Whether the goal is to boost employee engagement, seek out lucrative business partnerships, or demonstrate your latest innovations, events can play a central role in any business. That said, planning and hosting a successful event can take considerable time and effort, and there is a lot that can go wrong. That’s why you need a fully integrated event management platform in the form of a single-point solution for managing the entire event lifecycle.
How Have Business Events Evolved?
Last year’s onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic completely transformed the world of events from team-building activities to trade fairs and everything else. Instead of being relegated to a relative niche environment of international business, virtual events quickly became the new normal. This catalyzed a surge of interest in digital event management platforms, making it a highly competitive space.
However, as the pandemic continues to evolve, the future is becoming clearer. Although virtual events are undoubtedly here to stay, people will be craving face-to-face interaction and in-person events more than ever once restrictions lift and it’s safe to do so. Thus, event managers must be able to seamlessly pivot from exclusively online events to hybrid and, ultimately, in-person events.
Video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams will, of course, remain relevant in the age of global business and the decline of routine business travel, but no longer will they be the only options for hosting events. The future of events is far more diverse, with a blend of virtual, hybrid, and in-person events expected to play important roles across almost every industry sector.
A fully integrated event management software platform, that can handle events of all types, is essential for helping organizations move forward. The advantages of being able to streamline business workflows using a single unified platform are enormous. The power, convenience, and cost-effectiveness of having one license, one log-in, and one support team ensures you have all the tools you need to plan, host, and manage your event from start to finish.
Deliver Engaging Virtual and Hybrid Events
It’s probably safe to say that, after a year of travel restrictions and blanket bans of in-person events, that many people are tired of virtual conferences. However, while virtual events can’t replace the dynamism of in-person ones, that doesn’t mean they can’t still be engaging. With a fully integrated virtual event management platform, it is much easier to streamline the process from start to finish, including event planning, marketing, hosting, and post-event follow-ups.
After all, there’s a lot more to virtual events than simply streaming live sessions – the right platform also provides features like event lobbies, where attendees can get to know each other, while online registration forms make it easy to sign up. Let’s also not forget that virtual events have an enormous cost advantage, making them essential in the world of international business.
Hybrid events present even more opportunities, especially as organizations make the gradual return to in-person activities. Presenting the best of both worlds, an online event management platform lets you manage virtual and in-person activities, such as conferences and trade fairs, in parallel without the burden of having to manage two completely separate entities.
Garner Valuable Insights from Attendees
Another important benefit of virtual events is that, like any other digital activities, they leave a trail of data from which you can draw actionable insights. But with event management software solutions that can also accommodate hybrid and in-person events, you can gather actionable data from across the full range of activities. This gives event organizers a comprehensive view of their attendees and the value their events generate.
For example, you can set goals, such as the number of leads you hope to generate from your event, and track related metrics in your event management dashboard in real-time. With visual dashboards, you’ll always be equipped with the insights you need to make your events better every time – even when they’re happening.
Strategic meetings management (SMM) also delivers real-time insights that reduce costs and keep the risks to a healthy minimum. These solutions drive success with a robust set of tools and a centralized event database, in which everything is connected to a single platform.
Integrate Your Marketing Tools and Processes
Successful events don’t happen in a bubble. After all, no matter how enjoyable and engaging an event might be, your efforts could end up going to waste if you don’t have a reliable way to move your leads further down the sales funnel or follow up with attendees afterward. That’s why integrations are so important, especially in a time when the typical business uses dozens or even hundreds of different tools and platforms for their routine operations.
For example, if you’re running an event to generate leads or customers, you’ll need to have a way to collect feedback and contact information and follow up with them after the event. This will be far easier if you’re using an event management solution that integrates with your customer relationship management (CRM) software. In the case of in-person events, such integration also makes it easier to gather attendee data in one place and maintain complete customer profiles.
Of course, you also need to be able to market the event itself, but that’s a lot harder if you’re using one system to create an event website, another to create an email marketing flow, and yet another to engage attendees on mobile devices. Ideally, an event management platform will handle all of these things, thanks to native functionality and seamless integrations with industry-leading business software.
For example, integrating digital payment platforms, such as Stripe and PayPal, will make it easier for attendees to sign up and make payments. Other integrations can assist with things like travel planning, identity management, and attendee engagement, to name a few.
It’s also important not to neglect the crucial role that mobile devices now play in events, either of a virtual, hybrid, or in-person nature. With a state-of-the-art mobile event app, you can provide a readily accessible feature-packed guide for attendees, while administrators can enjoy instant access to real-time performance insights.
Benefit from a Professional and Managed Services Team
Technology alone certainly won’t ensure a successful event. Rather, success stems from an optimal blend of people, processes, and technology. It’s important to choose event management solutions that are backed up by strong support and transparent licensing. This is one of the biggest advantages of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, in which the costs don’t just cover the platform itself, but also its ongoing maintenance and customer support.
If you’re fairly new to managing events, or you’re facing challenges adapting your strategy to better accommodate virtual and hybrid events, then it will help a lot to have some experienced professionals on your side. With a dedicated professional services team, you can tap into the expertise necessary to help you achieve your goals. Having someone guide you through every aspect of planning and hosting your events practically guarantees success.
Get Ready for the Return of In-Person Events
While most of the emphasis remains on virtual events, for the time being, many of these will likely merge into hybrid events later in the year. Hybrid events incorporate both virtual meetings and conferences and onsite activities like in-person workshops and seminars. After this initial transition back towards normality, onsite events will likely see a massive comeback. The event management software solutions you choose must be ready for this.
A fully integrated event management platform should provide the full range of features needed to run in-person events, such as attendee check-in and badging, and mobile applications for attendee engagement and lead retrieval. Not only will this impress your attendees, but it will also deliver valuable insights that can help you drive your most promising leads to the next stage of the sales funnel.
Final Words – Making Every Impression Count
From engaging event websites to post-event lead retrieval, choosing the right integrated event management platform provides a streamlined experience from start to finish. This allows you to deliver relevant marketing materials, a user-friendly and engaging registration process, and an excellent post-event experience in the form of follow-up emails and lead nurturing.
Best of all, the integrated approach can accommodate events of all kinds – a virtual, hybrid, and in-person. No longer do virtual events have to lack engagement, and no longer do in-person ones have to lack the data-driven insights needed to empower success. The power of having one platform to do everything simply cannot be underestimated.
From marketing to attendee registration to post-event insights, Aventri’s fully integrated event management platform offers the power and flexibility that global enterprises need to organize in-person, virtual, and hybrid events at scale. Request your demo today to see how it works.