Originally, as an event manager, you only had to think about one audience when planning an event. Today, event managers often have to provide value not only to an in-person, but also a virtual audience
Below, we look at how much event management has changed in recent years, in addition to why some associations are hesitant to embrace digital.
How the Role of Event Manager has Changed
An event manager holds a variety of hats, from overseeing the design, set-up, and execution of events, to analyzing the data after the fact. The introduction of virtual and hybrid events has introduced even more required tools in your event manager toolbox. We’ve highlighted some below:
1. New Technology
As the events industry continues to embrace virtual and hybrid events, you’ll need to learn new technologies while still providing value to attendees, in addition to keeping up-to-date with future technological developments and trends.
Even as people start to move back to in-person, many organizations are continuing to offer a virtual component. Hybrid events require you to examine two separate audiences – virtual and in-person – and meet the needs of each.
That’s why, as an event manager, it’s beneficial to choose a virtual or hybrid event platform that’s intuitive and easy to use. Not only because it creates a seamless experience for all attendees, but it also takes a part of the load off your shoulders, allowing you to focus on the event itself.
2. Data analytics
Data analytics is yet another skillset event managers must learn to be successful going forward. A huge benefit of virtual and hybrid events is that you’re able to collect more data than at physical events alone.
By embracing data analytics, you’ll gain valuable information on the preferences and behaviors of your audience, exhibitor engagement, attendee volume, and more. By tracking and analyzing event data, you can plan how to better meet the needs of your virtual attendees in the future.
The right all-in-one virtual or hybrid event platform can help you manage your online events and attendee data.
3. Understanding the Attendee Experience
Traditionally, when planning a venue, event managers focused on catering services, room sizes, room sets, signage, etc. The shift into virtual at the height of the pandemic caused the focus of event planners to shift as well, to finding ways to keep virtual events engaging and of value to the attendees.
As people start moving back to in-person events, many are choosing to continue to offer a virtual component in addition to the physical. With this shift to hybrid, you not only have to focus on the needs of attendees in the physical venue, but also in a virtual venue – not to mention bridging the gap between the two.
For one particular event, you may find that the virtual audience wants shorter sessions spread out over several days, whereas the in-person audience wants longer sessions over a shorter period of time. As an event manager today, you have to look at the needs of both audiences, creating the best experience for everyone.
The hybrid event platform you choose is just as important as the physical venue. The right platform can provide a streamlined experience for not only the attendees, but also the speakers and exhibitors, in addition to being able to bridge the gap between both virtual and in-person audiences.
Why Some Are Hesitant to Go Virtual
More data analytics, a wider reach in audience – what’s there not to like about virtual events?
Although there are definite benefits to virtual and hybrid events, some organizations are still nervous to embrace them. One major reason is a fear that virtual attendees will cannibalize overall attendance. In reality, offering a virtual component to your event opens the door to a wider audience of people who wouldn’t have otherwise attended the physical event.
You’ll always have people who prefer to be in the middle of the event and learn better face-to-face, just like there will always be people who prefer to learn virtually or can’t attend an in-person event, whether it’s because of health issues, or just an overall inability to travel due to work or parenting obligations.
Being well equipped to meet the needs of both audiences is essential to putting on a successful hybrid event.
Will you Embrace Virtual?
The shift from in-person to virtual and hybrid can seem like a daunting task, though you lose out by not taking the plunge. Just the value of the available data alone makes virtual events worth the effort – data that’s valuable for planning future events and meeting the needs of your audience.
If you’re looking to embrace virtual events, the first step is choosing the right virtual event platform that meets your needs, while providing a valuable and engaging experience for attendees, exhibitors, vendors, and speakers alike.