Mistakes to Avoid When Managing Different Event Formats
The pandemic has brought about a paradigm shift in the way events are conducted.
Now that the world is slowly doing away with major restrictions, we have seen the return of physical or in-person events. In spite of this development, three out of four businesses want to retain the virtual aspect of their events. That’s brought about a sudden surge in the popularity of hybrid events.
Managing a virtual and in-person event at the same time is no mean task. And while upskilling on the job is great, here is a way for you to beat the learning curve. Simply avoid making these common mistakes associated with managing different event formats.
Mistakes to Avoid When Managing Different Event Formats
In-person, virtual, or hybrid- whatever your event format, you need to have a solid plan in place. It should cover important elements of the event such as logistics, registrations, participant details, agenda, speaker information, and so on. If your plan is not inclusive, you might end up getting lost in minor details and wasting time and resources.
Avoid this mistake and make a master plan that includes everything and smaller plans for each task. Delegate these tasks to other team members and ensure that they know the plan like the back of their hands.
Ignoring Your Audience
Sometimes, you might end up ignoring the reason why you’re hosting an event in the first place: your audience. You may focus too much on registrations, or sticking to the agenda instead. If you are unable to hold the attention of your audience, then your event may not be able to achieve its primary objectives.
After all, the core of any event is to connect people. If your event is a virtual one then you must put in more effort to keep the interaction alive. This can be achieved partly through engagement tools and activities on virtual event platforms like personal chat, individual booths, one-on-one networking, experiential marketing elements, and much more.
One thing to keep in mind is that these activities alone won’t suffice to engage your audience. The content you share with your audience has to be top-notch and drive value as well.
Just like you would for an in-person event, you must get enough time to rehearse your event and ensure that everything is going as per the agenda. Things like internet speed and connectivity, sound must be tested while practising.
You could also anticipate important questions and likely problems you might run into and prepare for them in advance. For instance, maintaining a backup set of topics to discuss in case a speaker is unable to participate in the event or starting off a Slack channel to discuss FAQs and having a moderator to manage it.
Choosing the Wrong Platform
Platforms like Virtex not only offer the ability to stream your event, but offer many other ancillary features like marketing your event on social media or providing a immersive experience online. Make sure to choose a platform that gives your audience the closest in-person experience that they can have in a hybrid event.
Features Of A Virtual Trade Show Platform
As businesses get used to events online, they must also find unique ways to generate more revenue through them. And, with the right partner, it is possible for companies of all sizes to host virtual trade shows and other events and watch leads being generated.
So, how does all of this work? It starts with finding the most appropriate platform. Choosing from a list of providers who offer several features can prove quite confusing. Luckily, we have a list of useful features for you that you should pay particular attention to.
Features Of A Virtual Trade Show Platform
1. Good visuals
Imagine you walk into a traditional trade show. What you will likely find is a large number of booths dedicated to different brands. Each brand will make its best attempt to stand out with bright visuals and colors. Once you’re in the booth, it’s the task of the experts and the product marketers to interact with you.
Your virtual trade show platform should be able to replicate almost all of this. If you’re able to pull off a lifelike experience with the attendees walking into the ‘venue’, registering at the lounge, and entering the event arena, that’s going to create a lasting impression.
While you might miss the intimacy of in-person trade shows, what you won’t miss is the pain of setting up booths, getting banners and posters printed, and the other logistical issues.
When you go virtual, you can skip the cumbersome process of getting your booth ready. If you choose a good virtual event platform like Virtex, you can choose from a variety of pre-loaded designs or make your own.
In fact, everything related to your event can be customized- right from your venue to your advertising banners, and everything in between.
3. Mobile friendliness
It goes without saying that you are likely to miss out on loads of potential business if your virtual event platform does not support mobile users. Several of your attendees might be on the go and choose to attend your trade show on their mobile device. So, your virtual trade show platform must also have a mobile app and it must be quick and able to support streaming, webinars, etc.
4. Networking features
We have spoken about this feature several times before and rate it very highly on a virtual event platform. One of the biggest advantages of in-person events is the ability to make connections and build a network. While it is much harder to replicate virtually, a common blunder to overcome in your next virtual show is assuming that your audience is listening all the time.
A good virtual event platform offers you several tools to create an atmosphere of networking among participants, speakers, and attendees. Live chats, Q&A rooms, one-on-one sessions with speakers are a few features that are a must.
5. Good analytics
While audience engagement is a great metric to assess the success of your event, you do need more. Post event analytics give you crucial insights into the behaviours of your audience and help you plan your next course of action. In fact, we’d say that they are the bridge between finishing a huge event and getting your sales teams ready for follow-up.
The Most Effective Team Building Activities For Your Virtual Or Hybrid Staff
Ask any remote team member and they will tell you how important it is to have virtual team-building activities for better teamwork and employee happiness. In fact, 75% of employers think that collaboration within the team is highly valuable. So, team building is a must, even if it is to be virtually so.
In our experience working with several virtual teams, we have understood that virtual team building is not the same as in-person team building. So, you need much more than a regular happy hour or online team quiz to bring out the camaraderie.
Luckily, we have a few ready ideas for you that can help.
1. Virtual treasure hunt
What better way to bring together a team than a treasure hunt? Now you might wonder how you could conduct a hunt online. But it’s all in the details. You could make a list of household items that need to be photographed or decorated in a certain manner. While the tasks may be individual, they could be linked together within the team and the completion of all the individual tasks would mean victory for the team. For instance, Employee A’s task would be to get a picture of Employee B’s dog. There could be similar tasks for every employee.
2. Two truths and a lie
If you’re trying to have a fun-filled activity that also enables your team members to get to know each other better, then look no further. The rules of the game say that every person is required to make three statements about themselves two of which are true and one which is not. The rest of the people on the call will need to identify the lie from the three. It is a great chance for people to share even a few bizarre truths about themselves if they’re game.
Pictionary is a classic and a favorite among many groups. All you need to do is to make this a virtual team event. You can choose a good platform like Virtex that provides you with a virtual drawing board. Split up your attendees into teams and you’re on your way. A representative from each team will need to draw the word assigned and the rest of the team has to make guesses.
4. Virtual dance party
With many people still working from home, there is very little opportunity for physical movement. A great creative idea for a virtual workshop is a dance party. A trainer can lead the team while they follow him/her. You could also involve a few fun challenges wherein members add their own twist to a step or have a dance-off.
5. Virtual escape room
Just like a physical escape room, a virtual escape room will involve a team being locked up in a room. They will then have to use the clues to escape. It is an effective virtual team-building activity because it will need them to put on their thinking hats and feed off each other’s positivity.
If you have VR headsets, you can create a simulation of an escape room and make things more exciting for your team.
Emerging trends shaping the future of event technology
Now that physical and in-person events are making a comeback, one might wonder if it is the beginning of the end of virtual events. However, the world isn’t ready yet. In-person events might not be able to return to what they used to be. However, on the bright side, this opens up a whole new territory where event planners and marketers can make the best possible use of event technology and virtual event ideas to still attain their goals.
So, let’s take a look at what 2022 and beyond have in store for the virtual event world.
Emerging trends shaping the future of event technology
1. Check-ins are going contactless
In a future that does not involve queues at events, attendees can perform a series of actions on the event website before they arrive at the event. Depending on these actions, attendees can either be granted or declined access to the event.
However, if a queue is inevitable, then virtual queues can ensure that not too many people assemble in one place.
2. Temperature guns too are going contactless
Yes, these guns are already contactless. However, things are leveling up now. State-of-the-art temperature check devices have the capability to record temperatures using infra-red technology, approve or deny access, have hand sanitizers and PPE kits handy, and even serve as an event guide.
3. ID verification is easier now than ever
For in-person events, certain requirements like being vaccinated or obtaining a negative COVID test are mandatory. But event planners can have a daunting task at hand if they are to implement these requirements.
4. Robot technology is finding its way
Hybrid event planners are now receiving smart event assistants. Be it AI-powered chatbots for the virtual audience or robots are in-person events, these AI-powered machines are making life much easier for event managers. They help attendees check in, find information, bathrooms, meal times, and even deliver food!
5. In-person and virtual attendees are networking now
Hybrid events are more than just livecast streaming of the in-person event. Event technology is evolving to include new networking opportunities between in-person and virtual attendees. While this may seem odd at first, it is working! Developments like a mobile app for the event or networking rooms for the attendees are turning this kind of networking into a reality. Some event technology is sophisticated enough to enable remote attendees to control streaming robots thereby letting them choose which section of the venue or the event they want to watch.
6. Smaller events are becoming more popular
The in-person element of hybrid events is becoming smaller and more intimate now. As such, this just might be one of the biggest virtual event trends for 2022. Physical events will be capped and largely open to senior management and other VIPs. On the other hand, the virtual element will continue to focus on reach while ensuring that the audience remains engaged.
7. Content also is becoming contactless
Physical events no longer need to waste paper to print event-related and other branding/marketing content on brochures, booklets, and so on. All the content can be made available online which can be accessed by scanning a QR code. This will also provide equal amounts of information to both physical and virtual attendees and since it will be stored on the cloud, it will always be available.
Whether the world goes back to normalcy any time soon or not, these developments will dominate the event space for some time.
How Can NFTs Change The Landscape Of The Events Industry
If you are a follower of the latest tech news and take a keen interest in the digital economy, then you must already be aware of the rising popularity of non-fungible tokens or NFTs. They are quickly becoming one of the most popular digital assets and virtual event platforms are starting to take notice of them.
First things first, what is an NFT?
Let’s understand this with an example. Assume that you are a digital illustrator and have you created a beautiful digital painting. This painting, on the surface, is a piece of art but it is also unique because there is only one such painting. It cannot be compared or exchanged with any other painting on grounds of similarity.
But, what if suddenly someone ‘stole’ your painting and made many copies of it on the Internet? Now, it is no longer unique and there is also no way for you to prove your ownership of it. The value of your work of art is lost forever and your talent has not received its due.
You can avoid this situation by buying an NFT. This NFT will convert your digital painting into a unique digital asset and confer a certificate of ownership on it. Now, since every token is linked to blockchain technology, it will be embedded in public records forever. So, if anyone will have to buy this ‘painting’, they will need to purchase it from you.
Are NFTs just restricted to collectibles and artwork?
No. In fact, many hybrid event platforms are keenly exploring the possibility of using NFTs to prevent the resale of tickets or ticket scalping. However, they can do more than that. NFT could be a part of the essential strategies for a successful hybrid event. Let’s take a look.
Creating VIP-level experiences
The power of NFT lies in its ability to grant status to its owner. So, virtual event platforms, like virtex, could associate them with exclusive access to certain segments of virtual events. These could be conversations with the who’s who of the industry or an awards night with C-level executives of top organizations, and much more.
Providing employee incentives
The reward for winning a virtual quiz or a contest could be an NFT to gain access to an exclusive community or to provide them ‘stage’ time at a hybrid or a virtual event as a means of recognition.
One of the biggest industries where NFTs are set to take over is gaming. You could center your engagement activities at your next corporate event around gamification. A series of activities, open both to your physical and virtual audiences, could end with the winner receiving an NFT associated with a digital asset.
Getting the best booths
Virtual real estate is a big deal today and you could sell NFTs for your next event too. Sponsors could buy these NFTs for the best ‘booth’, or a longer face-time if your event is virtual. You could also associate NFTs with exhibitor spaces at your in-person event.
Five Easy Tips To Beat Boredom In Virtual Events
If you’re hosting a corporate event in 2022, you must make sure that it stands out. With screen fatigue being at an all-time high, nobody has the will to sit through a virtual webinar or workshop. Businesses need to factor in the boredom that comes with virtual workshops or events and look for ways to make their events more interactive and interesting.
So, how does one ensure that their attendees are having fun? We think it begins with great content and a few virtual team-building activities.
Let’s say you want to host a virtual workshop on robotics. Ask yourself if you have something truly valuable. Run-of-the-mill stuff will not work. You need original content drawn from your experiences or from those of others.
But just content is not going to get you the desired results. You will also need to ensure it is delivered the right way.
1. Illustrators or graphic artists
Did you know that there are illustrators who can visually represent your entire content as you speak? So, if you’re delivering a small segment on the types of social media marketing, this illustrator can rapidly scribble a visually appealing version of the same information. This technique called digital live scribing ensures that your participants learn better and take something back to share in their circles.
2. Creating lifelike scenarios
One of the biggest advantages of using a powerful virtual event platform is the ability to provide an immersive experience. For instance, on Virtex, you can literally replicate the look and feel of a physical venue. You can create signboards, tables, participants, halls, and much more. Now, make the whole event interactive by having your attendees drive to the venue, check in with their passes, pick the hall for their event, and so on.
Once they are in the particular hall too, you can decide how you want to keep them engaged. You can have them ask questions, participate in quizzes, or take some action.
3. Bring in a star
If your virtual workshop is on cooking, rope in a celebrity chef. People love to interact with stars and your event participation will definitely be worth the effort. Anyway, your participants are less likely to be bored if they are following along with the chef’s recipe.
4. Host live competitions
For both offline and virtual events, competitions always draw big crowds. The euphoria and excitement around a contest are unbeatable and all you need to do is maintain it through the duration of your event. If you’re having a workshop on virtual reality, then it must include a contest where participants compete to design a simulation.
5. Have at least one team-building activity
At a physical event, attendees will network. But networking becomes a little difficult when it has to be done virtually. So, be the catalyst and have a few fun-filled virtual team-building activities. Let’s say your workshop is on gardening. Make sure to include an activity where attendees work in groups to find the best natural fertilizers or something along those lines. The idea is to bring them together and have them work as a team.
Why Virtual Events Aren’t Restricted To Covid Times Alone
If you’re one of the many businesses that switched to hosting virtual events after the pandemic struck, we have news. Virtual events- specifically hybrid events- are here to stay. Nearly 70% of businesses have voted in favour of hosting hybrid events and have signed long-term contracts with virtual meeting platforms.
Parallelly, there is a school of thought that believes that in-person events are crucial and that nothing can replace the connection and personal touch that they provide. While we cannot disagree with that, let us also tell you that allocating a section of your event portfolio to virtual events even today can help you in many ways.
Don’t believe us? Let’s dive deeper and understand these benefits better.
1. They help widen the reach of your event
Even if you are hosting an in-person event, it is sensible to stream it and invite virtual attendees because it means you’re being inclusive of those who are unable to attend and those who are in different regions and time zones.
2. They enable you to connect with varied audiences
If you are hosting a virtual trade show, or a large-scale event, don’t make it only in-person. Having a virtual setup will enable you to connect with new groups of people who may not be all that familiar with your brand but match the definition of a user.
Similarly, if you are hosting a concert, or a live panel discussion, one of your panelists can connect virtually instead of flying down to your venue. As a host, you save money and as a speaker, your panelist gets the visibility. If he/she is famous, then your event is likely to receive more participation. So, it’s a win-win.
3. They simplify event planning
Virtual event trends for 2022 predict the continued dominance of hybrid events because of the simple fact that they simplify a lot of event-related planning. You can have a micro in-person event with a small venue and a limited budget while still being able to include participants and attendees from other parts of the world. That is a very exciting prospect for most businesses who are keen on expanding their presence whilst still delivering the personal experience to a handful of attendees.
4. They solidify your online brand presence
Most businesses tend to invest heavily in digital and social media marketing to build an online presence. However, they have another avenue through virtual events. Large corporations like Microsoft have been successfully utilizing virtual meeting platforms to improve their PR on both owned and paid media. What they charged for in 2019, they provided for free in 2020: registration for their conference. And the number of attendees went up from 6,000 in 2019 to almost 200,000 in 2020.
5. They are much more customizable
Unlike in-person events, virtual events are easy to customize. That’s because several good platforms like Virtex have robust technology that allows businesses to replicate the look and feel of their physical venue, engage with their audience, and provide helpful resources even after the event.
Today, as more businesses embrace the idea of hybrid events, they are also very watchful of the duration, and the engagement levels of these events. Micro events (which have a smaller participation) are fast catching up because they are confined to an audience who is really interested and allow for better interaction and engagement.
How To Organize A Successful Virtual Job Fair?
Today, virtual recruitment or career fairs are being considered a profitable way of meeting with potential employees, sharing their company’s vision, philosophy, and showing a sneak peek into their culture.
So, when a well-known name in remote and hybrid jobs, FlexJobs hosted a virtual career fair in January 2022, it became a smashing success. After all, virtual events are cost-effective, easier to organize, and have a far wider reach.
The far-reaching impact of virtual events can also prove to be a thorn in your side because of the quality of leads you generate. In this case, you want your virtual job fair to attract the best talent so that participants can recruit successfully. But, how do you drive attendance for your virtual event?
Getting more qualified leads is always about making the right choices. And it all begins with the platform.
Organizing A Successful Virtual Job Fair
1. Choose the right platform
Businesses are quite spoiled for choice when it comes to deciding on the right event platform. However, it’s quite easy to get struck by the paradox of choice. Every virtual event platform today claims to be the best and offers personalized experiences. However, you must do your homework.
Choose a platform that is flexible, easy to operate, provides plenty of engagement options like live chat, HD video streaming, polls, quizzes, individual booths, etc.
2. Set up your objectives and strategy
Everything that you do will be driven by these two factors. So, be sure of the number of participants you expect, what you want them to gain, what your budget is, how long your career fair is going to last, and so on.
3. Make a team and start pitching
Once you have a plan in place, you must start executing it. You need a solid support system to help pitch your event to businesses and if you don’t have your own team, you can always choose event platforms that help with pre-event legwork. For instance, Virtex has a team that can also do outreach for your event.
4. Promote your event
Now that you have a list of participant organizations, you need attendees, who are preferably seeking jobs or information related to certain jobs. This is a crucial stage because you need the right people for your event. A few platforms in India can provide you with tools to promote your event through social media by segmenting your target audience and designing tailor-made campaigns for them.
5. Engage with your audience
For instance, can it really be personalized to mimic the feel of a real job fair- all with a large convention hall, booths, stalls, banners, attendees walking around, etc?
Similarly, can the platform customize your booth to provide the attendees a 3-D experience of an interview, or an interaction with recruiters?
How Can Hybrid Events Transform The Events Industry?
By now we have come to terms with conducting events online. From job fairs to cookery classes, we have seen so many virtual events in the last two years. However, 2022 brings with it a ray of fresh hope being spearheaded by in-person events.
Although most companies are excited to meet and network physically, they are unwilling to let go of the virtual elements of an event. Never before has technology been able to make event planning this flexible, accommodating, and adaptable. And this trend is likely to dominate in 2022.
1. Reach beyond geographical boundaries
Businesses are no longer restricted by geography. A follower of a business is very likely to attend its next conference (virtually) even if she is not physically present thanks to the live streaming facility offered by hybrid event platforms. This is a huge jump for businesses eyeing expansion into other regions or markets and can potentially result in enormous growth and revenue generation.
2. Move into online avatars
Several businesses are ramping up their online presence in preparation for the future. Though physical events offer that personal touch, several attendees prefer the convenience of hybrid events. To appeal to this digitally-driven audience, businesses, in addition to hosting online events are also developing interactive websites and mobile apps, engaging in conversational marketing, and generating buzz on social media.
3. New online marketing collateral
Hybrid events make for excellent marketing material. Unlike physical events which can be forgotten, hybrid events can stay on for as long as the business would like. A good video editing team can cut sections of events and upload them to a cloud or on your website and these videos/montages can be made available free of charge or for a fee. They can also be repurposed as courses, discourses, and much more. And businesses have not just warmed up to this idea, they have been making good use of it too.
Businesses often charge attendees a fee for in-person events to cover overhead costs. These costs, which run into massive amounts, can also eat into a business’s profits. Smarter businesses have understood that hybrid events serve the same purpose but at a fraction of the cost. As a result, they have organized hugely successful, profitable events while making their sponsors and attendees happy.
The event technology revolution
Hybrid events have also spawned the birth of several virtual and hybrid event platforms like Virtex that operate on various business models. This in turn has brought about several technological improvements in the events industry and has created the need for talent. Some of these firms have managed to crack huge funding opportunities while pulling off astonishing feats in event management.
The events industry is transforming already and will continue to cash in on the growing dependence of companies on technology for better reach, digital presence, and profitability.
Ways to promote and market your next hybrid event
You don’t necessarily have to run on a hybrid strategy here. Offline marketing is expensive so you can reduce your costs by using digital marketing tools offered by platforms like Virtex.
- Google Ads campaign: Create a quick ad campaign on Google and run it extensively on both the search and display network of Google.
- Social media campaigns: Depending on where your target audience is, choose a few social media platforms and boost your event.
- Website: Create a separate landing page for the event and direct your visitors to it whenever they click on an ad or an event post on social media.
How Can Companies Organize A Virtual Family Day?
Studies show that companies that are more family-centric have happier and more productive employees. It is understandable that employees whose families are cared for by their companies will want to do their best.
So, how can a family-centric company connect thousands of employees and their families across the globe through a single corporate event? It may seem like a daunting task, but with the right planning and execution, your company might just be able to pull off something extraordinary!
So, here are a few simple steps to organizing the perfect virtual family day.
- Decide your reach
- Figure out a theme to make your event relevant
- Identify a suitable platform
- Finalize the duration of your event
- Have a ‘WOW’ factor to hook your audience
- Use gamification in virtual event platforms
- Promote your event in the right manner
1. Decide your reach
If you are an organization with thousands of employees who are spread over different geographic regions, you may have to organize more than one virtual team event. We recommend that you host multiple events because time and cultural differences cannot be ignored especially when families and little children are involved. If you can only host one event, then pick a time and reach that covers most of your employee population.
2. Figure out a relevant theme
The downside to large-scale events is picking the right theme. Superman may be big in one country but in certain others, it might be another superhero. Similarly, English may not be the preferred language for all your employees and their families. Again, making your event as ‘local’ as possible ensures that you receive good participation.
3. Identify a suitable platform
If you are hosting several corporate events in different regions, then you need a platform that is customizable. Not all virtual event platforms offer the same flexibility. If you are looking to make your event rustic and locally relevant, pick a 100% customizable platform like Virtex. Not only can you tweak the features to suit your needs, but you also have a support team to help with outreach and marketing.
4. Finalize the duration of your event
Virtual events can become abnormally long especially if your agenda is not relevant to the audience attending. So, decide on a duration. Get a count of how many children are attending and decide accordingly. Children have shorter attention spans, so we recommend that you stick to two hours at the most.
If you have a longer list of items to finish, then spread the event out to three or even four days with a grand finale on the last day.
5. Have a ‘WOW’ factor to hook your audience
It is not easy to keep children entertained. So, make sure to include several ‘WOW’ elements in your events. It could be a virtual magic show or a puppet show. These could take place when audience engagement is expected to lower. It could be at the end of a segment, or on the final day of your event.
6. Use gamification in virtual event platforms
Kids love games, but so do adults. Platforms like Virtex give you 100% customization to make and create games of your choice. Ensure that your participants are engaged through these games, so make them interactive and have exciting rewards ready.
7. Promote your event in the right manner
Before the actual event commences, you will need to create some buzz around it. Make use of social media promotion tools on virtual platforms. You can also use your Intranet to promote the event. Make things more relatable to your audience by featuring families of your employees in your promo videos.