The pandemic upended the events industry like nothing before and, as a result, businesses, organisations, and event organisers needed to shift to virtual events or risk losing revenue and audiences.
But with a new normal emerging, there’s huge opportunity for businesses in the post-pandemic era when it comes to events. Sure, in the first part of the pandemic, people were looking for temporary solutions to move their physical events to the virtual, but new innovation and technology has meant that we’re faced with an exciting new time where the virtual is a real option, and the world of hybrid is taking shape.
How will the events industry look post-pandemic?
Virtual events were a band-aid solution as in-person events became temporarily unsafe, but now, it’s impossible to ignore their many undeniable benefits.
Just some of the reasons virtual events are cost-effective are that:
- You don’t need to pay for operational expenses, such as venue hire and equipment rental.
- It’s not limited to a physical space or location, meaning you can invite more attendees and special guests from around the globe. This will make your event more engaging and diverse and also increase sales and drive revenue.
- Virtual events allow you to collect and analyse data for more optimised operations and improved audience targeting, in a way physical events just can’t.
- And for large events, these benefits are even more prominent!
Hybrid events are another event form that organisations are considering. It combines the advantages of in-person and virtual events and is ideal for situations that still need face-to-face contact.
For example, you can host keynote speeches online, while still having a physical space for product promotions. This also gives businesses the flexibility of changing their event to 100% virtual in case of an emergency.
So, with the event industry irrevocably changed by the pandemic, what are the skills that event managers need for success in this new landscape?
What event management skills do you need in the new normal?
While the core principles of event planning remain the same, you'll still need to learn new skills to remain competitive and relevant as an event manager.
The pandemic accelerated the development of virtual event platforms and tools, with numbers skyrocketing from 15 products to 67 within six months, and it just keeps growing! So as the industry embraces the virtual and hybrid, you’ll need to be prepared to learn new ways of working and new technologies to make sure your event runs smoothly, as well as keeping up to date with new developments and future technologies.
You’ll also need to be open to experimentation, approaching events in a new way, so you know what works for your audiences and brand, and what doesn’t. By doing so, you’ll be better prepared to take on the new changes and disruptions brought by technological advancements in the virtual events space.
That’s why choosing an events platform that’s intuitive and easy to use for everyone is so important, not only because it helps attendees have a seamless experience, but for you as the organiser it’s essential to be able to rely on your platform.
Understanding user experience
There’s no denying the importance of the platform working for you when it comes to building and hosting your virtual event, but it’s essential that it works in the same way for your attendees, exhibitors and team members who will be using the platform too. User experience across the board is essential, so just like when you choose a physical space to host your event, your choice of platform has to work for you and your attendees. Even more so when it comes to hosting a large event, because you need to make sure your platform can host a larger number of attendees and this is a key part of understanding user experience.
You can hold dry runs with speakers so that they can understand how to operate the technology, but you can’t hold dry runs with audiences. It might be an idea to think about who your target audiences are and their technological knowledge by conducting surveys or holding small events to test the platform you choose. That way, you avoid audience frustration or low turnout rates, because attendees couldn’t understand how to navigate your platform.
If that’s not possible, be sure to jump on demo calls when you’re starting out with the virtual world as they allow you to see immediately how it would work for your audience as well as you.
It’s a huge benefit when embracing the virtual events space that you’re able to collect more data than with physical events, but of course this brings the need for what may be a whole new set of skills - data analytics. And when it comes to large events with a bigger spend, this knowledge is even more powerful as you’ll be able to show your event’s ROI.
You’ll have more data on the preferences and behaviours of your audiences, attendee volume, exhibitor engagement and more, but you need to understand what data and metrics are important to measure an event's success, and which are not. By being able to filter the data that you need from the huge amount of information you collect, you’ll be able to optimise your profits and more accurately target the right audiences in the future.
If you want to check out some tools which can help you manage your online events and attendee data more easily, we’ve put together a guide to the top resources for virtual event management.
Virtual community management
One of the benefits of community events when they go virtual is that all participants have the same opportunities to be seen and heard. Audiences can easily ‘speak up’ on a virtual platform with tools like hand raising to then directly ask the speaker questions, instead of waiting to be spotted by an usher to have a chance at the mic.
However, this could well become chaotic as voices can overlap and cancel each other when there are multiple speakers. You’ll need to more actively manage the community and make sure that participants know and follow the right protocols and etiquette for the event.
You’ll also play a bigger role in managing participant discussions and engagement as some event platforms allow you to delete, hide, or reply to audience comments and messages. Attendee guidance and instructions on how to engage with the platform might be a good way to mitigate confusion or differing behaviours from attendees.
How the right online events tool can be a partner in the age of virtual
A recent survey by Eventsforce reveals that:
“53% of event managers aren’t confident in operating online events.”
This comes as no big surprise, as many event managers are used to managing events in person, with little help from technology, and many have been thrown into a new way of working that’s changed their role in many ways.
However, now that virtual events are becoming a permanent addition to the event industry, mastering the virtual event world is no longer an option, but a necessity, to remain competitive and relevant. And with the right tool, you’ll master it in no time.
Tame is a virtual event platform that allows you to effectively build and host virtual events. We help you create your own event website and registration page, all fully branded and meeting your needs.
We also provide virtual rooms, so your attendees can start their own conversations while engaging with the event and we can gather data to give you smart insights into your event , meaning you can more accurately measure the success of your event.
If you want to create engaging virtual events, give us a shout to book a demo.