Technology is the key to any successful hybrid event.
A hybrid event, as we know, is a combination of a live, in-person event and a virtual event, and technology is important in bridging the live and virtual components, as well as facilitating the delivery of virtual components to the virtual audience.
All hybrid events always have at least one virtual component, and virtual components always rely upon technology.
With that being said, for event organisers, leveraging hybrid event technology can help improve the event’s overall quality, providing a better guest experience, and ultimately, attracting more attendance.
In this post, we will discuss how to get the tech right when planning and hosting a virtual event to enhance your event experience and ensure success.
Let us begin from the basics.
Event Technology: The Concept
The term “event technology” refers to any software, hardware (machine), or digital tools that assist the planning, management, and execution of an event, and in this case, a hybrid event.
Technology can facilitate a successful hybrid event in many different aspects: handling event registration, managing social media activities, facilitating a virtual event, live streaming, mobile apps, and so on.
Event Technology Enhancing Experience
Why do we need event technology in the first place? Ultimately, it’s about providing a better experience for everyone involved in planning, managing, and hosting the event. This includes event planners, event team, volunteers, attendees, vendors, and sponsors, among other parties.
The ‘better experience’ here can come in many different forms. For example, technology can allow a more seamless and faster registration process, which can result in higher conversion and satisfaction rates. In a hybrid event setting, however, technology can be extremely important in keeping both virtual and live attendees feeling engaged throughout the event.
Event planning used to be a very time-intensive and mostly manual process, but now we have access to various digital solutions that can help facilitate various aspects of the event planning process from the initial planning stage to marketing to post-event evaluation.
Event Technology and Attendee Experience
While various event technology solutions are designed to help event planners and organisers ease their jobs, various digital solutions, software, and hardware can also improve overall attendee satisfaction.
This is even more important in hybrid events that emphasise their virtual aspect. Today’s virtual attendees simply expect a user-friendly, streamlined experience. Even the smallest tech issues: errors, clunky apps/websites, busy registration lines, lack of access to relevant online information, laggy live streaming platform, and so on, can reduce the overall satisfaction from your attendees.
When you leave a bad taste in their mouth, it can put your future events at risk, even if the current one is already successful.
To be successful, a hybrid event in 2021 should offer at least a user-friendly event website, a streamlined and intuitive registration function, a functional mobile app, and high-performance marketing tools. Without investing in the right technology solutions, this would be impossible.
If you want to improve the attendee experience on your virtual and/or hybrid events, then consider leveraging event technology solutions to improve the whole attendee experience.
How Event Technology Can Put You a Step Ahead In Achieving Your eVent Goals
As discussed, there are numerous event technology solutions available in the market covering various different aspects of event planning and hosting. Ultimately, these event technology solutions can help you to achieve your event goals, with each piece of these technology solutions contributing to ensuring the success of the event from the initial planning process to the moment attendees leave.
Event technology solutions can help event planners and organisations to accomplish various goals and KPIs: ensuring high-quality and lasting relationships with attendees, generating leads throughout and after the events, and even improving sales and revenue.
This is why it’s important to first identify your event objectives and main KPIs before assessing which technology solutions to invest in. As a general rule of thumb, you should choose event technology solutions that can help you improve your chances of success in achieving these objectives.
Different Types of Event Technology Solutions and Their Applications
1. Event registration software: streamlining event sign-up and check-in
You’ve planned the perfect event, you’ve booked the best possible talents/speakers, and everything has been set up. Yet, those all will go to waste if you can’t get enough people to register for your event.
While there are many different factors that may affect event attendance, from your marketing efforts to how you’ve packaged the event, a common mistake is not to ensure it’s as easy as possible for potential attendees to register for your event.
As mentioned, today’s audience and especially prospective virtual attendees would expect a smooth registration experience. Most prospective attendees are still weighing whether your event is worth their attendance during the registration process, so if the experience isn’t optimal, they may abandon it.
You can opt to invest in an all-in-one event management solution that offers a built-in online registration function like Eventtia to maximise cost-efficiency. However, no matter which solution you choose, the key here is to make sure to eliminate any inefficiencies and unnecessary processes during the sign-up.
2. Internal event management solution: optimising your event team’s performance
How well your event is planned and organised would depend on how well your team members can communicate and collaborate with each other throughout the event planning process.
Planning and managing an event, as we know, can be extremely complex with many different moving parts, so you may need multiple technology solutions to facilitate a streamlined collaboration:
- Database management: managing attendee database is often a big challenge in event management, so database management is often at the core of most high-quality event management solutions.
- On-site management solutions: there are many different oh-site elements in a live event (as a part of a hybrid event) that can be quite challenging to manage. Technology can help us streamline these on-site management aspects like mobile/online payment, attendee check-in, and even running real-time reports and analytics.
- Budget management: another important aspect of managing an event team is to monitor budget usage and maximise savings. Budget management is crucial to ensure your event’s profitability and maximise ROI.
- Project management: planning and managing an event is essentially managing a project, so you can get technology solutions that can help you streamline the project management aspect like scheduling, collaboration tools (like Slack), and so on.
3. Event marketing management tools: automating and personalising marketing efforts
We can’t deny the importance of marketing an event: if you can’t bring enough attendees to your hybrid event, then it’s doomed as a failure no matter how well you’ve planned and hosted the event.
In fact, marketing is often the biggest challenge of hosting an event.
In today’s digital age, personalization is key to successful marketing, and it’s all about delivering the right message to the right people at the right time. This is where various event marketing technology solutions can help.
Here are some examples of how technology can help in personalising and automating your event marketing efforts:
- Email marketing: email marketing solutions like MailChimp and Constant Contact can help automate and personalise your email marketing efforts
- Social media: in this day and age, obviously we should market our events on social media. Various social media management and marketing tools can help streamline and even automate the social media marketing campaigns
- Website builder: having a functional and well-designed event website is key in promoting your hybrid event. Tools like Wix and even WordPress can help you easily and quickly build a professionally-designed website for your event.
- Event calendar: whether built-in to your event management solution or integrated, an event calendar can be very useful to show participants the different programs you are offering so they can register quickly for any specific program. Crucial especially for the virtual aspect of the hybrid event.
4. Event diagramming solution: streamlining event space design and layout
Event space design can be extremely challenging, and event diagramming software has quickly become one of the most popular event technology solutions, especially during the event planning process.
An event diagramming solution allows you to create a visual diagram for your event space design, so you can define where the stage, booths, exhibits, and other physical elements of the event will be on the actual venue. You can also use the diagramming solution to plan your venue’s traffic flow to ensure an optimal attendee experience.
There are various event diagramming solutions available in the market, some with an intuitive, drag-and-drop space builder, but there are also 3D diagramming software solutions that can help you create a more detailed plan for your venue.
Nevertheless, you can use them to create a complete, detailed visual representation of floor plans, traffic flow, lighting design, cabling, seating, furniture placement, decor, and other physical elements of the event. Ultimately, it can significantly help your event planning process, especially regarding logistics.
The actual application for event diagramming solutions for a hybrid event can be quite diverse. Obviously having a detailed diagram can significantly help throughout the event planning process, but you can also use the solution to create a detailed event venue map and floor plan and share them with your attendees before they arrive at your venue to optimise the experience. This can be especially important for live attendees who are concerned about health, safety, and security.
5. Event security solutions: improving health, security, and safety
It’s no secret that the global COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed how we host and attend events. Health and safety, including and especially social distancing practises, are now inseparable parts of any live events and hybrid events.
With that being said, technologies that can facilitate safer, contactless interactions including check-ins should be leveraged. Event organisers can invest in various electronic health and safety solutions to assist in implementing health and safety requirements for the hybrid event. These tools can help in providing staff with relevant information so event organisers can better manage their staff, suppliers, and attendees to ensure they are not exposed to risks and hazards throughout the event.
With contactless registration and check-ins becoming the norm in this “new normal” period, technologies facilitating facial recognition and other methods of contactless check-ins can help allow for a faster and safer check-in experience for your attendees.
Various wearable devices like RFID (Radio-frequency Identification) bracelets can also help event organisers in tracking attendee activities and gathering relevant information, which eventually can help improve the overall safety and security of the event. Many of these wearable technologies are relatively cost-effective and can improve your hybrid event experience in various areas: attendee tracking, security, social media integration, real-time payments, and so on.
6. Facilitating hybrid event interactions via event technology solutions
Real-time interactions have always been the bane of virtual events over their live counterparts.
While virtual events have the advantage of breaking down geographical limitations, giving organisers the ability to attract attendees from halfway across the world, live events always have the edge on real-time interactivity and face-to-face networking opportunities.
Technology solutions can bridge this gap. For example, a comprehensive virtual event platform like Eventtia can facilitate attendees to attend the event by interacting on their screens, and they may choose to interact with the host, speaker, or other attendees via text chat, audio, and even video communications. While these alternatives, at least at the moment, aren’t yet adequate in really replacing in-person interactions, with time you can allow attendees to get adapted and take advantage of these options.
Using the latest tools and technology can optimise attendee experience on your hybrid events and especially maximise engagements. Functional mobile applications, wearables for navigation, projector screens, and so on can help enhance interactivity throughout the hybrid event.
Event technology solutions are essential in planning, managing, and hosting a hybrid event.
Technology can help assist both the virtual aspect and live aspect of a hybrid event in many different ways: facilitating internal collaboration for your team, facilitating engagement, ensuring a streamlined registration process, and more. However, with so many event technology options available in the market, it’s also crucial to first identify your needs and requirements, so you can choose the right combination of tech applications that will suit your event.
The better you understand your needs (and budget), the more effectively you’ll be able to implement these event technology solutions to optimise your hybrid event.