Showcase managing director Ben Collings advocates taking a more straightforward approach to getting the best out of virtual or hybrid events.
Live events’ return might be on the horizon, (fingers crossed for 17 May), but most people I speak to within the industry agree that hybrid and virtual events are here to stay.
Over the past year, we’ve learnt that what makes these events really work is to make life easy and simple for yourself. Not out of laziness, but because by doing so ensures a smoothly run, engaging event.
One of the main ways you can do this is to try and find a provider and venue that can facilitate everything you want and need – all under one roof. This not only saves you time, but simplifies logistics and reduces the chances of the brief ‘being lost in translation’.
Hotels make great hosts, not just for guests, but for events too. Seek out one that can either accommodate a live stream studio, or has one that you can use.
This means you are not lugging round all your expensive equipment from one location to another, so reducing the risk of damage as well as not having to start from scratch creating a studio every time you start work on a new virtual or hybrid event.
What would be really good is to find a venue that has enough space to not only hold a live stream studio but a green screen studio too. This makes your life so much easier, as you are not wasting time darting between the two and it makes communication between the two disciplines easier. Being in the same location enables improved communication, giving you a better result both creatively and technically.
At the moment, it is obviously important to use somewhere that complies to all the latest Covid-related guidances, I know that these will reduce as we come out of lockdown, but my guess is that they are not going to disappear overnight.
Find a hotel or similar venue that can offer you Covid-compliant rooms that your clients or clients’ clients can use if they want or need to be involved with filming and streaming. Such rooms should feel a lot safer and more inspiring than some of the makeshift studios I’ve seen.
Talking of space leads me to hybrid.
Obviously not happening at the moment, but when restrictions ease, hybrid events, in my opinion are going to come back with a bang. So you need to find a venue that will look after your VIPs and invited guests, an added benefit if they are in the same location as your studios.
It’s not just the venue that can make your life easier, another important element is the online platform you choose.
My advice is to choose one that replicates a live event experience as close as possible. It will help lift your virtual or hybrid event to the next level, with little input from yourselves.
There are platforms out there that can offer pre-launch marketing, registration, exhibition, live stage, exhibitors and visitor tracking analytics, polling, live Q&A, chats and sponsorship.
Also, try and source one that can be aligned with your company’s branding – the bespoke approach is hard to beat.
Ideally you also want a platform that tracks where the delegate has been and presents this information in easy-to-read charts – this saves you time and energy and your clients in turn can use this digestible data in their presentations to stakeholders and sponsors.
Easy for you, as it’s all done for you and also makes you look good. Never a bad thing.