In the field of corporate events, virtuality came to stay. Social distancing guidelines for health care in times of Covid-19 require minimizing the number of in-person attendees. And the trend is to complement the proposals with a solid virtual experience, giving rise to hybrid events. This modality, which was already in use before the pandemic, will continue and intensify once the crisis is over. A study by Grand View Research, for example, estimated that the size of the global virtual events market will grow at a compound annual rate (CAGR) of 23.2% between 2020 and 2027. And in a survey carried out during the Global Meeting Industry Day, 62% of planners said that in the future their events will be a hybrid style.
This hybrid approach can be adapted to make events in which the virtual and the face-to-face take place in parallel, whether for trade shows, conferences, corporate meetings, conventions, galas, festivals, trainings, seminars, etc. Virtuality not only enables innovative experiences —like virtual games and different interactive proposals, for example— but also allows to reach a much larger number of people, markets and communities. And it makes possible to record and reuse the contents.
When conceiving hybrid events, it must be taken into account that there will be two types of audiences: those attending in person and those who will participate remotely. Nowadays there are practical and modern furnishing options so that in-person attendees can be safe, with a healthy distance between each other, and still be able to share and bond. The setting can be a TV studio, for example, with dividers and separate furniture. In addition, giant LED screens with adequate sound can be placed, so as to prevent people from crowding. On the other hand, when designing the environment, the lighting and the set, it will also be necessary to think about optimizing the experiences of the virtual attendees.
In hybrid events, the virtual part can be developed through a live transmission, a videoconferencing tool or an online platform that allows to make contacts and share ideas.
The most sophisticated virtual event platforms allow to personalize events using tools such as a virtual hall and stage and a 3D-simulated digital conference room —with the possibility of adding virtual stands and a site for remote networking (in group videoconferences). Besides, 3D interactive avatars can also be implemented.
The technological infrastructure is key to the success of a hybrid event, particularly as regards its virtual part. The lounges, hotels and restaurants that will act as venues must guarantee enough bandwidth and speed of Internet connection, as well as an advanced digital infrastructure. They will need extra space for cameras and lighting equipment, as well as high-quality microphones.
Besides, the organizers will have to pay attention to the following:
– The virtual platform must offer different functionalities —such as screen sharing, playing video for all attendees simultaneously, instant messaging, registration and monitoring of participants, video calls in virtual rooms with the capacity to divide the attendees into groups, etc.
– It is important that attendees can move intuitively through the online platform, so that they have a fluid experience and are able to participate, interact and make contacts.
– If the event foresees the realization of simultaneous activities, it will have to be transmitted in such a way that virtual participants can experience it holistically.
– It will be necessary to ensure good quality audio and video (especially the former) and carry out all the needed technical tests. It might be a good idea to include a sound engineer.
From a strategic and organizational point of view, it is important to define the objectives and the target of the event, and plan the program in advance. This will help to decide which format will be the most suitable for the virtual part —online conference, virtual fair, videoconference, webinar, webcast, etc. It will also allow to design an interesting virtual experience, full of attractive content.
A good communitacion job will also be essential (via social networks, email marketing, etc.). In this respect, it will be convenient to have a website or landing page containing all the relevant information (date, time, program, registrations, speakers’ data, etc.) that can be used to host the event’s streaming.
It is important to provide clear instructions to confirmed attendees, offering them platform information, login codes, support contacts, etc. And give them explanations on how to use the platform and how they are expected to act and participate. It is also convenient to add answers to frequently asked questions.
The digital world offers multiple options to integrate people. Depending on the expected audience, a synchronous event (in which people interact in real time through audio, video and/or live chat) or an asynchronous one (offering online resources for people to access according to their possibilities, with periods of simultaneous participation) may both be implemented. Another alternative is to broadcast the most important sessions live and use pre-recorded content for the rest.
Surveys, questionnaires or online voting are usually good mobilizers. In addition, it is possible to add pre-recorded clips with organization leaders, or animated videos with storytelling components. And in the case of conferences, forums or panels with experts can be developed through live-streaming.
After the event, it is advisable to strengthen the relationships built by sending a digital souvenir, a survey on the level of satisfaction with the event or some support material.
A great advantage of virtuality is that it allows to measure results, which will help to make improvements. For example, it is good to know how many people registered, how many attended, where they came from, how long they were connected, how many people left the room during the event, when they did it, etc.
In 2021 corporate events will combine the best of the face-to-face and virtual worlds. From Easy Events we make our contribution by renting our extensive and cutting edge inventory of audio visual equipment, ready to be delivered, setup and operated. The full event productions involve full HD, multiple screens and projectors, video walls, line Array sound and intelligence lighting, furniture, and equipment (audio, video and lighting). Also stages, dance floors, LED furniture and products, and other special details for events and celebrations that are only got in party rentals like Easy Events in Houston, Austin, Dallas and surrounding areas. Last but not least, we try that our clients may get everything they need in a single party rental. We accompany them in the selection process and offer our personalized advice to make their event unique and memorable.