Today’s event technology market is a crowded space, with the number of all-in-one virtual and hybrid event management platforms now available having increased tenfold in recent years. These solutions have become essential not only for organizing and managing hybrid events, but also for streamlining communication between HR, sales, and marketing functions.
Given the dramatic and, in many cases, permanent changes in the event market following the pandemic, choosing the right event technology has become significantly more complicated. In a world of constant innovation, there are dozens of solutions and hundreds of functionalities to choose from, and they are not all made equal.
With so many options to choose from, and the market continuing to evolve, event professionals need to be aware of the essential features and functions to look out for. In this blog, we have compiled 13 of the most important items to look out for when choosing the best hybrid event platform.
13 Things to Look for When Choosing a Hybrid Event Platform
Events come in many different forms and sizes from huge global trade shows to small business conferences. There is nothing wrong with choosing a hybrid event management platform that can accommodate the whole range of events, provided that it is highly customizable. It is vital that you can tailor the platform to your unique needs.
2. Ease of Use
This one might sound obvious, but it is also one of the most overlooked characteristics when purchasing business software. While things like screenshots and videos might give potential buyers an idea of the look and feel of the software, there is no substitute for a live demo. Event management software should be highly intuitive and have a minimal learning curve. After all, many of the people who will be using it will not be technologists themselves.
One of the biggest technical challenges facing today’s businesses is that they are often using lots of different apps and platforms, many of which do not work well together. Interoperability is essential for getting maximum value out of your hybrid event technology, so be sure to look for platforms that integrate with your other solutions, such as marketing automation, customer relationship management, and payment systems.
4. Security and Privacy
Event planners bear the responsibility to protect the personal information entrusted to them by their attendees and stakeholders. Moreover, such information is subject to strict compliance directives like GDPR and CCPA. As such, security and privacy must be incorporated into the platform by design and default, with data encryption and robust authentication being essential.
5. Intuitive Registration
In the era when people expect instant gratification, an unnecessarily lengthy or cumbersome registration process can turn away a large number of would-be attendees, regardless of what they might end up missing. As such, a hybrid event management platform should incorporate a quick and straightforward self-service registration process, since that is the foundation of any successful event.
6. Audience Engagement
The main challenge of running a successful hybrid event is ensuring that both in-person and remote attendees have a similarly engaging experience. However, it is inherently more difficult to engage attendees in a virtual environment. Because of this, it is important that your platform facilitates interactive real-time sessions and lets you keep a pulse on attendee activity.
7. Built-in Networking
Many events are heavily dependent on their networking component and, once again, it is vital to ensure that both in-person and remote attendees can network without hindrance. A hybrid event management solution should provide integrated networking functions to keep attendees connected, no matter how they attend. A smart matchmaking solution can go even further by auto-generating networking opportunities based on similar interests, much like social media.
8. Sponsorship Opportunities
Larger events, such as trade shows, are heavily reliant on sponsorship opportunities to maximize their reach and boost profitability. A comprehensive event management platform should make it easy to offer sponsorship packages tailored to events of various scopes and sizes while also providing the data-driven insights needed to track sponsorship ROI.
In the digital age, it is no secret that attention spans are short, and patience is slim. What may come as a surprise is that this is also true in the real world, including on-site events. However, gamification can increase engagement in both virtual and in-person environments, adding fun and competitiveness into the mix by leveraging the addictive traits traditionally associated with games.
10. Powerful Reporting
One of the greatest advantages of any digital technology is that every interaction leaves an auditable data trail that can be transformed into actionable insights. Hybrid event technology should grant the opportunity not just to capture valuable event data, but also generate intuitive reports that help stakeholders make sense of that data.
11. Robust Mobile App
No hybrid event management platform should be without a dedicated mobile app that you can customize to meet the unique needs of your brand and your events. A mobile app is perhaps the most essential platform feature of all, since it is primarily how your on-site attendees will engage digitally with your event, whether via social networking, getting directions to a specific booth, or registering in the first place.
12. Onsite Technology
While virtual event technology came a long way during the pandemic, in-person activities have ended up being left on the backburner in many cases. Creating a seamless onsite experience requires a hybrid event platform that facilitates simple contactless check-in and badging, offers touchless lead retrieval, and can easily regulate attendee access.
13. Expert Guidance
Last, but not least, is customer support. Event planners should be spending their time planning events, rather than getting bogged down in technology. This is why having expert guidance in the form of a professionally managed service is essential for success. Having the right expertise on hand will ensure you get maximum value out of your hybrid event management platform while you are free to focus on what you do best – planning and hosting your events!
MeetingPlay has merged with Aventri to create an industry-leading hybrid event management platform that provides the functionality that organizers and sponsors need to run a successful event. Request a live demo today to see how it works.