Are you as excited as we are to be getting back to in-person events?
While virtual continues to work wonders in delivering engaging experiences to remote attendees, we’re delighted that in-person events are back, and giving event planners even more choice in how they connect to their attendees.
If you’re returning to in-person events a lot has changed in the last two years; it’s fair to say we’re not picking up from where we left off. That said, you can still expect to see some familiar event tech and if you’re working with an experienced service provider, they’ll give you all the help you need to get the most from the new in-person event conditions.
Let’s take a look at what you can expect back onsite:
We’ve missed the buzz of in-person events and want to get back to them as safely and confidently as possible.
It goes without saying that we’re all very virus conscious now, so it makes sense your attendees will be expecting a safe event with impeccable hygiene procedures and practices. They’ll also be looking for sensible room capacities and provisions to support social distancing.
Contactless badge-printing kiosks are a great way to illustrate your safety credentials and get the event off to the right start with your delegates. Kiosk numbers can be scaled to ensure queues are kept short and provide enough room for social distancing.
Using QR codes makes the check-in and badge printing process 100% touch-free. For on-the-day arrivals or those without a QR code, kiosks can process badges using a touchscreen. Just make sure you have team members on hand to disinfect screens after each use and have hand sanitisers available for people after they’ve collected their badge.
Alongside kiosks, the trusted event app will negate the need for paper brochures, maps, and abstracts – and subsequently, avoid having areas of congestion where people collect printed material. A high-quality app can contain every piece of information attendees need to engage with your event, from personalised agendas to document storage for text-heavy abstracts.
Tip: provide attendees with access to antiseptic screen wipes so they can keep their mobile devices super clean throughout the event.
Don’t worry, people aren’t tired of events but they might find in-person events more draining than they used to.
Most attendees will have had a two-year absence from in-person events. If they have attended any events, it’s likely they did so from the comfort of their own home for virtual broadcasts. Sessions would have been shorter, there would have been plenty of opportunities to take breaks from the event environment, and the sensory experience would have been very different, e.g., no large crowds and no big venues with a multitude of audio and visual stimuli to process at the same time. Oh, and attendees could dress in uber comfy clothes with a high elastic and fleece percentage (from the waist down at least)!
Helping attendees readjust to the in-person experience will make sure it’s not so overwhelming that it sends them running back to the home office comfort zone.
Think about mirroring the design of virtual events. Shorter sessions with decent breaks in between will help maintain attention and keep focus sharp. While a return to face-to-face is a critical element of what we’ve missed from virtual events, too much after a long absence may feel super tiring.
Tip: encourage attendees to access their event app ahead of time to familiarise themselves with the agenda and plan their time to avoid feeling overwhelmed by session and activity choice.
Time to Network
Networking and creating shared experiences have been two of the biggest challenges in delivering virtual events. There are some awesome innovations from virtual event platforms that will address this (watch this space!), but right now we’re craving the spark of making a valuable new contact, or the serotonin hit of bumping into one of our peers or colleagues face-to-face.
While it’s important to be sensitive to attendees’ (potentially) limited energy reserves at in-person events, don’t think this means networking sessions should be minimised or scrapped. Naturally, one of the biggest draws of in-person events is seeing and meeting people, both existing contacts and new connections.
For attendees venturing back into an onsite event, offering them a range of networking options is key to keeping them safe and comfortable. While classic networking events, such as pre-dinner drinks, still have their place, some attendees may prefer to connect via the event app’s private messaging or group chat channels.
Tip: an event app that provides a meeting booking feature helps delegates manage their time and make targeted connections that are mutually beneficial.
The last two years have been all about the F-word! Flexibility was the enduring theme for event organisers as they moved to virtual broadcasts, live streams and multi-time zones to deliver events to remote attendees.
Although we’re back onsite, attendees are keen to have the flexibility that gives them choice about how and when they engage with event content.
Hybrid technology is the clear solution where some attendees are unable to attend the event in-person. This might be due to geography, or maybe you want to offer a remote option to suit attendees’ personal circumstances, e.g., working parents, or people with a disability. Using a hybrid solution, like CrowdComms’ true hybrid platform, connects remote and onsite attendees via the same event app. Whether onsite or remote, attendees have access to the same content and can network in-person and digitally from their smartphone or desktop/laptop.
Tip: with last-minute changes still a reality for event planners, choosing a hybrid platform means genuine flex and responsiveness when you need an alternative delivery option…fast.
The ability for the event-attendee relationship to endure long after the event has finished is one of the most exciting event tech developments from the last few years.
Planners can now extend the reach of onsite events beyond the event duration thanks to innovative features such as CrowdComms’ video module library. Delivering content-on-demand, much like a streaming service, means attendees can access pre-event welcome videos, and pre-recorded/recorded event content (such as speaker sessions and the keynote address) whenever it suits.
Whether attendees missed a key session, or want to revisit specific content, video-on-demand allows them to watch and re-watch as many times as they like, round-the-clock.
And it’s not just event-specific videos, planners can post relevant content year-round. From TED Talk style addresses to panel Q&As; planners can use the event app and video library to establish a go-to information hub with content curated to meet attendees’ professional development, education, and networking needs.
It’s an effective way to keep the attendee connection humming throughout the year and establish an investment and interest in future onsite events.
Tip: to help plan ongoing content delivery, use event surveys to find out the content attendees are most interested in.
The Right Partner
While navigating the new on-site event landscape might feel daunting, working with trusted and experienced service providers will help you understand how to maximise the benefits of new features, and re-connect you with familiar tech.
We recommend partnering with providers, like CrowdComms, who have extensive and proven experience delivering onsite events and know how to combine trusted, legacy event tech with exciting new features that will help deliver an incredible on-site experience to your attendees.
Tip: look for providers who deliver exceptional onsite service. Having a support team on the ground to help manage live streaming, badge printing kiosks, and event app queries really takes the pressure off on event day.