InEvent Fest is a virtual summit bringing together thousands of event professionals, first-class speakers, and insightful panels.
This year, the virtual event delved into the burning issues in the event industry. It covered the best practice strategies for pricing, the latest event tech boosting attendee engagement, and the predictions on the trends that lie ahead in 2021.
So, we have highlighted the key takeaways from the sessions featuring thought-provoking discussions and best advice from experts. If you didn’t have the chance to join the event, you can watch the sessions on-demand here.
Data is a key differential of virtual events
Contrasting with in-person events, data for virtual events is richer and clearer. As Jason Sick outlined at InEvent Fest, a key benefit of virtual events is the detailed event analytics.
Indeed, virtual event platforms commonly offer data such as the number of users at each session, the average viewing time, and the number of interactions (comments, poll responses, etc).
Alongside that, the data is typically faster and easier to gather. Analytics are directly available on virtual event platforms and can be accessible during the event. Crucially, this allows instant monitoring of attendees’ behavior.
In turn, these insights enable event organizers to act quickly, reengaging attendees if live users start dwindling away.
And, they offer valuable information post-event, signaling what type of content captures the audience’s attention. Then, organizers can shape future events according to tangible data on what has worked in the past.
Consequently, event organizers can demonstrate a more accurate and tangible ROI to the company’s upper management. With improved post-event reporting and specific metrics, organizers can not only show how many people they attracted but also how engaged they were.
High-quality production should be a priority
Production quality has often been overlooked by virtual event organizers, especially during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. That has resulted in poor quality events, because of blurry cameras, bad microphones, and unstable internet connections.
That should not come as a surprise, as organizers have, for the most part, slashed the audio-visual production budget and left quality control to the event speakers. And, unsurprisingly, most speakers do not possess professional-level equipment to deliver the desired quality.
Subsequently, some event organizers have addressed these issues and production quality has progressively climbed to the top of their priorities. This has translated into the hiring of technical producers in-house or of dedicated event agencies and service providers.
The importance of proper planning has come to the fore. Rehearsals testing audio-visual equipment are becoming increasingly common. And, careful consideration is being given to elements such as camera angle and lighting.
Additionally, ideas such as speaker kits – sent out to the event speakers or rented for a limited time – have flourished and dramatically increased events´ production quality.
Virtual events are not always cheap: price them strategically
With virtual events, the assumption has been made that costs will invariably be lower than for in-person events. Indeed, elements such as food and beverage or venue costs are cut off the event budget.
However, after months of experience organizing virtual events, many event professionals have come to a completely different conclusion. To offer an all-round engaging experience, akin to the one delivered at in-person events, event organizers should keep up investment or even increase it.
This investment could be achieved through personalized merchandise boxes, high-quality customizable platforms, or immersive technology such as 3D virtual halls.
In that context, organizers should consider pricing comprehensively. Setting up a price should not be a random action but rather the result of a clear business strategy.
Mahogany Jones, founder at Event Specialists & EventPreneur Club and speaker at InEvent Fest outlined strategies to set ticket pricing. She covered options such as niche pricing, competitor based pricing, increasing as people register and pay what you can.
Register here to watch her session, where she examined the pros and cons of each of the pricing options.
Event tech can push the attendee experience to new levels
Throughout 2020, webinars and virtual events have boomed. Event managers have progressively found ways to engage their audiences, embedding features such as polls and networking into their events.
However, some professionals have shifted their focus, making efforts to offer distinct experiences through immersive technologies.
InEvent Fest featured impressive case studies on what event technology can achieve.
Ben Pidskalny, Vice President at SW Event Technology, displayed 3D lobbies, exhibit halls, e-commerce stores, and donation drives.
Mark Gordon, Director at Informa Exhibitions, showcased a 5-story virtual hotel. As avatars, attendees could explore the hotel in a video-game-like experience, built on CGI (computer-generated imagery).
These environments represented a new frontier, a solution to stand out from the crowd. They offer a solution to surpass Zoom fatigue and make people feel as if they are at a physical event.
Apart from elevating the attendee experience, these spaces constitute a valuable asset to attract sponsorship, since brands recognize them as a more creative way to showcase their products and services.
2021 will be the year of hybrid events
While 2020 was undoubtedly the year of virtual events, 2021 will be the year of hybrid. COVID-19 vaccines will roll out progressively, but a lot of people will remain cautious about going to large gatherings because of health concerns.
Added to that, the benefits of virtual events for both attendees and organizers are not going away.
For attendees, convenience will be prioritized, and many will think twice about traveling hundreds of miles to attend an in-person event.
For organizers, virtual events have attracted higher numbers of attendees from around the world and offered better event analytics and data.
However, as the InEvent Fest panel on Industry Trends emphasized, we are social creatures. A lot of people are still craving that incomparable face-to-face connection, and will go back to in-person events as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Therefore, the best approach going forward will be to combine the best of both worlds, virtual and in-person events.
An option could be to offer an exclusive in-person event to a select group of people and the virtual component to a broader audience.
Hybrid events will then boost the impact of an in-person event, bringing it to a larger audience and increasing its longevity after the event day.
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