Address the biggest challenges of hosting hybrid events

Address the biggest challenges of hosting hybrid events

Working in the office was not the only victim of the pandemic.

Almost as soon as the Covid-19 virus began to spread in early 2020, organizations canceled face-to-face meetings, town halls, fairs, and other events, and quickly pivoted to virtual events.

But while more and more vaccines are available around the world, virtual events, which have proven to be scalable, secure, and cost-effective, are here to stay. In fact, a hybrid event model, which combines the rich experiences of a face-to-face event with the reach and convenience of a virtual event, emerges as the new programming standard.

Nearly 50% of corporate event attendees believe that hybrid events are the ideal format for the future, compared to exclusively face-to-face or virtual events, according to Metrigy Research. Companies accept this new reality. In 2021, 64% of companies say they are increasing their virtual events and 58% say they plan a combination of virtual and face-to-face events.

Virtual events should be as interactive and engaging as events organized in the physical world. But as these worlds begin to mix, many event managers continue to juggle a pre-pandemic mix of platforms for webinars, virtual events, and face-to-face events that can disorient, disengage, and displease attendees. event.

Three key challenges of hybrid events

The pivot of hybrid events poses three key challenges: complexity, involvement, and customization for marketers and marketing event planners:

  • Manage the increase in complexity, cost and risk associated with the integration of different platforms, tools and technologies
  • Create engaging, inclusive and memorable event experiences which are equally rewarding for face-to-face and remote attendees
  • Give attendees tailor-made experiences specific to their roles and interests before, during and after the events

To meet all three challenges at once, organizations need to:

  • Implement a single platform that supports events of any size and format, ranging from small-scale virtual seminars to large-scale hybrid conferences, to minimize the cost of managing multiple systems
  • Use cutting-edge innovations such as next-generation audience participation capabilities, real-time transcription and translation, and gamified content delivery from platform providers
  • Allow continuous interaction with attendees by creating communities offering opportunities to network and lead training before, during and after events

Let’s delve a little deeper into each of these challenges and solutions.

Cost management and complexity

Nearly half of all organizations use more than one platform for internal webinars. If an organization relies on multiple platforms for meetings, webinars, and events, moving to a single platform with a common interface for managing everything can significantly reduce costs, including training. When evaluating a new platform, make sure it offers a flexible pricing structure that meets all current and future event needs.

Think big, small and all sizes. Regardless of the size of the audience, event management platforms need to integrate seamlessly with content delivery networks. Other considerations should include reliable performance and rich features, such as detailed analysis, reporting, and the ability to monitor events in real time to enhance the experience of attendees.

Creating memorable experiences

Public engagement is vital. A live metric for audience participation is shown when the audience is actively listening or not listening. Accordingly, the event handler can determine if the issue is related to the content (e.g., a poorly posted presentation) or a technical issue (e.g., poor audio or video quality) and take corrective action in a timely manner. real.

When exploring event platforms, consider whether they can be tailored to the size of the event, provide the event management team with detailed analysis of audience participation, and provide attendees with content. interactive and more consumable. According to Metrigy Research, event planners consider five functions that are critical to providing memorable and engaging experiences to attendees:

  1. Advanced presentation functions such as the ability to superimpose the speaker on the content being presented
  2. Team collaboration skills enabling seamless collaboration with other event managers based on real-time event performance data
  3. Audience interaction functions that allow speakers and presenters to interact with the audience through dynamic surveys and moderate questions and answers
  4. Large audience capacity and meeting room to support hundreds of thousands of attendees with optimized network performance, while allowing for smaller sessions in the context of a larger event
  5. Perfect integration with other business applications (e.g., customer relationship management, marketing automation, and social amplification)

Continuous participation of attendees

The event planning industry is moving from an event-focused model to an attendance-focused model. But event planners often have difficulty relating to attendees before and after events, and this could be made worse by hybrid events due to a lack of necessary capabilities within the technology stack or data silos between platforms. .

When exploring solutions, consider replacing multiple event tools and platforms with a single unified platform. This would allow event planners to get information faster and easier about attendees. Ensure that the chosen platform retains persistent data about attendee preferences and behavior at various events to enable the delivery of end-to-end personalized experiences.

Additional considerations for the ongoing participation of attendees would be to support attendee networking and community-building efforts that extend beyond events.

Preparing for the future of hybrid events

No matter when and how the business world emerges from the pandemic, organizations should expect and plan a growing number of hybrid events that combine face-to-face and virtual participation.

Adopting a versatile hybrid event platform can help organizations host thousands of attendees without sacrificing quality, engagement, and participation. Being able to invite and facilitate interactions between all participants, during and after the event, changes the game. It can save significant operating and training costs. And best of all, a single customizable hybrid event platform can make a brand shine.

Learn about Cisco Webex can help your organization create a better hybrid event.

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