HOW TO CHOOSE A HYBRID EVENT PARTNER, NOT JUST A PLATFORM

In today’s rapidly evolving post-Covid business environment, successful event planning requires extensive research, collaboration, and specialized knowledge of a variety of platforms, technologies and modalities. The most engaging, inclusive and well-attended events are designed from the ground up to be omnichannel experiences that provide both virtual and in-person attendance options, commonly known as “hybrid.” 

This added complexity means that it’s nearly impossible for organizers to keep up with, manage and implement all the necessary event technology tools on their own, in addition to the typical physical venue-related planning. Having an experienced and knowledgeable virtual/hybrid event partner that understands how to design, develop, plan, and execute an omnichannel event is key to a successful outcome for the sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, and the organization itself. 

So, what does this mean for your next event? It’s imperative to choose a full-service virtual/hybrid event partner that understands your expanded audio-visual needs, provides creative attendee engagement strategies, and has a comprehensive portfolio of virtual event platforms and solutions that integrate easily with your registration systems and on-site partners.

One reason this is so important is that expectations have changed a great deal. At the onset of the pandemic, audiences were generally patient in accepting a less-than-perfect virtual experience. With the successes, learnings and challenges of the past 18 months, the bar has been raised and attendee expectations are now much higher—especially for a paid event. While digital conferencing has become very familiar, technical snafus and poor quality in a virtual conference or trade show is no longer so easily forgiven.

Virtual and digital event attendees have become much more savvy, and now have very high expectations with the presentation of content, which must have the ability to hold their attention and keep them engaged—often for multiple days. For event planners to achieve a strong ROI on their platform investment, as well as for attendees to realize their goals for attending a hybrid event, the content needs to be compelling, the broadcast quality needs to be high, the attendee experience needs to be curated, and the digital platform and physical venue need to work in lockstep to create a harmonious combined experience.

When comparing hybrid event platforms, make sure to look beyond merely the technology features and the price point. To use a physical event analogy, hotels are all the same on the surface, in that they all have individual guest rooms as well as meeting/convention spaces. The difference is in the “hospitality” and service received from the staff. From venue to venue, there is a tremendous difference with the support level (both set up and during live days), quality of hosting infrastructure, capacity/scale, support for attendees, security, ADA features and the overall experience delivered to organizers and attendees. The same goes for hybrid event conference providers. Many have similar features, but some leave you on your own to figure out how to implement them. A true event partner works with you through the planning, design and deployment of each phase of the event to ensure that it goes off without a hitch.

When selecting a virtual/hybrid event platform partner, it’s important to look for a company whose team members are experienced in both virtual and in-person events and can navigate both environments with ease. They should have the ability be an integral part of your event design team and work closely with all of your on-site partners, including the hotel or venue event coordinator, audio visual team, and logistics. Make sure they understand your attendee, exhibitor, and revenue goals, so that they can help you design an engaging, interactive, and seamless omnichannel event experience.

Ultimately, we are all in this brave new world together, figuring out our respective new roles in the next stage of innovation for the event industry, and helping each other along the path as we learn and grow. When you are navigating the requirements for your next events, researching scalable, efficient options, and searching for expanded expertise, partner with the experienced digital event architects and virtual technologists at UgoVirtual. Contact us at www.ugovirtual.com to learn more.

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