5 Trends for Virtual and Hybrid Events

The global economy, and almost every business sector, has been dealt a blow by Coronavirus in 2020. While most sectors have been negatively affected, some have suffered more than others. The events industry was hit hard by the pandemic with over 70% of the UK’s planned events for 2020 being cancelled or postponed. According to a report by Data Connectors and NowSourcing, the global events industry is worth $1.5 trillion per year. In addition, direct spending on airfare, hotel stays, dining and transportation are responsible for generating more than $1 trillion annually. If postponed events do proceed later in the year, or in early 2021, the likelihood is reduced attendance and footfall until the spread of the virus is under control and public and consumer confidence increases.

While the events industry has faced significant challenges this year, it has also been a revolutionary time for the sector with the significant rise in popularity of digital and virtual events. Video communications platforms Zoom and Slack are estimated to be worth $50billion more since the Coronavirus pandemic started, and a recent study conducted by the PCMA Education Foundation found that 67% of respondents expected to leverage technology to remotely participate in events for the next three years. The popularity of these digital solutions, however temporary, has seen a drastic increase in delegate uptake and participation in the first half of 2020 in events such as online webinars, seminars, workshops, facility tours, conferences, and trade shows.

The use of event technology such as digital registration processes, event marketing software, event-specific mobile apps, and digital event entertainment such as branded photo booth hire in London, was steadily increasing in popularity in recent years. However, the forced shift in 2020 to digital and virtual only events has resulted in creative and innovative event solutions that have been adopted and rolled out across entire industry sectors, and among demographics who previously would have been adverse to online only events.

Going forward, as we emerge from lockdown restrictions and begin to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, it is predicted that in-person events will see a surge in popularity as people – who are naturally social creatures – crave and appreciate more than ever before in-person interactions and networking. However, for a wide variety of reasons, individuals will also have grown to appreciate the cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and flexibility of digital and virtual events, so it is more likely that events in the future will require a blended approach to benefit from the positive aspects of hybrid events.

Based on current trends and behaviours within the events industry, we’ve compiled five key trends we think are going to have a lasting and long-term impact on the sector for in-person, digital, and hybrid events going forward:

  1. Live Streaming

For those who are unable to attend an event for a range of factors such as clashing commitments, or expensive travel and accommodation costs, live streaming provides the opportunity for delegates to benefit from ‘attending’ the event, without having to be physically present. For events in very large venues, live streaming conference session and keynote addresses on screens or in hubs throughout the venue also enables more participants to engage without having to run from one side of the venue to another.

It’s worth noting that this is not as simple as live streaming an event on Facebook from your mobile phone. Proper investment will be required in the right technology, equipment, and likely a specialist technology and communications company to ensure live streaming and any other digital interactions at your event are streamlined, seamless, and integrated.

  1. Enhanced Experiences

Attending an in-person event is all about the experience. The attendee experience can be enhanced in a wide variety of ways through personalised communications, at-event entertainment, and through engaging attendees in interactive experiences. A recent survey of event planners found 78% placed immersive experiences at #1 above all other types of live entertainment. This can include photo booth hire London, escape rooms, and activities that are specifically designed to engage an individual or group directly.

Enhanced experience also includes streamlined and simplified processes – registration should be a breeze, event itineraries and maps should be easily accessible, and post-event follow-up should be seamless. Get these things right to make sure your event stands out.

  1. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

While these technologies are available, they are not frequently used – yet. As they become more accessible expect to see more projections, 360-degree installations, virtual reality headsets and demos, and a myriad of other ways to educate, entertain and delight event attendees.

  1. Data Security

With increased digital and virtual event technology, including hybrid events, more personal and real-time data will be collected than ever before. While this can be incredibly useful when utilised correctly and offer a greater analysis and return-on-investment, with increased data collection comes the need for increased data security.

This is important on a practical level to ensure compliance with legislation, but it is also important for delegates to know that data security is taken seriously and that their data is being adequately protected. A 2020 report by PWC highlighted that 84% of consumers will gladly take their business elsewhere if they felt they couldn’t trust a business with their data.

  1. Inclusivity

Just as in-person events should be as inclusive and accessible as possible, so should digital and virtual events. This can include the use of clear language and instructions, appropriate font style and size, good colour contrast, and the use of sub-titles and translators. In addition, the same considerations should be given to the diversity of panels and speakers.

Let’s engage your audience and drive your brand forward with the latest Event Rhino Virtual Photo & Video Experiences!

Our new virtual photo marketing experiences create virtual events and supporting digital marketing campaign to deliver:

– Brand awareness

– Product education

– Consumer engagement

– User generated content

– Data collection

– Drive sales

Virtual Events – Utilizing our software and the advancement with photo marketing we can make virtual events even more interactive and most importantly measurable!

For example: A sports clubs New Kit Launch

The brand launch and host an online virtual launch party using technology such as Zoom or

Google Teams. Customers are invited to the party via their social media sites and email marketing.

Once they join the party, they are shown the new product and offered the chance to win prizes by taking part in the virtual photo experience!

HOW IT WORKS

– Click the link

– Use the brand photo booth on their device to take their selfie

– Receive their branded selfie by mobile or email

– Upload it to social media with the campaign hashtag

– Scratch and win during the event

– Receive an exclusive discount code for money off the product in the final photo received

POST EVENT RESULTS

We show you the return on investment with a full data report including:

– Number of people in attendance

– Number of photo uploads

– Compliant email and phone numbers for re marketing

– Social reach using the event hashtag

– use of the discount code

Hybrid Events – So let’s bring together an instore experience with virtual for the New Kit Launch!

Hosting an instore event and bringing together industry leaders and some of the players

for talks and Q&A’s (social distancing taken into account) or these people can be in multiple locations, and having the event streamed online for customers to join.

The launch will be pre promoted on social media and via digital marketing platforms – company website, blogs, emails etc. Launch posts will introduce what people can expect from the event and create a reason to attend.

Customers join the event online via a digital platform and enjoy the education on the new product before being invited to the virtual, interactive booth for the chance to win a products etc and receive their discount code for the new kit.

HOW IT WORKS

– Click the link

– Use the brand photo booth on their device to take their selfie

– Receive their branded selfie by mobile or email

– Upload it to social media with the campaign hashtag

– Scratch and win during the event

– Receive an exclusive discount code for money off the product in the final photo received

You can supply the client with the following results post event:

– Number of people in attendance

– Number of photo uploads

POST EVENT RESULTS

We show you the return on investment with a full data report including:

– Compliant email and phone numbers for re marketing

– Social reach using the event hashtag

– Sales via the discount code

READY TO TAKE YOUR BRAND OR EVENT VIRTUAL? CONTACT OUR CREATIVE TEAM TODAY!

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