The pandemic has unrolled a world where digital transformation is key for survival. Regardless of the industry, you are part of, interactions must be moved to digital platforms, especially in the event industry, where attendance is usually in larger numbers.
Hosting virtual events is not as easy as sending out zoom invites. Hundreds of variables come into play – starting from participants being hesitant to attend a virtual event to ensuring access to all participants. Adding on, there are other variables that aren’t in the control of the event management team, such as laptops running out of charge, microphones and earphones being faulty, or even noise from the participant’s or speaker’s surroundings. Keeping this aside, it is imperative to digitally transform every stage of the virtual event to provide your participants’ and speakers’ a seamless transition.
Before we transform every stage, let us delve into the event industry’s broader facets, and how to transform them digitally.
1. USER EXPERIENCE
The success of a virtual event lies in the participant’s experience. One of the key objectives of an online event must garner as much attendance as possible.
Since the digital transition has been relatively new, people would still be skeptical about attending online events. There are people out there who aren’t as tech-savvy as the rest of us. The event must cater to their requirements as well. Technology or tools used at every stage must be intuitive and straightforward enough for anyone to get through with minimal or zero assistance. This way, participants will trust you considering the effort put across to ensure their convenience.
The future of the event industry lies in technologies such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. It is time that the industry harnesses immersive experiences starting now. Incorporate immersive experience sessions to guide participants through the technology and its experience – this way, you ensure your participants are ready for your future events.
Even though VR and AR have mostly been used for promotional purposes, the gaming industry have been involved in hosting all VR games for a while now. VR League is one such community that hosts championships for Esports. That’s right, all participants take part in the event in virtual reality. Few of the esports played at VR Leagues are Echo Arena, Onwards, Alyx, and so on. Grab a sneak peek into their fabulous world.
2. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND MACHINE LEARNING
Many speak about AI and ML taking over the world in the future. Well, news flash – it already has! AI and ML have made their way into every aspect of our day-to-day lives to collect data and learn from them. These codes are so advanced that they can predict our actions well before we know about them.
The event industry can tap into this data and make experiences more personalized. Taking feedback would be easier – deploy a chatbot to your attendees instead of them filling out forms. The data collected by the AI can help in crafting agendas and objectives for upcoming online events.
Deploying chatbots on your websites on landing pages or even on your Facebook page, and collect information when people interact with the chatbots. For instance, 42chat is one such chatbot that can be deployed real-time during your event or conference and have conversations with your attendees.
With that, let’s move on to digitally transforming events.
3. PLANNING THE EVENT
With the whole world behind doors and looking out through their screens, teams must collaborate online.
Event experiences will be seamless for the participants if it is seamless for the team. Speaker Engage does just that. Event organizers can create, collaborate, and craft events seamlessly through Speaker Engage – an intuitive cloud-hosted event management platform. It has everything from speaker and sponsor management to communication to content curation to social media campaign tracker, and so much more. Using Speaker Engage can not only move your team online but do so with ease and poise. Adding to that, it can also save you loads of time. Speaker Engage can also store documents and contacts within it, by the way.
4. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT
As mentioned before, User Experience plays a huge role in an event’s success. This is where programmatic advertising software comes in.
Programmatic advertising enables you to post ads with little or no human interaction. The software also allows event organizes to laser target their audience and advertise directly to them. With budget and ad-targeting algorithms, the software will recommend the best-performing sites to post ads – based on historical data, while eliminating unnecessary media spending.
While posting ads, take into consideration the engagement quotient of the ads. It must be designed to provoke action from the viewer. Predictive analysis and AI can help pinpoint the different types of interactions or engagements that work with your audience.
Adroll is one such software that collects data, analyses it and suggests better marketing decisions from targeting to placement to pointing out better performing ad copies.
Getting your event noticed has to do more than interactions and engagement. Take a look at how you can get your event noticed.
5. SENDING OUT INVITES
E-invites go from e-mail marketing to filling forms to automated curated experiences. From filling out registration details to uploading pictures and downloading the event schedule – all of it needs to go online. Preferably on a single platform that is easy to use and share.
At the invite stage, it is most crucial to establishing trust with your participants. The more comfortable and more user-friendly the invite and the following registration process is, the more they would want to attend more of your online events.
Along with the invite, share a few videos or talks that are either educational or fun – your call. The aim is to keep them entertained and engaged. Speaker Engage has a few in-built templates to send out as invites to your potential attendees.
6. LIVE AT THE EVENT
Once an event goes live, the need of the hour is to keep them entertained and engaged. Agendas must be charted out to ensure the same.
Technologies are available that can track a person’s body language and eye movement to calculate their interest. Collecting this data would allow event organizers to customize their events further.
While moving events online, interactions must also be moved online. Online chatrooms and lounges must be incorporated to keep your attendees mingling and socializing with each other. It is here that you can experiment with AR and VR tech – guiding your attendees through the experience to ensure zero hand-holding in the next similar experience. These experiences can be improved and scaled, as suggested by your AI through the chatbots that collect feedback.
Airmeet, a virtual event hosting platform, allows attendees to be seated(virtually) in a lounge and interact with other attendees. The speakers and event organizers can congregate in a separate backstage area and they can also visit the lounge to interact with their attendees.
7. AFTER EVENT EXPERIENCES
Even with offline events, there were always after parties – so why not have it online? Organize a simple catch up session after your events, host an online concert, or even a movie screening. These after event social experiences grant the attendees a peek into what they may expect from the next event you organize.
Always make sure you take feedback from the attendees. Conduct surveys that can help you tweak and improve on your attendees’ event experience.
With all that said and done, the future of the vent industry is banking on hybrid events. With several countries lifting restrictions, people can attend events in small numbers. At the same time, events must also be run online for the rest of the participants to attend. This hybrid model ensures that your events have high attendance and reaches people across the globe.
With rampant digital transformation, event organizers have to adapt and evolve at every stage to dish out better user experiences for their attendees.