7 Online Tools to Plan Your Next Hybrid Corporate Event in 2022
The pandemic made businesses rethink their corporate events and shift towards digitalizing them. Digital and hybrid events became their ultimate resorts to comply with social distancing restrictions and provide a seamless experience to the attendees.
In 2020, 71% of the global planners intended to continue with the virtual communication and networking strategy even when the government lifted these restrictions.
Why? The hybrid model offers more flexibility in terms of planning and makes the event accessible to all kinds of audiences. Moreover, the organizers found it to be more cost effective and marketable to garner the interest of their prospective customers.
What is a hybrid event?
A hybrid event accommodates both online and offline audiences. While the event takes place in a physical venue, it allows people to stream the event live and participate in event activities.
Apart from online and offline access to the event, a hybrid event offers connectivity and interaction between participants and hosts. This ensures that the participants get the most benefits from the events and distance doesn’t impact their experience.
The best hybrid corporate events have four things in common.
- They manage to keep both their online and offline audience engaged
- They offer instant support in the form of live chats to troubleshoot an issue during the event
- They have proper safety protocols in place for in person attendees
- They offer a seamless registration and check in process
- They provide a platform for attendees to network with one another
Types of online tools you need to host a hybrid corporate event
67% of planners consider technology one of their biggest roadblocks in organizing hybrid events! This includes security, access control, admission management, privacy, travel, and many other operations that are essential to function in a hybrid setup.
To plan and launch a successful hybrid corporate event, you need a stack of tools (both online and offline).
We’ll cover the different types of online tools (along with our recommendations) you need to make these events a success and get the maximum ROI.
1. Corporate travel management
Hosting a hybrid event requires you to make travel arrangements for your staff and guest speakers. Especially when the event is organized on a large scale, arranging travel for hundreds of employees is no joke when it comes to booking and managing the travel data of these employees.
Luckily, there are corporate travel services we can rely on to streamline this stressful process and manage expenses and reports like a pro. These tools come with a large inventory of travel and accommodation options and an intuitive design that allows easy booking.
- You get the best corporate deals
- The customer support is smooth
- More visibility and control over your business trips
- You can view and manage travelers’ data in real time
- You get instant invoices and customized reports for each traveler’s expenses
Often we end up spending hours on finding the best travel deals to fit our budget and guarantee comfort to the travelers.
With tools such as TravelPerk and AirBnB for Work, you get an inventory of booking options at your disposal, with everything displayed on the dashboard. Moreover, it’s much more convenient for finance teams to access expenditure reports and track bookings.
2. Event hosting platform
Of course, to pull off a successful hybrid event, you need a hosting platform that allows you to live stream the event and manage activities in the events all in one place. You need a platform where you can engage your audience with breakout sessions, polling, gamification, and more.
Many hybrid event platforms available today offer some or all of these features in one platform. Some are more suited for a virtual event, while some are more inclined to facilitate in-person meets.
While selecting an event hosting platform, ask yourself—what are the goals of this event, how many people are you accommodating, and what will be your key deliverables during the event?
Once you have the answers, choose a platform with features to keep your exhibitors, sponsors and attendees engaged. The tools must support live and on demand content and be easy to use.
Inevent is a virtual and hybrid event platform that offers tailored and customized solutions according to your requirements.
Apart from the basic video conferencing and breakout rooms features, you get access to all your attendees’ registration data and can update and manipulate event fields, schedules, speakers, ads, etc.
3. Presentation tools
No event is complete without a presentation. Although, it becomes difficult for your audience to follow through with a huge presentation, especially when they’ve had a day of attending events and workshops.
You must make these presentations interesting, so your audience is hooked from start to end.
Fortunately, some tools can help you add interesting elements to your presentation and make it more engaging. These tools can help you cut through awkward silences and ensure each person from your audience participates actively.
Mentimeter is one tool we love for creating interactive quizzes, polls, gifs, word clouds, real time QnAs and surveys.
The audience can use their smartphones or any device to participate in the activity, and you can visualize their response in real time. When your presentation is over, you can gather real time feedback from them and even compare this data to measure your performance.
4. Ice breaker and interactivity
Meetings and events can be one sided, provided there’s only the presenter delivering information, while there’s no sign of activity or response from the audience. Often the excitement for an event is limited to the first few presentations—post which the audience starts losing interest.
To get the momentum going, you can indulge your audience in team-building activities and games to create a highly interactive and fun environment. Do this in between meetings and events and meetings.
Moreover, conducting such activities in your company event will help your employees become more engaged in the workplace as they bond with their diverse teams. Naturally, a higher engagement will help you retain the best talents and create a more professional yet fun office environment.
Kahoot is an employee engagement app that helps you boost engagement with gamified content.
You can create a fun knowledge sharing environment with Kahoot and conduct many fun activities for your event attendees.
You can also check out Playmeo, which has a library of 100s of interactive and team building games library.
5. Messaging app
Running a hybrid event becomes a cakewalk when you have a centralized messaging system to provide real time updates and news about the event. Furthermore, it allows you to answer your attendees’ questions separately and connect with them before or after the event.
Moreover, you’ll have built a community of engaged and enthusiastic leads or employees looking to share ideas and build strong relationships.
Slack is your tool for real-time communication with your audience and makes it possible for you to solicit input and respond to inquiries.
It offers many features you may use for hybrid events in addition to chat. For small group talks, you have the voice and video call option.
Additionally, you may create channels, share files, and add reminders. Not to mention, their enormous GIF library is excellent for adding some fun and humor to your event.
6. Analytics and reporting
Collect information about the registrants from your registration portal and observe how they behave during the event. It helps you understand your event’s impact on them and if they found it beneficial.
You can also break down individual user experiences and compare attendee behavior to registration information like demographics, interests, and income level.
This data will help you strategically plan your sales and marketing efforts and get several rewards from your event. This is a terrific approach to assess the effectiveness of your event and determine how to streamline your business’s procedures. This is why a data analysis tool is essential.
Hubilo is an analytics platform that helps you get relevant insights to track your event’s success.
It provides data about your event, such as pre event analytics, during event analytics, and post event analytics. This helps you understand how engaged your audience was during registration and how they behaved during and after the event.
7. Wifi speed testing
A bad internet connection or network loss can be a huge deal breaker in a hybrid event. Not only will it disrupt the live streaming, but many of your in person equipment and systems would shut off too!
This is why it’s always recommended to have a backup connection for emergencies and keep tracking the internet speed with a testing tool.
Speedtest is a tool that helps you track your wifi speed in real time by measuring the speed between your device and the server.
This is the fastest way of checking your wifi speed so you can immediately act upon the resolution if the connection is weak.
Summing it up
As more and more organizations are shifting towards hybrid work culture, they’re quickly adapting to hybrid events too! Luckily, there are ample tools to help you organize these events the best way possible.
However, there are one-stop event marketing software that offer event professionals more tools to help them launch events from a single platform. With these platforms, you can select tools that fit your budget and satiate your requirement to host successful hybrid events and bring more ROI to your business.
Contributing Author – Deepali Kishtwal is an engineer-turned-freelance writer for B2B SaaS, writing actionable long-form content for marketing,