Should we be rushing to stage hybrid? Or should we be utilising all that virtual has to offer? Showcase’s Dave Harding-Lyle believes its the latter
Freedom day has come, restrictions have been lifted, people have started to jet-off abroad and working from the office is now back to being a thing. But are we really out of the Covid-19 woods?
We read everyday that somewhere in the world a new variant is causing cities and countries to go back into lockdown, so should we be taking a more cautious route back to normality?
Hybrid events are being talked about at the moment as the bridge between virtual and live and obviously they have their place in the event calendar. We at Showcase have been approached regarding hybrid events, but is it a bit too early to start thinking about them?
Could it be that virtual events are as relevant as ever? In our opinion the answer is, yes. What’s the rush in returning to in-person events, when virtual events are still the safest way to operate and equally importantly, if created properly and the correct technology is employed, are as engaging as any other event medium.
So what goes into making a successful virtual event?
There’s no point in just having the technology, the event needs to be an interesting and well-run event. The platform technology that hosts the event needs to be completely flexible, so it can be tailored to the event.
I would suggest using an on-line platform that best mimics a traditional event. Look for one that gives you: pre-launch marketing, registration, exhibition, live stage, exhibitors and visitor tracking & analytics, polling, live Q&A, chats and sponsorship.
A platform that can be made fully e-commerce would be a bonus so if you want to sell tickets for your event. Basically my advice it to treat your virtual event in the same way you would a traditional live event.
One of the benefits of a virtual event is on-demand. With a worldwide event it’s difficult with time zones to pick a time that suits everyone, so another important element when planning your virtual event is to use a platform that gives you on-demand immediately after the event. That way no one feels like a second class citizen.
People can sometimes forget the benefits of virtual, health and safety aside, and I think one of the main ones is post-show statistics.
With virtual, because everyone is watching the event the same way, ie virtually, then getting post-show statistics should be easier. I would recommend using software that gives you this data in useful easy-to-read format, as apart from being easier to digest, it can also form the basis of your post-show report to sponsors and stakeholders. Who doesn’t love the hard work being done for them?
We at Showcase appreciate the benefits that hybrid events bring, we are just reminding people not to ditch virtual completely.
In a world where travel, sharing the same space with strangers and socialising are still not the normal, it’s important to remember that there is still a very effective way to launch your product, meet, inform and share ideas and that in our mind is a virtual event.