A year into the rapid digital transformation of the events industry we take a look at what we’ve learnt, what works and what doesn’t. 

1. Clunky attendee experience

If participants have to register through one platform, log-in elsewhere to access content, refill information they’d already entered, download a webinar app, follow links to take polls or react and engage with the content, chances are they’ve dropped out half way. Why should anyone go through all those hoops to access events in today's world where Alexa reorders groceries without anyone having to move a muscle?

2. Lack of networking opportunities

One of the most important reasons, if not, the most important reason anyone attends an event is to network. To connect and learn. Participants miss out on a huge opportunity to connect with others who share the same interest when events are delivered through webinar tools. To provide as many opportunities for one-on-one and group interactions you’ll need technology that helps you leverage virtual connections and not just facilitate one way communication.

3. Outdated content

In todays digital-first landscape, competition for your participants' attention is fiercer than ever before. Up your game and make sure your content is top notch. Reusing content to fill up your agenda is a waste of everyones time in the on-demand world. Remember, everything has an opportunity cost, so make sure you have the most relevant and thought provoking content available.

4. Lack of On-demand

If I have to move my schedule around to participate in an event, there is a smaller likelihood that I’m going to make it. While you want to keep participation high when your event is live, it is also important to make content available for at least a short duration of time after the live event. Consider making key addresses and your top speakers content exclusive to a live audience but make sure to have enough engaging content available on-demand to maximise ROI and extend engagement.

5. Not enough value for sponsors

You can take brand visibility, engagement, interactions and analytics to the next level with virtual events and generate business opportunities like never before. As a sponsor I’d only participate in events that give me maximum exposure, since my resources are limited. You’ll need to convince sponsors that you have all the latest tools to create those opportunities for them.

6. Gimmicky event experience

While 3D and AR have their strengths and look cool, remember that the value they bring to your event is very limited. And having to figure out this new tech turns a lot of serious attendees away unless your event is aimed at such personalities. If you’re delivering an event about next-gen technology, the need for an AR or 3D interface makes sense, but it doesn’t necessarily add value to most other events. Making the experience as simple and intuitive as possible increases value and minimizes distractions. Also keep in mind the demographics of your audience.

7. Not having the right technical support and know-how

The promise of virtual made us all think that life was going to be easier as an event planner. Boy were we wrong! In the same way you have a team to manage every aspect of a typical event operation, from registrations to AV, logistics, help-desk or backstage coordination, a team will be essential to performing all these operations in the virtual space as well. Perhaps not a team as large as your typical event, but a team specializing in these tools nonetheless. Without this specialised support, you're likely to deliver a haphazard experience,

8. Same old, same old

Attendees today are riddled with choices, the sheer number of events in every sector has increased and will continue to increase at a faster rate with digital transformation, this presents organisers with the challenge of keeping things exciting. So if your event doesn’t provide a memorable and new experience, chances are your numbers are going the wrong way. Think beyond chat, questions and polls. How can you leverage technology to give your audience an immersive experience.

Written by

Shyam Krishnan, Commercial Manager at ezMeet and an events expert based in Dubai who has helped deliver over 300 events ranging from conferences, trade shows, workshops, hackathons, concerts and everything in between.

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