educating them on how to plan, produce, and analyze digital events from beginning to end.
This includes topics like:
Monetizing Virtual Events
Choosing The Best Tech Solutions
Virtual and Hybrid Event Design
Digital Event Production
By enhancing event planning skills to include new trends and techniques, event planners can give their company an edge over their competitors and impress their customers and clients.
5. Gamification And Interactive Entertainment
Giveaways, audience polls, and door prize surveys are engagement staples at any in-person event. These strategies get event attendees in the door, keep them happy, and create a sense of anticipation that drives the pacing of your event forward.
So how does this translate to virtual events?
Event organizers need to think outside the box and push the boundaries of what is a possibility for virtual event entertainment.
Here are some ideas that will add a layer of fun and engagement to your next virtual or hybrid event:
Mail A “Swag Bag” To All Participants
Hold At-Home Scavenger Hunts
Launch Interactive Polls
Stream Live Performances
Use Facial Recognition To Provide Custom Filters
Not only do these forms of virtual entertainment keep audiences wanting more, they encourage attendees to tell stories about the event to their friends and on social media, which provides word-of-mouth promotion for your company.
Bonus Tip: Ensure A Safe Attendee Experience
As you launch your next hybrid event, you will want to make sure that event attendees who participate in person are provided with a safe and comfortable experience.
Utilize the following practices to keep live event participants feeling at ease:
Wearable Technology For Staff: Provide technology, like contactless payment methods and Smart Badges with RFID technology to protect your staff and event attendees.
A Well Organized Event Venue: Ensure seating is spaced out and that there is plenty of room for attendees and their belongings.
Safety Signage: Floor markers for social distancing, signs about mask use, and markers to identify hand sanitizer are a must for any in-person event.
Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment With Virtual Event Trends
Whether your future event is virtual or hybrid, you are navigating new, uncharted territory. Keeping a close watch on virtual events tends will ensure your business hosts events that will meet the needs of all stakeholders.
The events industry will see an abundance of trial and error as planners use event data to measure the success of virtual and hybrid events.
As future events take on new and exciting formats, event professionals like you will take everything you’ve learned and create engaging, exciting events, no matter what the next event venue may be.