Audience engagement at virtual and hybrid events is the key to success and the only way to do that is to focus on the wants and needs of the customer. It's all about putting the customer first and creating community.
Vanessa Lovatt is the founder of Forte Futures. She has almost 20 years of experience in business-to-business events in a variety of areas, specializing in building engaged digital communities. During her career, she has served as Managing Director at three different companies and is an expert in marketing, community, and events.
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Taking Full Advantage of Virtual Events
Lovatt was producing virtual events long before the pandemic when they became a necessity. Lovatt and her team specialize in finding new and engaging ways to produce these events in order to prevent them from becoming repetitive or stale for the audience or clients.
A Less-is-More Approach
Virtual platforms have an abundance of features for a planner to use, but often less is more is the way to go. There is nothing worse than overwhelming the audience with options to choose from. In addition, the platform must offer a visually-friendly user experience. This also means ensuring that your event is clearly signposted and helps guide the audience through the journey.
Service Level is a Game Changer for Event Technology Providers
The high-stakes, time-specific nature of events often mean that meeting planners struggle with the full SaaS model provided by virtual event platforms, especially those that emphasize being a self-service provider. Therefore, being a virtual event provider that offers a high service level as part of its offerings is advantageous as this is what meeting planners are often looking for in their virtual events. This often means that if two platforms provide similar technology specifications but one offers a higher level of service, that will be the one selected by the planner.
The Rise of Bleisure and Using it to your Advantage
The idea of bleisure, combining business travel with an extended leisure stay, has been trending for some time. Attendees are increasingly becoming more discerning about what in-person events they attend, considering the time commitment of travel and being out of the office. For planners, the destination the event is being held in, plays a critical role in attendance, as not only will participants evaluate the time and cost involved in traveling, but they may also look at the leisure elements of the destination. If the destination is appealing , this can be a deciding factor.
Women in Leadership
While much progress has been regarding women attaining leadership roles in the industry, there is still a lot of work to do. Most senior leadership roles are still held by men, which is not unique to the event industry. Therefore it is important to highlight women in the workplace and those in positions of leadership. Breaking the glass ceiling will only happen with collaboration between men and women, with governments also playing a role.