Hybrid Events

Hybrid Events

Dive into the building blocks and best practices you need to know to deliver a fantastic hybrid event experience for virtual and in-person attendees alike.

Product
Hybrid Events

Zuddl’s unified event and webinar platform - this article reveals all!

5
Mins Read
Kishore C S

Discover the capabilities of Zuddl’s unified event and webinar platform, our end-to-end tool primarily focused on B2B marketers and conference organizers.

Of tools and tribulations - the current scenario

As an event marketer, if you're asked to describe how you run your events, our guess is that your response is likely to be, “Oh, where do I start! I use a plethora of tools to execute just one event.”... and this will probably be followed by a detailed description that paints a vivid picture about the sheer complexity of running an event… so on and so forth…

 … and that’s totally justified, because it’s true. 

Today, event marketers rely on many independent tools for specific tasks across the event lifecycle, such as:

  • Creating a landing and registration page
  • Setting up email communication and reminders
  • Setting up the event (usually on Zoom or any other virtual event platform)
  • Downloading session recordings and manually sending those heavy files for edits on another tool
  • Downloading registrant/attendee lists and uploading them onto their CRM tool
  • Building reports to see which leads attended (manually using Excel or Sheets)
  • Building an after-event report that can be shared with the sales team

And while each of these tools are reliable, this multi-tool approach to events leaves a whole lot of room for speed bumps, stress and scattered data.

  • Too many tools to manage and pay for
  • Poor attendee turnout because email communication is broken or not configured correctly
  • No clear picture of attendee behavior across multiple events
  • Dependence on external support
  • Delay in sharing content after the event
  • No usable insights because of data silos
  • Minimal sales and marketing collaboration because sales has no context of attendee behavior at the event

The obvious follow-up question to this is, is there a better way to run events? 

The answer is Yes… with Zuddl’s unified platform.

How humble! Now tell me, what does Zuddl’s unified platform do?

At its core, it simplifies the event tech stack and solves for better sales and marketing collaboration, optimizes the total cost of ownership, and makes it simpler for event teams of all sizes to run event programs at scale. 

How does Zuddl do this?

We're glad you asked. Our unified platform is primarily focused on giving B2B marketers and conference organizers a simplified approach to events, end-to-end. Here's how Zuddl achieves this:

By un-muddling your event tech stack

By choosing Zuddl, you effectively replace multiple tools that you currently use to run events with one platform that does it all - this will reduce total cost of ownership.

By offering direct visibility into events that drive revenue

Zuddl provides you direct and actionable insights into attendee behavior - right from registration and event behavior to after-event engagement. This way, you can design events that contribute directly to pipeline or revenue. 

By democratizing data across internal teams

One of the biggest problems event marketers face is the lack of visibility into prospects across various events - webinars, conferences and other demand generation activities. 

With Zuddl, however, internal teams like sales have direct access to insights and hence can reach out to prospects in real time during events and engage better. 

By making event marketers more self-sufficient

With in-built tools and capabilities for creating landing pages, integrating communications, producing and editing stunning videos as well as quickly sharing relevant content with your attendees after the event, Zuddl empowers you to do it all!

The best part? It doesn’t matter what format you choose. Zuddl’s unified platform caters to virtual events, hybrid events, in-person events as well as webinars!

Want to check it out for yourself? Talk to us today.

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

What are micro events and how can they grow your business?

8
Mins Read
Kishore C S

Learn how to improve your virtual and hybrid events for engagement and involvement to create more profitable and memorable experiences. Discover how you can tap the true potential of micro events.

It’s no secret that events are one of the best ways to source leads for your business. In fact, one study even found almost 7 out of every 10 respondents (68%) used events to generate qualified leads. Hybrid events, in particular, present tons of opportunities for marketing, because they combine the advantages of both in-person and virtual events. 

Against that, B2B marketing is turning more complex. Stiffening competition, compliance, and a host of other factors are leading to sales cycles that are longer than ever before. 

Fortunately, marketers have found that micro events are just the right solution to drive growth.

But before we talk about how micro events can grow your business, let’s understand what micro events are and what benefits they bring to the marketing table.

What are micro events?

Micro events are small sized events that are designed to drive better engagement and connection with a smaller audience.They are more often virtual or hybrid than in-person, and that’s for a number of reasons. For instance, attendees at virtual microevents don’t have to worry about health hazards or social distancing regulations. Even if there is in-person attendance, with hybrid micro events the small number of in-person attendees makes it easier for the organizer to manage and comply.

What is perhaps most interesting about micro events is that they can be either completely independent, stand-alone events or run-up events leading to a bigger, overarching event. In the latter case, they provide both a window during which to better engage the audience and a promotional activity with which to drum up the excitement ahead of the marquee event.

Consider the annual Salesforce conference that will be held in San Francisco very soon. Despite being a big, respected brand, Salesforce doesn’t want to take chances in making the event a big success. As a result, they will arrange multiple micro events whose different themes will dovetail with the goal of the annual conference. 

How micro events can grow your business

Some of the benefits of organizing micro events are pretty obvious. For example, they are easier to organize and promote, since you are looking at a much smaller number of attendees. 

In addition to that, micro events present very real, very achievable opportunities to grow your business. Here are the five important ways your business can grow with micro events

1. Micro events provide better interaction

Over 45% of marketers target generating pipelines through virtual events. That can be possible only when the event provides you with opportunities for quality interactions. 

By the very virtue of their small size, micro events make it possible for every attendee to participate. Smaller group sizes encourage people to interact with one another. Detailed conversations help you understand the pain points of your target audience at a deeper level.

Later, you can use these insights to frame your solution in the language that resonates with your audience. And don’t forget that better interaction is also a major reason why micro events are easier to sell!

2. Micro events offer complete flexibility

So what happens when we say micro events give you better opportunities to interact? Collecting insights is a great outcome, yet there’s more: flexibility to re-pivot.

Let’s imagine you’re holding a micro event where you originally intended to discuss how your digital platform can offer competitive intelligence. But right off the bat you figure out that the challenge your audience faces is not so much of the insights as is of interpreting those insights. 

While it may appear to deviate from the original goal, you can actually repivot the event in order to walk your audience through how to use the insights. This helps your audience get real value from the event, value that translates to superior attendee experience. 

If you were to be organizing a big event, chances are such a pain point may not have reached you - and even if you could figure it out, it’d not be possible to shift the focus because of the sheer size and preparations for the event.

3. Micro events means more hands-on activities

Imagine your Chief Product Officer is on the stage, the in-person audience is 100 strong and there are another 350 virtual attendees. How easy would it be for your CPO to carry out a deep-dive  product demo and hold the audience’s attention for an hour?

Chances are, it’d be tricky. That’s because in front of a large audience, such product demos can quickly slide into being one-way communication - the speaker talking and the audience listening (or at least politely giving that impression). Engagement levels can drop pretty fast, you know.

On the other hand, detailed product demos can be interactive and engaging in micro events. Because of the extremely small number of people attending, everyone gets an opportunity to ask questions and get involved. What’s more, the smaller numbers enable the presenter to easily gauge the non-verbal cues of the audience and make extempore changes.

In essence, product demos are one of the many hands-on activities that you can carry out in micro events but probably not in huge events.

4. Micro events means you conserve resources

This one’s so obvious that we don’t need to elaborate this too much.

Micro events, because they involve small numbers, are very budget-friendly. A location that could accommodate, say, 250 people could itself cost you upwards of $3,000 for the venue alone. In contrast, micro events are far less expensive. 

Besides, when you have very small numbers for in-person event, or an entirely virtual event, your cost of compliance for pandemic related regulations drops drastically. Don’t forget that social distancing norms in certain locations could require you to hire twice the size of the venue you’d otherwise need, which could be a big drain in your budget.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you’re skimping on the efficiency or data security of the event. At Zuddl, for instance, we take data security very seriously. We regularly conduct third-party penetration tests, vulnerability testing and similar audits so that your attendees and speakers get a completely safe and pleasant experience. 

5. Micro events allow you to respond faster

The past decade or so has been marked by disruptive forces and few, if any, industries are left untouched. In that context, organizing huge events that require months of planning and organizing face an unpleasant risk of being labeled obsolete.

The pace of change everywhere creates an unusual challenge. You plan to add value by drawing attention to and discussing a major industry challenge. However, some unprecedented changes that happen elsewhere can suddenly reduce the value of what you were trying to deliver.

Let’s say you begin organizing a huge event around a big problem your industry is battling with. But when the actual event happens three months later, things might have changed enormously. Regulations might have changed, some disruptive startup might have at least partially solved the problem, some alternative methods might have emerged, rendering the problem largely irrelevant… any of these can take the steam out of your event. While this doesn’t happen often, the risk is always looming large.

Micro events represent agility. You plan, promote and make it happen in a matter of 2 or 3 weeks. This speed presents a dual advantage. One, you are not at a risk of being seen as outdated. And two, you can respond faster and enjoy the early mover advantage. 

Opportunities ahead

What The New York Times said in 2010 remains true today … “(events need) to generate interest and convert that into actual leads...” Virtual and hybrid events of all sizes do exactly that and that’s why they are here to stay; each kind comes with its unique strengths. 

So if you’re wondering where to begin, learning about how a powerful end-to-end platform can hugely simplify things for you is a good place. And because technology has grown sophisticated than ever, be demanding in what to expect from the platform. The security of the platform, its integrations, its ability to encourage and smoothen networking, give you a consolidated solution for your entire event lifecycle… all this and more will tell you if the platform is a good fit for you.

Hybrid Events

Busting 5 myths about hybrid events

4
Mins Read
Kishore C S

We bust the 5 most common misconceptions about hybrid events.

In the context of modern day business, hybrid events occupy a special place. That’s because such events bring creative opportunities with which growth marketers can attract customers, generate revenue, and drive growth.

Hybrid events - events that engage both in-person and virtual attendees equally well - aren’t new. But after the pandemic, marketers have rediscovered some of the unique benefits of hybrid events. 

With hybrid events, attendees and speakers are not constrained by locations. That helps your business create brand awareness and expand your footprint across different geographies a lot more easily. Which is why you see (and likely attend) so many of them these days.

And yet, some amount of confusion and a handful of myths about hybrid events prevail. Some organizers are unsure of the hardware required for hybrid events. A huge myth, for example, is that live-streaming an in-person event makes the event a hybrid event. 

This post looks at the 5 principal myths about hybrid events. We hope dispelling them will help you better see the true value of hybrid events. Here goes!

Myth 1: The virtual element of a hybrid event will reduce in-person attendance

A red arrow faltering downwards is held by a woman struggling under its weight

Because you don’t need to travel in order to be a part of it, hybrid events are easier to attend. This makes organizers feel that once people begin to attend virtually, they would avoid attending an event in-person altogether.

The fact is quite the opposite. In nearly all cases, your audience for virtual attendance vis-a-vis in-person attendance is different. Your virtual audience is often people who haven’t been to your events earlier. They are, therefore, there to explore and see how things go. 

Moreover, virtual audiences and in-person attendees have different expectations from the activities you conduct during the events. For example, your in-person attendees can get into treasure hunt games while your virtual attendees might be checking out the virtual fairs on the platform.

Finally, there’s the question of venue capacity. Your in-house attendance is restricted by the size of the hall you’re holding the event in. This limiting factor requires you to know a few days to weeks in advance how many people will be attending physically. You can practically never accommodate people at the last moment at an in-person event, because the venue can house only so many people. 

In contrast, you can keep the link for virtual attendants open almost till the last moment. People with unpredictable schedules naturally prefer virtual attendance. 

Myth 2: Organizing hybrid events is a complicated task

Two men shout at each other through loud speakers - their dialogue is represented by a black jumble of swirls

To be honest, hybrid events can only be as good as the platform you choose for the virtual segment of the event. Anything standard and you lost the ability to really create a valuable and meaningful experience for your remote attendees.

Sure, anything that’s successful takes planning and coordination and all that, but hybrid events are not even half as intimidating as some people make them out to be. An intelligent platform for hosting hybrid events takes away the pain and nightmares you’d commonly associate with organizing hybrid events. 

Further, there are two clear reasons why organizing a hybrid event is easy. One, the platform will have the technology sorted out so you don’t need to lose sleep over the event. And two, adding a new virtual attendee doesn’t need any additional effort, nor does it take any substantial increase in resources. Which means you can keep promoting the event without worrying whether you will be able to accommodate larger numbers.

Myth 3: Hybrid events don’t engage attendees adequately

A man sits on a blue block with pink whirlpool for a head

If you have the right platform for your hybrid events, attendees will be engaged more than adequately.

Latency is a good example where a robust platform can make the difference between a dazzling event and poor experience. For instance, Zuddl works on a zero latency streaming basis. That means you can eliminate relay lags of upto 40 seconds, something that’s common with dated technologies like RTMP, notorious for glitches and gaps.

Without the time lag, speakers, in-person audience and virtual audience get the same, fulfilling experience. Conversations between contributors and attendees flow smoothly. Virtual attendees also get an immersive experience as they go live on the LED screen at the in-person venue. Little wonder that engagement hits a homerun every time!

Myth 4: Hybrid events may have very limited opportunities for sponsors

A woman hangs upside down reaching towards a gold dollar

Honestly, we don’t know where this myth originated from. 

Paradoxically, the truth is the exact opposite: hybrid events actually present more opportunities to the sponsors. Here is why: sponsors can place their logos and brochures and other promotional materials at more places than they can in purely physical events. That’s because there is little to no space restriction.

Secondly, sponsors have a much better shot with contextual placement of their material. Whenever a virtual attendee specifically shows interest in a certain kind of product or service, the sponsor will be able to display relevant material.  In this situation the sponsor knows they are talking to their audience at just the right time.

Finally there is the benefit of the wide reach unlike a purely in-person event - a hybrid event gives sponsors access to a global audience. That means sponsors can reach much bigger numbers,  generate a larger number of leads and actually sell their product or service in a geography they normally weren't able to serve earlier.

Myth 5: Hybrid events are only relevant during the pandemic

Three people sit apart from each other with laptops

During the pandemic, some people felt hybrid events were more like a stop-gap arrangement and that once things returned to normal, hybrid events would vanish. Not surprisingly, this has not happened.

All the stakeholders including contributors, organizers, sponsors and attendees have discovered that hybrid events make great business sense. Organizers have made enormous investments in terms of resources and commitment for hybrid events - naturally they want hybrid events to stay.

It might sound a little unusual, but the way hybrid events have been successful, it makes us feel that hybrid events would have happened anyway, pandemic or no pandemic. That’s because hybrid events enjoy some unique benefits that organizers and sponsors do not wish to lose.

Your next event

Growth marketing is all about being agile and adopting efficient methods to seek new customers. As more marketers begin embracing hybrid events, there’s no reason for your organization to hold back. 

Now that this article has debunked the major myths of hybrid events, you’ll want to understand how such events can work for you, and more importantly, how you’ll go about organizing one. And if you’re like most businesses, you’ll want to first learn about the setup and logistics of hybrid events. So why not drop us a line - we're here to help you throughout the event lifecycle, from coming up with custom-fit strategies for your use case - and of course in technical support and problem solving.

Hybrid Events
Hybrid Events

Host a Hybrid Event: Experts Advice

15
Mins Read
Zuddl Staff

Want to refine your understanding of a hybrid event? Check out this curation of expert answers from industry specialists!

Hybrid events are the perfect bridge between virtual and in-person events. They’re also easier to host than you might think.

Despite what you might believe, they don’t require a ton of high-end technology, like virtual reality, augmented reality, holograms, or anything of the sort.

You can make a quality hybrid event with accessible technology that doesn’t require years of experience and expertise.

Keep reading this article published by Porch.com to learn the fantastic advantages of hybrid events as well as advice from professionals.

How Are Hybrid Events Different From a Virtual Event?

Chances are, you have heard about hybrid events before today. According to the research done by etc. venues, 73% of event planners expect hybrid events to become more popular in the future.

At Zuddl, we feel that hybrid events will become the de-facto choice for organizations. And why not! Hybrid events are more inclusive, and sustainable and deliver a higher ROI as compared to traditional in-person or completely virtual events.

But what really differentiates a hybrid event from a virtual one?

Let us dig in:

1. Complexity: For one, hybrid events are much more complex and difficult to execute than only virtual events or in-person events. This is largely due to the fact that the experience for in-person attendees as well as virtual attendees has to be of similar high quality. There can be no exceptions

2. It’s not just about the live-streaming: An in-person event cannot be turned into a hybrid event just by adding a live stream. Sure, live streaming is a core component of a hybrid event, but planners cannot overlook the importance of a bi-directional engagement and live conversations with virtual attendees during the event.

3. Balance: Hybrid events balance the experience of an in-person event with the convenience of a virtual event. With a choice in their hands, attendees can choose to participate in whichever form suits them most, and organizers, on the other hand, can maximize ROI and contribute to their sustainability goals by planning better in-person to virtual ratios. As is evident, one major highlight of the hybrid event model is that it empowers attendees with choice, in that they can choose to either attend the event physically or virtually, based on their convenience. With asynchronous or on-demand content becoming more and more popular, hybrid events can help you better engage with the constantly evolving modern attendee.

Ketan Pandit from Zuddl

What Are Hybrid Events?

"As the events industry evolves, so does the way event organizers and marketers plan and execute events. In recent years, there has been a growing trend of “hybrid” events. So what exactly is a hybrid event? A hybrid event is an event that combines aspects of both online and in-person events. They are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer the convenience of an online event combined with the personal connection of an in-person event.

The physical component is usually a conference or trade show where people can meet in person, and the virtual component is usually a web cast or online meeting where people can participate from anywhere in the world. There are several reasons why hybrid events are becoming increasingly popular. First, they allow event organizers to combine different elements that appeal to different audiences.

This can help increase attendance and create a more well-rounded event experience. Secondly, hybrid events are often less expensive to produce than traditional standalone events. This is because organizers can save money by using shared resources such as venues and staff. Finally, hybrid events offer greater flexibility and creativity for marketers.

While hybrid events can be a lot of fun, there are a few things to keep in mind while planning one. Here are six tips to help make your hybrid event a success:

1. Choose the right mix of activities. It’s important to choose activities that will appeal to your target audience and that will work well together. For example, if you’re planning a hybrid event with a mix of online and in-person activities, make sure the online activities are relevant to the in-person ones.

2. Consider sponsors. Sponsorship not only gets you valuable exposure for your brand but also provides the resources needed to pull off the event. If you can align a corporate sponsor with your event’s theme, it will make it easier for your audience to engage with the sponsorship.

3. Plan ahead. Like any other type of event, planning a hybrid event takes time and careful coordination. Start by putting together a project plan and timeline, and make sure you have the resources you need to pull it off.

4. Create an engaging agenda. A good hybrid event starts with a strong agenda that is designed to engage your audience and build interest in the event. Consider how you can incorporate key messaging and interactive elements into the event, such as live quizzes and q&a sessions.

5. Audience engagement Make the event fun, engaging and memorable. Great hybrid events are interactive, engaging, and fun for your audience. Create an atmosphere that will help build rapport with your readers.

6. Keep it simple. The goal of a hybrid event is to create a unique and compelling experience that will drive your audience to action. So keep the number of sessions and activities to a minimum. Hybrid events allow organizers to be creative and flexible with their planning and programming. Additionally, it provides a way to connect with different audiences, which can help organizations reach their goals."

Sachin Anand from WebMOBI

What Are Some Examples of Successful Hybrid Events?

"Successful hybrid events are the right combination of different ingredients: good planning and strategy, a real integration of in-person and virtual audiences, and the right tools to bring all the attendees together. But, of course, the most successful hybrid events are the ones where you can exceed your goals.

One of our clients, a data performance company, recently hosted a hybrid event with the goal of reaching a broader audience. The event counted with 200 participants on-site, and 500 participants on the event platform and app. This hybrid event is a good case study: the hosts had a well-defined strategy on how to reach their targeted audiences, the video content live streaming strategically showcased not only the stage and the speakers, but also different angles of the on-site audience, and during the event the hosts encouraged participants to engage via the event app, and had a tablet to read the audience comments live, bridging the gap and creating a unifying experience between the in-person and online audiences.

Another company wanted to create their hybrid event platform with an outstanding design, following their in-person event branding. We managed to build together a hybrid event platform and app ahead of the game, empowering the hosts’ team to take out the most of the tool’s features and adapt them to their specific needs. This event gathered more than 3000 participants from more than 100 cities, so it was really important to foster participants’ connections. This company made clever use of the matchmaking tools, allowing participants to connect following their interests. The company also leveraged its social media, creating a huge buzz, and resulting in an awesome number of participants posting their home office, or a selfie attending the event on the go, via the mobile app.

But the success of a hybrid event it’s not only measured while it’s happening but also once the event is over: does the event create long-lasting relationships through its networking activities? Is there an active community that continues to engage once the event is over? Do participants keep their communication with the brand in the long term? If designed with the right strategy, hybrid events will contribute to the success of your company, and will help you to achieve your business goals."

Rita from SCOOCS

What Should Venues Be Equipped With?

"Event venues are the WOW moment for every event. Post pandemic, they need to evolve just like every other physical space like airports, offices, and stadiums. Over and beyond the traditional needs of the event venue here is a list of upgrades the venue needs to be ready with

  1. Be Hybrid Ready – Hybrid events are the new normal. The silver lining of the pandemic was it unlocked the possibilities of a remote attendee. As in-person events make a comeback, venues will need to have all the components of Hybrid events.
  2. Tech-Friendly Venue – Traditionally venues have steered clear from event tech and provided only basic tech like wifi & AV. But today a great differentiator is a partnership with a reliable hybrid event platform.
  3. Make it Safe – As In-person events return venues would need to satisfy all health & safety standards. Take guidance from local health and venue safety authorities on best practices. Ensure yours. The staff is well trained & equipped in cleaning and hygiene techniques
  4. Streamline Event Check-in – Onsite Check-in Technology in the venue is a natural extension of the at-venue event experience. Contactless check-in, Event Check-in apps , and Seamless vaccination validation are must-haves in today’s world.
  5. Quality Internet Connection – With event organizers needing to live stream from the venue, it’s imperative to have blazing fast upload speeds. And don’t just restrict it to the organizers. Today attendee’s come equipped with event apps that require reliable internet too."

Sara Roy from Nunify

What Technology Do Virtual Attendees Require To Join An Event?

"Normally the technologies for connecting to a stream are internet-based technologies. So all the virtual assistant needs is a stable internet connection (either wifi or wired) and access to a web browser. Chrome is usually preferred but, in reality, they work with all of them. From there, each event can be streamed through multiple channels Zoom, Go To Webinar, Meets or platforms such as Youtube Live, Facebook Live, Linkedin Live or Instagram Live also serve this purpose and expand the audience of the event.

When event organizers want to have more control over access to their event, who can and who cannot access their event, they opt for event management software with its own RTMP server to broadcast in streaming such as Events case, among others, but from the point of view of the virtual assistant, all they have to do is register for the event, with a username and password and then, on the day of the event, use these credentials to access the event online through a dedicated URL.

Other options that have been used over the last two years are web apps or native apps. So the virtual assistant, in addition to having access to the content of the event itself, has access to the event agenda, sponsors, speakers, and other attendees with whom to network by holding spontaneous or previously scheduled videoconferences, the possibility of interacting live through tools such as live chat, Q&A and surveys, as well as gamification formats such as contests, challenges, and other games. The difference between the two formats is that web apps are a URL to connect to while native apps require downloading the app from the Android and iOS shops.

In short, the possibilities for customization are endless but the technological needs of the virtual assistant are always similar. If you have a computer or a mobile phone to connect to the Internet, you have a window to access thousands of events around the world."

Mentxu from Eventscase

What Are The Benefits Of Attending a Hybrid Conference?

"Attending a hybrid conference gives you the best of both worlds – the face-to-face connections and onsite engagement which we have so dearly missed as well as the convenience and comfort of staying at home while still participating in an event. Providing flexibility in attendance is key!

By opening the doors to both in-person and virtual attendees, you’re essentially increasing the reach of your event and allowing for a bigger audience to join in. More attendees usually mean more opportunities to engage and interact – only if you have the right software and features to enable it!

For example, with the Canapii mobile app, attendees will have greater networking options and opportunities. Onsite, you will have the ability to speak to different people and schedule meetings in person. With the app or on a platform, you will also be able to chat, video call, and arrange meetings with virtual attendees. Essentially, you can interact with absolutely anyone who has registered at the event.

Hybrid conferences are also a great way of repurposing your onsite content to engage your virtual attendees and online communities. Your event material becomes instant assets that can help generate revenue and deliver more value to your virtual attendees during or post-event. Make snippets of a live session, transform a roundtable meeting into a future webinar, and create evergreen content that will serve the event community in the weeks or months following the event.

Attending virtually eliminates the barriers of travel, transportation, and time while still allowing attendees to connect, interact and consume content. While attending in-person offers more immersive experiences. By combining both together, you can truly curate a holistic and inclusive environment for all event stakeholders."

Elliot from Canapii

What Are The Challenges Of a Hybrid Event?

"Perceived complexity is one of the greatest challenges in hybrid events. Organizers may feel intimidated by the idea of simultaneously planning an in-person and virtual event. Some professionals may believe hybrid events take twice as much effort, time, and resources for planning. No wonder: After all, the hybrid format combines two ways of engaging the event attendees. This perceived complexity results in organizers tending to focus on one format, choosing between running an in-person or virtual event. Subsequently, they cannot take full advantage of both formats’ benefits. Luckily, event solutions, such as Eventtia, allow organizers to combine the best of the two worlds, engaging attendees in-person and virtually. Moreover, thanks to advanced planning solutions, running hybrid events doesn’t require additional effort or resources. Organizers can run a full-fledged in-person event while deciding which aspects they want to digitize, creating unique experiences for their virtual attendees. At the same time, they can ensure the virtual guests’ expense integration with the in-person environment by enabling mixed networking. In other words, they can enable virtual attendees to connect with people who’re in-situ, experiencing the in-person event. Planning and managing a hybrid event may add a layer of complexity when designing and setting different digital workflows, such as online streaming, virtual attendee engagement, sponsorship booths, and networking. However, the entire process can be coordinated via platforms similar to Eventtia, allowing organizers to manage their hybrid events with just a few clicks."

Elsa Joseph from Eventtia

What Are Some Examples Of Hybrid Events?

"We have had all kinds of events turn hybrid on the Sarcon platform across industries and geographies.

Hybrid event types include medical conferences where some speakers join live while others are connected remotely and beamed on the stage. On the one hand, the entire event was streamed to live audiences; on the other hand, the sponsors and exhibitors were spread across the in-person and virtual editions of the event. Mandatory video conferences and web-based seminars have been around for a very long time.

The healthcare industry has been conducting these seminars online but with limited functionality; cutting down on some of the major highlights of these events. Take for example poster presentations and certifications. They are the key highlights of any medical conference, but due to the lack of more holistic technology, there were missed opportunities. With the help of hybrid platforms, speakers and industry experts can not only present vital information in person to the audience present at the venue but also broadcast the presentation to those audience members who have joined online, while also interacting with them live.

Others include rewards and recognition events for large enterprises where the leadership congregates at one location, be it in their office or a studio where they want state-of-the-art recording facilities while the audience attends the event from across the globe.

The importance of cybersecurity has started to reach the general audience. With the rising need to educate and reach a large number of individuals, companies involved in cybersecurity are organizing hybrid events. These events are aimed at bringing the pioneers and experts of cybersecurity under one roof. Going hybrid helps them bring experts and CIOs spread across the borders; allowing them to discuss and share upcoming features, trends, and products. Hosting hybrid events helps reach stakeholders across borders.

Prior to the digital revolution, a vast majority of industry summits were held on-ground in physical locations.  Two major limiters of such summits were the available real estate and the carbon footprint they would leave behind.  The number of attendees would be as large as the permissible foot traffic of the venue. And the amount of carbon footprint it leaves behind is directly proportional to the number of attendees. Today, with the prevalence of virtual technology, the concept of a hybrid process has enhanced and uplifted the way organizers conduct the event.

Hybrid summits not only have in-person audiences attending the on-ground event, but the number of virtual attendees can rise up staggeringly; an individual’s online bandwidth being the only limiter here. Moreover, the carbon footprint left behind is drastically low in comparison.

The financial sector, too, has embraced the power of hybrid events. High-profile banking summits, for example, have been organized on Sarcon’s platform.

And lastly, one of the most memorable events for any individual is their wedding. People have realized the value and ability of hybrid events to alleviate a certain amount of wedding woes. The virtual environment is designed to aesthetically match the real aspects of the wedding that is taking place in the physical world.

The bride and groom, along with the members of their family aggregate at the event venue for the ceremony. And those family members who cannot attend the wedding ceremony due to certain geographical limitations can join the ceremony through the virtual medium. Weddings are one of the most socially pleasing and awaited occasions for individuals. Watching a video of the ceremony online does not provide the dopamine boost our brains experience when we interact with the people we love while attending a ceremony. Hybrid platforms become the mediator and set the stage for the friends and family to socialize, interact, and come together under one ceremonial umbrella and rejoice while physically being located thousands of miles apart.

Summary

  • Exhibitions & Tradeshows
  • Virtual Weddings
  • Conferences
  • Job & Career Fairs
  • Award Shows
  • Medical Conferences
  • 3D Webinars
  • Housing Fairs
  • Graduation Ceremonies

These are some examples of hybrid events, a type of events that brings the best of both worlds — in-person and virtual, together and elevates their most important aspects for a better outcome."

Dishant B from Sarcon

How Effective are Hybrid Conferences?

"At the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions on travel and limits on in-person events presented serious challenges to organizers of conferences and trade shows. Fortunately, the technology already existed that would allow them to work around these constraints. Tools like Zoom and Google Meet enabled speakers and attendees alike to gather virtually, no matter where they were in the world.

Even with many of the pandemic restrictions now loosened, a hybrid approach to events may prove to be a winning formula. With the cost and logistics of travel less of a consideration, the ability to reach a wider potential audience with reduced effort and expense could certainly prove appealing to a large number of those involved in putting on or presenting at large-scale conferences.

Quoted in the journal Nature, astrophysicist and conference organizer Elizabeth Tasker noted that a hybrid format makes events accessible to many more people. “Over the last two years, data from conferences has shown a sharp increase in the diversity of attendees for online meetings,” Tasker said. “Removing the need to travel plummets the cost of attendance, makes the meeting far more accessible for those with disabilities or illness, and typically makes it easier to balance caring or other local commitments.”

Earlier this year, PressReader had a presence at the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit. The event took place in Manila from April 20 to 22, and although we were not there physically, we did have an online “booth”. This included a “virtual fishbowl” in which potential partners interested in our product — a platform through which users can access digital versions of thousands of newspapers and magazines from around the world — were able to drop their business cards.

We at PressReader were not the only ones attending from afar. After the event, the WTTC reported that, in addition to the 600-plus in-person delegates from more than 50 countries, the summit had received over 10,000 virtual registrations. Those are encouraging numbers. While hybrid events come with their own unique set of challenges — such as ensuring that those tuning in virtually have as satisfactory an experience as those attending in person — when done right, they can be remarkably effective."

Nikolay Malyarov from Pressreader

What Is The Best Event Platform?

"NetworkTables is an all-in-one event platform for event organizers to help their attendees meet the right people at the right time at events. Created in collaboration with event managers since 2015.

It lets guests gain access before the event starts to connect with relevant people without the headache of filling out forms or downloading apps. Providing insights into who is attending an event, where, and the tools to book an appointment without fuss. The platform seamlessly integrates with ticketing tools so that attendees can use the platform without creating another profile.

Roundtables show an overview of each table, whether it’s online or offline, and let attendees choose who they are sitting next to strike up interesting connections, like choosing a seat on an airplane. Meanwhile, request meetings and generate perfect matches with a complete-time schedule on the day.

After an event, connect with all the guests that attended the same things as you and exchange virtual business cards, as you know you share common interests. Then gain access to on-demand recordings of the entire event. All while staying in the loop with post-event feedback, communication, and session ratings.

For organizers, they can create their own workshops, webinars, and workshops all year long and automate schedules and reminders to their guests. Keeping engagement high by seamlessly transitioning guests through all the sessions they have signed up for one after another. When it comes to virtual events, technical support rooms are available for any guest to jump into to quickly resolve any problems.

To keep the momentum going, event planners can also create an always-on event community. Here members create their own member-led sessions to extend a one-day event throughout the year.

Perfect for hosting in-person and virtual events while increasing value through networking. Great ease of use and pre-event features."

Tyler Wood from Network Tables

How Do I Engage Guests in a Virtual Event?

"Virtual events provide access for an audience that would otherwise find the content inaccessible. Maybe the cost is too great; maybe there are global travel restrictions; maybe they just don’t like crowds. There are many reasons why people cannot physically attend an in-person event. The beauty of virtual events is that they invite folks of all types, locations, and identities to participate.

Before we produce a virtual event, we start with the question, “why does this need to be live?” The reason always boils down to engagement. What makes a virtual event an EVENT is the ability to engage with the content, its creators, and others in the audience. By inviting users to engage, you cultivate belonging. They become a part of your tribe.

Engagement looks different depending on the type of event. What works well for a brand activation may not work for an internal corporate presentation. For optimal participation, engagement opportunities should feel organic.

An audience’s most basic expectation is that they can communicate with each other in real-time. Comments, chat, or Q&A – these are table stakes for any virtual event. Most virtual event platforms have this baked in, but third-party widgets like ChatWing or Chatroll also work wonders.

Stepping up from there, you’re looking at “call and response” engagements – think quizzes, polls, word clouds, or trivia. Our favorite tool for this is Slido, which can be embedded on your website or accessed via a QR code.

When events get massive, they may exist in multiple locations – maybe they’re streamed on YouTube as well as Facebook and Zoom, or maybe there are multiple tracks. Combining data streams – like YouTube comments and tweets  – and incorporating them graphically into your content helps an audience feel like they’re a part of something bigger.

Whatever engagement strategies you choose, make sure your virtual event audience feels like they’re an organic and vital part of the total experience.  

In conclusion, do not be discouraged from trying to host a hybrid event even if you have never done so before. Technology is more available than ever, and time is ideal.

And in practice, hosting them isn’t difficult. Not if you have the proper equipment and knowledge."

Nick Bacon from Mainstream Media

Why Should I Attend a Hybrid Content?

"A hybrid conference offers what Hannah Montana would refer to as the best of both worlds. Hybrid settings allow people to connect in person, or digitally. If what you seek is human connection, then you can attend the conference in person and network. But if you want to connect with other people without having to travel to the venue, or you simply aren’t ready to deal with large groups of people then you can attend online.

These are some of the many benefits of attending a hybrid conference:

Increased attendance: as mentioned above, attendees will either attend online or in-person. This means that there are no excuses (or fewer) for not attending, which ensures the conference will be a success in terms of attendance.

Less carbon footprint: since fewer people will have to travel to attend the event physically, the overall carbon footprint reduces. A smaller physical audience will also require less equipment, reducing transportation and labor emissions.

Better engagement: big conferences usually run multiple panels, talks and workshops simultaneously to suit everyone’s interests and fit an extensive schedule into a short period. This usually leads to people missing out on some talks they may have wanted to attend, but this issue is solved at hybrid events. Since the virtual side of the conference requires the recording of all panels, then you can listen to every talk you were interested in once the conference uploads the videos post-event. No one will have to miss out on any aspect of the event if it’s a hybrid.

So we can agree that attending hybrid conferences is the ideal choice for everyone."

Ana Lopez from Walls.io

What Do I Have To Consider Entertainment & Education Wise in a Hybrid event?

“A hybrid event in its simplest definition is an event with two audiences… those attending in person and those attending remotely.  

In terms of education and entertainment, you must determine what you want each of those audiences to experience. Those attending remotely will never have the same exact experience as those attending in person… it’s not possible. The excitement, energy, and conversations one has at a live event cannot be replicated for your remote audience. Therefore, when considering your entertainment and educational content, you must consider the experience.

For your educational content, do you want both groups of attendees to have access to the same content? Do you want some content available only for in-person attendees? Do you want to provide special sessions for your remote attendees? The content at your event must be value-driven and provide actionable solutions for your attendees. However, not all content is suitable for both audiences. If you are having a breakout session where the primary focus is on the interaction between attendees (i.e. a workshop format where attendees have to work together to solve a problem), that session may not be best for your remote attendees. As you are building your agenda, consider what tracks and sessions are appropriate for your two attendee groups.

When choosing entertainment options, you will have similar questions to answer. How do you want the two groups to interact, and what entertainment options do you want to provide? Do you want a party for your in-person attendees and a separate online party for your remote attendees? For your specific audience, would it be better to bring the two groups together for the entertainment portion?

We have brought in entertainment such as DJs playing “Name That Tune,” and artists painting live on stage. When we bring in entertainment, we first decide what the goal of the entertainment is, how it will translate to the two audiences and what we want the experience to be like for the attendees… then decide what the best match is for that experience.

Always look at entertainment and education from the perspective of your audience to help guide your decisions.”

Lisa Schulteis from Electralime

What Aspects Make Hybrid Events Successful?

“When it comes to hosting a hybrid event, it is important to keep in mind that both audiences need to be fully engaged. Livestreaming is not enough, because remote guests require the same level of interaction as in-person attendees.

At Dot.vu, we strongly believe that the keys to successful hybrid events lie within the interactivity of your event. You need to engage participants both physically and virtually, and make sure to create an equal experience for both types of participants.

There are many Interactive Experiences that can be designed to help you organize the most amazing hybrid events, such as Interactive Videos, Quizzes, Polls, Gamified Experiences, and so on. These Interactive Experiences can be used before your event to promote participants and boost sign-ups, during your events to engage, entertain, and delight, or after your event to gather feedback and share results.

For example, you could create an Interactive Virtual Tour for online participants so they can virtually go around the event facility and explore the different rooms, stages, and so on. This is an excellent way to allow online attendees to the network by starting online discussions and visiting the different stands and exhibitions.

You can also use Interactive Videos instead of traditional presentations. The same Interactive Videos can be shown to both types of participants, except that online attendees could interact directly within the video while in-person attendees could interact through QR codes with their phones. In your Interactive Videos, you could add as many interactive elements as you want, such as polls, quizzes, Marketing Games, contests, and so on.

In other words, the keys to a successful Hybrid Event lie in planning an event that will be engaging and interactive for every attendee regardless of their location. With Dot.Vu, the Leading Interactive Content Platform, can create many Interactive Experiences that will delight your audience both virtually and in-person.”

Erika Naud & Ivanina Topuzova from Dot.vu

How do I engage guests in a Hybrid event?

“In the post-pandemic world, where hybrid events are increasingly becoming popular, many event planners struggle to bring their virtual and in-person audiences on the same page simultaneously. Pre-pandemic, there was much less emphasis on engaging virtual attendees, who were more of mere spectators. However, now people prefer to choose their participation format, suiting their convenience, and this necessitated a major overhaul of attendee engagement techniques. Combining the best of digital and physical worlds to keep all attendees happy and excited throughout requires some reinvention of strategies.

1. Foster Inclusion

Creating a sense of inclusion is more difficult for remote participants. They miss the social interactions and lively ambiance that keeps onsite attendees hooked. A ‘virtual facilitator’ can help replicate the onsite experience for them by interacting over live chat, Q&A, agenda, polls, and more. For presenters, acknowledging the virtual audience is important, and so is taking their names and addressing the camera to give them a sense of eye contact while answering their questions.

2. Prefer Live Sessions

Live sessions are always recommended instead of pre-recorded ones. To both sets of audiences, live sessions give an opportunity to have their questions, views, and doubts addressed in real-time, which always ensures a higher degree of interaction.

3. Allow Ample Networking Opportunities

While in-person attendees can comfortably indulge in networking during lunch breaks or around their tables, facilitating it in virtual spaces is often challenging. Offer breakout rooms for remote participants, helping them set up targeted or randomized meetings. Some tools also allow replicating physical venues where attendees can move between tables or join different conversations, enhancing the overall experience. It’s also crucial to create a means where virtual attendees can network with the onsite audience.

4. Use Technology Optimally

Whether you’re filling the session gaps with fun elements or meaning to create a connection between both sets of audiences, using the right technology is essential to keep the engagement level high. In addition to ensuring a seamless experience for remote attendees, you can go creative and use technology to further blend both worlds. For instance, showing the remote participants on the main screen on-site can further enhance the sense of inclusion and promote connectivity between virtual and in-person attendees.”

Jaya from Eventcombo

What Are The Keys To Successful Hybrid Events?

“Hybrid events are more popular than ever, and it’s not hard to see why. More event organizers are embracing the hybrid format with the potential to increase attendance, boost revenue, and improve convenience. That being said, organizers need to understand the format before they can use it effectively.

Balance Virtual & Physical Elements

One potential stumbling block when running a hybrid event can be neglecting the in-person or virtual elements. By focusing too heavily on one aspect of the format, organizers can fall into the trap of producing a ‘False Hybrid’ event. This leads them to cater too heavily to one group of attendees while neglecting the other.

False hybrids can be effective for some events, particularly if virtual and physical audiences participate on separate days. However, it is generally essential to treat both sets of attendees equally, to ensure all participants feel engaged and not alienated.

Use the Right Technology

Mobile event apps are now a common sight in the industry, to the point of becoming a vital resource. While these apps can greatly improve an in-person event, the potential to link them with a virtual event platform makes them essential for effective hybrids.

By partnering with the right event solutions specialist, organizers can create a branded app that improves attendee interaction, promotes networking, drives footfall, and more besides. Likewise, these features can be mirrored onto a custom web platform, letting virtual and in-person attendees engage with content, sponsors, and each other.

Know Your Audience

There are many reasons to run a hybrid event, but one of the most common is to expand your audience and increase event attendance. While the hybrid format can certainly deliver this, you need to establish what key features will help achieve your goals.

For example, if you want to expand your audience globally, you should probably consider an app and platform will multilanguage capabilities and closed captioning.

When planning a hybrid event, it is always best to consult an event solutions specialist who can guide you through the process and deliver exactly what you need.”

Ben Harper from All in the Loop

Who Would Attend A Hybrid Conference?

“The popularity of hybrid events can be attributed to their unique flexibility to attendees. With the option to attend either in person or virtually, conferences can expect much higher participation levels and a lot of interest from participants around the world.

Thanks to globalization, many corporations today have international teams that can rarely meet in person. For workplaces like these, internal events like team meetings, employee engagement activities, or quarterly planning events are best done in a hybrid environment, where local employees can meet in person, and any employees who work in other parts of the world can attend virtually. Additionally, external corporate events such as product launches or customer conferences can gain much more attention from customers globally if they have the option to attend events in a hybrid capacity.

Besides the corporate world, educational institutions also have much to gain from hybrid events. Everything, from student information sessions to doctoral dissertations, is now hybrid events, allowing a mix of local and international participants to interact and learn. Universities can now teach hybrid courses using higher ed LMS, and by doing so, they can eliminate several financial or legal barriers that their international students would face otherwise. Many graduation ceremonies are also hosted as hybrid events, allowing students to participate even if they have returned to their home country.

The case for hybrid conferences and events has been made even stronger since the pandemic. The risk associated with large gatherings has made hybrid events common in workplaces and educational institutions. Many sick or immunocompromised people prefer to attend events virtually, while those who are immunized have the option to attend the same events in person, provided that they take the necessary precautions.

There are many reasons a person may attend events in person or virtually. Oftentimes, the decision simply comes down to personal preference. This flexibility and room for choice are why hybrid events are and will continue to be very popular.”

Edly

How much does a Virtual or Hybrid conference platform cost?

“The cost of a virtual or hybrid platform can vary quite a bit, and most do not have native streaming built in, which creates an extra cost (we natively do).  Most companies, us included, have a base starting price.  This could be anywhere from $8,000 – $20,000+.  This covers your base license for use and typically a set number of users.

If you would like custom features, additional professional services, or go beyond your base user count, costs can rise.”

Catherine Moats from Corporates Events Online

How do you Define a Hybrid Event?

"A hybrid event is a combination of in-person and virtual. Typically, both audiences share a live stream digital experience – oftentimes, this can be both audiences watching the same screen or the virtual audience watching a live in-person event. The latter is more common. Event organizers aim to provide a similar experience for virtual attendees by offering break-out sessions, chat engagement, and props like snacks or swag shipped to their homes. Typically, the virtual and in-person audiences remain separate yet offer a slightly different perspective on the same content. The beauty of hybrid events is allowing attendees from all over the world to get access to the content they normally wouldn’t have access to. While hybrid events became popular out of necessity, it does feel like it’s here to stay, given how large an audience they can support."

Jas Banwait from SnackMagic

In conclusion, do not be discouraged from trying to host a hybrid event even if you have never done so before. Technology is more available than ever, and time is ideal.

And in practice, hosting them isn’t difficult. Not if you have the proper equipment and knowledge.

Hybrid Events

A brave new world: a quick guide to hybrid event safety

4
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Hybrid events are on the rise, so it’s more critical than ever for organizers to put safety precautions into place at their events to keep attendees as safe as possible. We walk you through the basics.

Just as virtual events became the standard for events over the last two years, now, hybrid events are becoming the new normal. 

With in-person events on the rise again (according to a Northstar Meetings Group survey, 96% of planners will do an in-person event this year), but the benefits of virtual events too strong to simply throw by the wayside, event organizers are bringing the strengths of the two together in the format of a hybrid event. The result? The energy that comes from face-to-face interactions, as well as increased reach, better engagement and improved analytics from virtual event platforms.

However, organizing a hybrid event in this new normal is anything but normal. It  requires new planning and extra precautions to keep attendees as safe as possible. This is mission critical in making sure your hybrid event is a success. To help, we’ve listed out everything you’ll need to keep an eye on when planning your next event:

1. Pick a venue that can accommodate COVID-19 protocol

Venues for your hybrid event need to be able to accommodate Covid-19 protocol

It can be difficult to zero in on a venue for your hybrid event because there’s a lot to consider. From technical support to attendee capacity, here’s a list of things to keep in mind when assessing potential venues. Safety is one of the most important.

Keep in mind that the venue will have to conform to the safety regulations of their respective local and national governments, so look for venues that already have well-documented and clear safety policies and protocols in place. 

Bonus: Venues that have received Covid-19 Safe Accreditation are optimal choices. You can keep an eye out for: 

  • Global Biorisk Advisory Council’s (GBAC) STAR accreditation. This program evaluates 20 elements  of a venue’s operating protocols and risk-assessment strategies, from disinfection practices to emergency preparedness. 
  • The AIM Secure Accreditation. It is an industry-wide mark of excellence focussing on offices, venues and service providers.

When your attendees see that the venue is committed to keeping them safe, your on-site attendance will improve.

2. Make checking-in as safe as possible

Make checking in as safe as possible at your hybrid event

Prevention is better than the cure, so being as cautious as possible is the best way to go. Here are a couple of measures you can take to drive better safety even before the event is in full-swing:

  • Require a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination for entry: By doing so, you’ll decrease the possibility of anyone catching the virus at the event, and it will also make attendees feel more confident and comfortable about attending in-person.
  • Staggering arrival times: A simple way to avoid congestion at the entryway is by allowing groups of attendees to arrive at certain times. Attendees can choose their time ahead of time on your registration form, ticket booking site or event landing page. Consider allowing cohorts of people - such as those from the same workplace - to book arrivals together. 
  • Allow mobile check-ins: Invest in technologies that allow digital scanning or can process virtual tickets to enable entry into the event. Making the process as contact-less as possible will make check-in more safer but more efficient too.
  • Streamline traffic: Set up dedicated entrances and exits at the venue - more than one will be a benefit as it will help to diffuse any traffic jams so to speak. Use floor markers to keep people at a safe distance while they wait to check in, enter rooms, etc. 

3. Communicate health and safety protocols clearly

Hybrid event safety involves communicating health and safety protocols clearly

Make sure attendees know what health and safety protocols are set in place, before and during the event. 

  • Before the event: Keep attendees in the loop by emailing them about what they can expect at the venue such as the requirement for a negative COVID-test or the use of a mobile app for check-ins. Keep in mind that people are going to be anxious about their safety, so being as clear and comforting as possible will go a long way.
  • During the event: Put up lots of signage in your hybrid event venue to communicate expectations and rules for attendee behaviour. For instance, at CES 2022, attendees were given the choice of three coloured stickers to indicate how much touch they were comfortable with.

 Signs that tell attendees to wear masks or where they can find hand sanitizer are some examples. The point is to make attendees feel comfortable and secure. 

4. Keep lots of PPE and sanitation handy

Keeping lots of PPE handy is important for hybrid event safety

Setting up dedicated areas stocked with hand sanitizer and protective masks are a small but powerful signal that keeping your attendees safe is top of mind.(Bonus: they give you a custom branding opportunity for your business or that of your sponsors.)  Highlight these areas with signage.

5. Touchless, yet matchless, COVID cuisine

Touchless food setups are important for hybrid event safety

There are plenty of ways to offer attendees safe but delicious food at your hybrid event. Here are some options to consider:

  • Seated meals, with tables and guests appropriately distanced are a good option for small events. 
  • Pre-packaged gourmet meals that can be easily consumed by attendees at the in-person venue, and which can be delivered to the houses of virtual attendees. 

Ask attendees to choose from a menu ahead of time to personalize the experience. This also makes for a more eco-friendly event.  Steven Enselein, senior vice president of events for Hyatt, gives the example of a hybrid event recently held at Hyatt Regency O’Hare, “The same breakfast, lunch and snack arrived via contactless delivery right at the doorstep of each virtual attendee’s house. Inside was a menu and plating instructions so they could follow along with the group on-site,” says Enselein. “We are always thinking about outside-of-the-box ways to make remote attendees feel cared for and part of events.”

To sum up…

Hybrid event safety is one of the most important considerations for event organizers now and going forward. Keep these tips in mind when planning your event, and you’ll be able to create an experience that makes your attendees feel safe, comfortable, and supported.

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

5 Ways Employers Can Stand Out in Virtual Career Fairs

6
Mins Read
Kishore C S

With the recent shift from in-person recruiting to virtual recruiting, employers are on the lookout for new strategies to make their brand stand out online and attract the best talent. Here are some quick tips on how they can achieve just that.

While a virtual career fair brings top talent to your doorstep and initiates the first candidate-employer interaction, there are thousands of other employers vying to do the same. 

So, how do you make yourself stand out? 

Here are 5 ways employers can stand out in virtual career fairs and attract the best candidates.  

 1. Create a virtual expo booth: 

 

Typically, there are two types of virtual career fair avenues: 

  • One is a simple webpage with a chat window where attendees can interact with recruiters at a chosen time. 
  • The other is a virtual platform where you can build an elaborate design that mimics an in-person career fair with exhibition halls, expo booths, and a resource center.  

Obviously, choosing a more robust design with extensive features and an immersive booth design is a great way to build your employer brand and bring about excitement among your attendees.   

 Talk about a sure-shot first step in drawing candidates in! 

2. Perfect your employer brand 

 

Nowadays, job seekers want to know whether their job is going to be impactful. Much like how employers evaluate a potential candidate’s background and experience, candidates heavily focus on evaluating an employer’s brand before applying for a job.  

Therefore, a key tactic to make yourself stand out in virtual career fairs is to outline how every talent can add value to your organization.  

Being crisp and clear about your long-term business goals and mission is surely a good thing. This gives attendees an idea of what would be expected of them and how they would be able to contribute to the company’s mission.  

3. Conduct a session for your sponsors

 

Socializing and networking are something job seekers look forward to when they attend your virtual event. An effective way to boost attendee engagement is to consider conducting a live streaming sponsor session that allows them to present to your audience in real time.

Your sponsor could choose career and company-focused topics, providing insight into what it's like working for a company like yours. Also, they can answer any queries that people may have about the benefits, work culture, and other best practices for their first interview.  

4. Make your virtual booth interactive 

Gamification is one of the best ways to stand out in a virtual career fair and make your mark. Passive activities such as watching a video (yawn) are simply not as effective as incorporating interactive elements such as virtual games.

Set up virtual trade show games, with the likely opportunity for attendees to win a prize. This would keep people immersed plus buy more time for your booth reps to interact with potential candidates and build rapport.   

5. Employ immersive design options 

 

A virtual job fair is much more than running a plain old webinar. Setting up an immersive 3D virtual booth can go a long way in standing out to candidates. It creates a memorable experience for them as it is inherently more immersive in nature.

Think about it, 3D booths are something that virtual job seekers hardly ever see from other employers, and this allows you to really cash in on impact and recall.

Of course, the possibilities are endless when you have a good virtual event hosting platform that will help make all the right features pop out with intuitive and engaging virtual experiences. 

Career fair coming up? Hit it out of the park by running it on Zuddl - talk to us.

Hybrid Events

Back to the basics: the ultimate guide on how to set up your first hybrid event step-by-step

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Learn exactly how to go about setting up a hybrid event from scratch.

Hybrid events are poised to be the future of MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences & exhibitions) events as well as internal events (company offsites, sales kickoffs, new hires onboarding sessions etc.) for organizations. So the need for organizers to know how to set up a seamless and engaging hybrid event is more critical than ever. 

It can be intimidating, we know. So, to make this process more straightforward, and to ease your trepidation, we’ve put together a simple guide on how you can go about hosting your first hybrid event.

1. Pick your hybrid event venue(s) carefully

A checklist

Choosing the venue(s) for your event is a little trickier than it seems. Not only do you need to keep the basics in mind - attendee capacity, technology capabilities - but you also have to factor in safety and health protocols and guidelines. And if you want your event to be as eco-friendly as possible, there is an additional set of factors to consider. Click here to read more.

Nevertheless, here are the basics you need to look for in a hybrid venue:

  • Robust internet connectivity
  • Space for attendees and any equipment needed (stage, lighting etc.)
  • Provides in-house support
  • Lets you hold dry runs 
  • Has safety measures in place

Click here to read a further breakdown of these basics.

2. Choose the right virtual and hybrid event platform

Four people stand around a table made of jigsaw puzzle pieces

This is the big one. Finding a virtual and hybrid event platform that can help you execute a seamless event experience for all your attendees, regardless of whether they are attending in-person or virtually is mission critical. 

The platform you pick will have to serve as the connective tissue between attendees and speakers,  attendees in different locations and venues in different locations as well. So here’s what is essential:

  • Zero lag: A platform that lets you present your stream to your attendees in the lowest latency environment and eliminate the typical RTMP delay.
  • User-friendliness: No matter how much a platform boasts of its capabilities, it won’t make a difference to you as an organizer or as an attendee if the platform is not easy to use. Look for platforms that allow you to build in days instead of weeks, and that require no knowledge of coding for the creation of the virtual venue.
  • Customizability: Customization enables effective branding, marketing, and audience engagement - all critical to the success of an event, and in generating ROI for an organizer. Needless to say, organizing a virtual trade show is going to require different elements than a virtual sales kickoff, so the more flexibility a platform has in accommodating your needs and specifications, the better.
  • Live engagement tools: Build a sense of community in your event with engagement tools such as Chat, Q&A, Polls, Emoji & Raise Hands that enable attendees to participate irrespective of where they are. For instance, for events hosted on Zuddl, virtual attendees use the in-platform tools to take part, while in-person attendees  use our mobile app. This way all interactions are facilitated and captured via a single platform. 
  • Networking capabilities: A platform that lets virtual, and in-person attendees and speakers connect in virtual booths and also network in real-time via the mobile app.
  • Analytics: Your platform should let you capture a breadth and depth of real-time data from both in-person and virtual attendees at your events — including daily attendance, audience engagement and more. 

While these are the essentials required, click here to read other important questions to remember when evaluating platforms for your event. 

3. Set up your virtual venue

A group of people all holding different shapes in their hands, try to fit them together

As mentioned, based on how user-friendly the hybrid event platform you pick is, setting up the virtual venue can take from hours to weeks, so factor this into your planning timetable.

When setting up your virtual venue, keep in mind that you’re trying to create an experience that is exciting enough to rival a Netflix show or a sale on Amazon. Therefore, curating a variety of spaces and activities, such as the following,  is key to retaining attendee attendance, attention and engagement. 

  • Lobby: Event lobbies can help people remember you vs the 5 other events they may be joining that week. Using our platform tools, you can create a warm, welcoming, exciting area that sets the tone for your brand, event, and customer experience.
  • Stages: Stages usually play centerstage at any event. This is where virtual attendees can view live keynotes, panel discussions, roundtables that are occuring at the in-person venue(s). Stages should have engagement tools that attendees and speakers can use to share opinions and join in the conversation. The layouts should also be customizable, so that you can add your company branding to the backdrop or that of your sponsors to drive visibility and awareness for them. Protip: Zuddl offers event organizers a Backstage feature that enables easy management and coordination of speakers and content. With this capability, you can control the rotation of speakers, pre recorded content and transition videos and images, and stay on top of timing. Click here to read more. 
  • Virtual breakout rooms: Rooms in which attendees can meet and talk in smaller groups help drive more in-depth conversations and create a ‘shared experience’ for in-person and virtual attendees. You can use Rooms for a variety of purposes, from team brainstorms and workshops to just casual social rooms where attendees can socialize and talk about sessions happening on the stage.
  • Expo area: Setting up a virtual expo zone enables your sponsors and partners to create virtual expo booths to showcase their products and services. It's a great way to drive value for them, and for attendees as well.
  • Fun zones: There’s plenty of opportunity to make your event an exciting one for attendees to spend time at. You can turn one of your Expo Booths into a photobooth for instance to make your event just that little bit more fun, interactive and memorable for your attendees, or set up virtual games. 

4. Brand everything

A large part of creating a hybrid experience that feels unified and shared is branding, because consistent branding throughout the event, at both the in-person venue and your virtual one, ties both experiences together.

With this in mind, you should completely brand the in-person venue with your company decor and signage, and use similar videos, colors and graphics for your virtual venue as well. This helps in creating a shared and connected experience. 

“Creating a polished and branded meeting venue was very important for us from the beginning,” says Lindsay Meyers, Senior Director, Office of Special Events of the University of Maryland (UMD) when discussing how the UMD team set up their first hybrid board meeting.  “Being able to curate every aspect of the experience was critical. We wanted to design everything in a way that trustees would immediately feel they had come to the right place, and also capture the energy, professionalism, and pride of previous Foundation board meetings.” Click here to read more about the event.

5. Stay on top of event communications

A man follows a set of grey stone dot path

While this specific piece of advice is part and parcel of all event planning, it is especially important in the context of hybrid events. You can assume that most of your attendees do not know quite what to expect from a hybrid event, so all your communications to registered attendees should help them understand what to expect. 

Keep in mind that you’ll need to tailor instructions for virtual and in-person attendees.

For in-person attendees for example, you will need to specify guidelines about the in-person venue - where it is, if there are any COVID negative proofs they need to bring, any instructions about checking if, safety protocols in place, etc.  An event schedule, highlighting rooms, activities, and networking opportunities is key, as is explaining how they will be able to connect with virtual event attendees at the event.

For virtual attendees, you will need to share instructions on how to access the event, an event schedule, as well as how they will be able to connect with in-person attendees at the event. Keep in mind that your attendees will be tuning in from all over the world, so share event timings in an accessible way - ie. in PST/ EST. 

6.  Create an engagement strategy that brings in-person and virtual attendees together

Two men and women stand around holding gears in their heads

More than ever before, we’re yearning for human connection. Build your hybrid event engagement strategy around this tenet, and look for ways to connect in-person and virtual attendees in ways that make them feel part of the same shared experience. Here are some suggestions:

  • Pre-event/Pre-session chat: Connecting attendees with even one other person ahead of time can make them feel more excited, comfortable and confident in attending the event and meeting others, and can even embolden them to participate more during the event.
  • Birds of a feather sessions: These sessions, which can be hosted in virtual breakout rooms, can serve as relaxed town hall-like space where like-minded virtual and in-person attendees can chat about their interests, leading to potential collaboration. You can choose to invite a speaker to the session to facilitate group discussions, or you can make it more informal and simply encourage attendees to have unconstrained conversations about set topics. 
  • Speed networking: This type of networking works in a similar fashion to speed dating but with the advantage of AI-matchmaking. It helps attendees connect with others at the event based on similar interests. For this activity, you will need a virtual event platform like Zuddl that has this capability. Click here to read more. 
  • Stage interactions - Plan in live sessions that shake things up, get everyone energized and create a greater sense of connection. At these sessions, you’ll need to play the role of a thoughtful moderator - using Polls to remind all attendees that their opinions matter in real-time, and encourage everyone to ask questions using Gamification - via the mobile app or using the event platform.  These simple actions can go a long way in making each of your attendees feel ‘seen’ and valued, and will encourage them to keep participating.
  • Virtual watch parties - One of the advantages of virtual Breakout Rooms is that attendees within a Room can together watch what’s happening live on a Stage. In this manner, it functions as a Watch Party of sorts. It’s a great way to intertwine virtual and in-person attendees in real-time. 

7.  Use analytics to uncover relevant insights, faster

Three people stand below a symbol of a lightbulb, a set of gears and a graph diagram

One of the greatest benefits of hosting a hybrid event is that it gives you access to accurate real-time data that you would not otherwise get from a traditional in-person event. This means that with an event platform like Zuddl, you can pinpoint which speakers, sessions and content drive the most interest and participation from attendees, and which are not performing well. 

You can then leverage these insights to make immediate changes (for instance, replacing  poorly performing marketing collateral at an Expo Booth), create valuable follow-up assets (for instance, a downloadable how-to guide related to a session topic), and refine subsequent events (for instance, working again with speakers whose sessions got the most engagement).

To sum up…

We know that organizing a hybrid event can seem intimidating. There seems like a hundred moving parts to keep track of, and not enough time in a day. With this guide, you can go about organizing your event in a calm and purposeful way. Each recommendation will help you build an event experience that is fun, impactful, and memorable.

Over to you

So you just went through the most comprehensive guide for setting up a hybrid event.  From finding the right technology to planning strategies for engagement,  there’s a lot you need to do before the event can be termed a grand success.

Which is why you want to have peace of mind when it comes to the virtual event platform. Choosing a platform that’s extremely user-friendly for both attendee and organizer as well as 100% customizable is one of the smartest decisions you could take. 

We’d be happy to show you how we can help. Why not get in touch with us today?

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

Are your events digitally secure?

5
Mins Read
Kishore C S

It's clear that digital events are here to stay, either as a completely virtual one or as part of a hybrid event. With companies hosting and sharing a lot of information on such events, one of the important factors that marketers must take note of is the level of digital security of the event platform. This post can serve as a reality check on the present state of a company's events and also suggest improvements to fortify security.

Virtual events came to the world’s rescue during the pandemic. They served as a safe way for companies to continue to engage with their internal and external stakeholders remotely. Later, when in-person events came back into the picture, companies still found it valuable to retain a virtual element as part of their event, as the latter proved to be a scalable, cost effective and measurable way of running events. The insights that planners were getting from virtual event platforms changed the way they strategized events; and this created the perfect situation for hybrid events.

Virtual elements are here to stay

Virtual events are here to stay

What can we learn from these developments? It’s simple; virtual events or elements are here to stay. Their relevance has gone beyond the pandemic. Companies have acknowledged the unique benefits of going virtual or hybrid. Now, since we’ve already highlighted the boons of virtual events above, one must wonder what are the more challenging aspects of going virtual? For one, of course, it’s the need to upskill and understand event technology; this is where a robust virtual event platform plays a huge part. However, there’s one more crucial aspect to any event that organizers cannot compromise on - the security of an event.

Event security needs have evolved

Event security needs have evolved

Different ways of running events bring their own challenges. You can see why a virtual event is a desirable cyberthreat target; cyber criminals stand the chance of tapping into important attendee data and company information if the event is not robust enough to keep them at bay. In the past two years, there have also been instances of cyber criminals posing as attendees and joining a virtual event. Once they succeeded s, they were capable of doing anything from sharing risky links and inappropriate content with attendees to heckling the speakers at the event.

We’re sure that all this information is scary enough for planners to make sure they prioritize event security and not take it for granted. Thankfully, securing your event doesn’t have to be difficult. 

Here’s an easy checklist of best practices for you:

  1. Choose a virtual event platform that is certified and highly secure so that there are no chances of software vulnerabilities within the platform.
  2. Ensure that the event platform you choose has periodic audits in place to ensure the confidentiality and security of event data.
  3. When picking the event platform, another thing you should look for is how much control it gives you as an organizer; you should be able to restrict and limit the content shared during your event.
  4. While inviting guests to your event, generate unique URLs for each attendee and unique access codes too.
  5. Inform your attendees that all communications related to the event will only come from your official trusted email address and information from any other source must be ignored.
  6. Inform attendees whenever you plan to record a session; it always makes them feel at ease when you get their consent.

How attendees can make sure they attend secure virtual events

If you’re an attendee, you can add another layer of safety to your event experience by ensuring the security of your personal information by:

  1. Verifying the source of all the emails and communications you received about the event
  2. Using a reliable browser that is aptly patched to handle security vulnerabilities
  3. Creating a password that you don’t use anywhere else (if the event requires you to create one)

To sum up… 

As we see the world embracing virtual elements in every walk of life from education to large-scale events, it is our responsibility to be aware of the risks of going virtual in order to reap the many many benefits that virtual events bring us.

Want to make your next virtual event secure? You can't go wrong with Zuddl - book a demo today.

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

Six challenges faced by virtual event organizers

7
Mins Read
Kishore C S

Virtual events have introduced a whole new world of benefits to event organizers worldwide, but this hasn’t necessarily come easy. Find out the typical obstacles that event organizers face when running a virtual event.

The virtual realm has not only been a savior to companies since the pandemic but also become a beneficial addition to their event strategy. Virtual and hybrid events are all the rage today because they possess the ability to make any event inclusive, scalable, accessible, convenient and insightful.

However, as with anything else, hosting a virtual event comes with its own set of challenges and limitations, especially if you’re running it on widely popular but basic streaming platforms.

Here are 5 challenges you’re likely to face or have faced as an event organizer while running a virtual event:

  1. Engagement 

Your virtual attendees are typically individuals who have been working and attending meetings virtually for a long time now, so it’s no surprise that the phrase ‘Zoom fatigue’ is being mentioned more and more these days; they’re tired of attending meetings online, and this is why engagement is one of the biggest challenges faced by virtual event organizers today.

Going virtual is not just about knowing how to run an event virtually, but more about knowing how to make the event engaging and interactive. When companies run events on basic virtual platforms, the scope for engagement is very limited.

In order to overcome this, event organizers must prioritize features such as Chat, Polls,Q&A and live networking if they want event attendees, exhibitors and sponsors to all have a fulfilling experience.

  1. Technical know-how

There is a common tendency for event planners to assume that a virtual event is no different from another Zoom or Microsoft Teams meeting, and who can blame them. With these basic tools, they may be able to run day-to-day activities just fine, but that’s about it.

To overcome this obstacle, organizers need to not just upskill themselves but also have access to the right technology as well as the right tech support in order to produce studio-quality events without breaking the bank. 

  1. Lack of control over proceedings

As an event organizer who’s working with basic technology, you’re left with no option but to make the best of what you have. What this implies is that you’re restricted by limitations of your tool when it comes to managing your speakers, sessions, attendees and of course, the overall event experience. 

The only thing that can make a difference here is a virtual platform or tool that allows you to take charge of the event behind the scenes - that way you can control the event rather than the other way around!

  1. Lack of scope for branding

One of the most limiting things about a virtual event that’s run on a basic virtual platform is that every event pretty much looks the same. You can never really make your brand’s presence felt since the scope of customization is quite low. 

This can be a deal-breaker especially if you’re expecting a good return on investment from your virtual event. Branding at a virtual event can only be enhanced when you have a powerful virtual studio on your side.

  1.  To go live or to pre-record

This is the question that would boggle Shakespeare’s mind if he was around today.  As an event organizer, it’s important to understand how your attendees like to consume their content. While live streaming  offers a real-time experience, pre-recorded content offers flexibility and an on-demand edge to your event that is sure to appeal to today’s Netflix-watching audience.

This is why many organizers are going in for a blended approach these days. However, you need to have the right technology to make this possible.

  1. Latency, latency, latency

Last but not the least, most streaming platforms are vulnerable to latency. This one problem is powerful enough to derail a virtual attendee’s entire event experience. With engagement already a challenge on its own, latency can just pile up to the problem and make an attendee feel totally lost and disconnected.

Banking on technology that can give you near-zero latency streaming capabilities is the safest way to dodge this bullet.

So, what’s the solution?

No matter how much event organizers upskill themselves, they will always be limited by the technology available to them.

If your business has  already invested in an event platform or streaming tool  like Hopin, Hubilo, Teams or  Zoom, can you still find a way to upgrade your event production and attendee experience  without breaking the bank?

The answer is yes!

Zuddl Studio is built for the modern day event organizers. Seamlessly manage the backstage speaker transition to and from the stage, add lower thirds animation - all this while retaining complete control of your brand. 

Zuddl Studio will work seamlessly with your existing event stack, and change your event game forever.

Psst... join our waitlist to get special privileges and early-bird giveaways!

Hybrid Events
Engagement

5 issues that can torpedo your hybrid event

4
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

From audio-video lag to making virtual attendees feel like second class citizens, here's what can ruin your hybrid event - and what to do about it.

You may not be surprised to hear this, but it still bears repeating: hybrid events are here to stay.

With the value of online events having been firmly established over the past year, but with people excited to be able to meet in-person again now,  organizers are going to find themselves hosting more and more in-person events with a virtual component aka. a hybrid event. To put a number on it - 51% of event marketers are convinced that this kind of conference will stay even after the pandemic subsides - simply because they are "pandemic proof.”

What this means is that event  organizers who half-heartedly trifled with the hybrid event format last year, no longer have the luxury to be complacent anymore in getting a hybrid event right. 

And there’s a lot to get right. 

There’s more to curating a hybrid event than just planning your in-person event and then inviting virtual attendees to tune in. At its essence, a hybrid event is all about bringing attendees together, regardless of their location, to enjoy a shared experience.  Easy to read but not so easy to pull off, especially when you’re not aware of basic errors that could derail your entire event.

To help you out, here are 5 mistakes to eschew when you set out to plan your hybrid event. 

1. Choosing an RTMP-streaming dependent hybrid event platform 

Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) is the de facto method for virtual and hybrid event platforms to stream audio, video, and data over the Internet, meaning that event organizers don’t think twice when the event platform partner of their choice uses RTMP streaming. But this is the biggest mistake organizers and planners can make. 

First, RTMP doesn’t allow for two-way communication which means that your virtual attendees will not be able to speak with your in-person speakers or attendees, which means you’re essentially blocking them from fully participating at the event. 

Second, using RTMP causes a 30 second latency issue which means that virtual attendees will continually feel out of the loop and one step behind in-person attendees. So if you did decide to use RTMP streaming, your speakers and attendees at the venue would have to continually wait for 30 seconds for the virtual audience to react.

Just imagine this scenario at your event:

- Scientist X, speaking at the venue: We’re excited to announce this life-saving new medicine!

- Attendees at the venue:  Cheers and applauds wildly

- Meanwhile, virtual attendees: *crickets*

                                                      10 seconds later… Hello? Scientist X? What’s going on?

                                                      20 seconds later…Hello? Hello?

                                                      30 seconds later…Oh

There should never be a latency issue at your hybrid event. Period. 

The need for organizers now, instead of defaulting to RTMP, is to look for a streaming platform that is zero latency-  like Zuddl.

2. Using a hybrid event platform that makes you compromise on branding

A large part of creating a hybrid experience that feels unified and shared is branding, because consistent branding throughout the event, at both the physical venue and your virtual one, ties both experiences together. However, this can be difficult if your hybrid event platform partner doesn’t have the capability to let you brand the hybrid event your way.

Branding, after all, is much more than slapping a logo and your brand colours on the welcome or login page. It’s about being able to create a look and feel that resonates with your brand, and this can be achieved through creative use of image, video and interactivity. 

So when picking your hybrid event platform, look for the branding ability it gives you. Take for example, this schedule page created by the University of Maryland (UMD) for their hybrid Board of Trustees meeting. Not only does it make clever use of UMD branding, but it also showcases the critical role the Foundation plays, and therefore subtly highlights the importance of the event as well.

The virtual event lobby created by the University of Maryland on Zuddl
The University of Maryland's virtual event lobby

“Creating a polished and branded meeting venue was very important for us from the beginning,” says Lindsay Meyers, Senior Director, Office of Special Events. “Being able to curate every aspect of the experience was critical. We wanted to design everything in a way that trustees would immediately feel they had come to the right place, and also capture the energy, professionalism, and pride of previous Foundation board meetings.”

Click here to read more about this hybrid event.

3. Having an ‘if they like it, they will pay attention’ mindset towards engagement

A women sits at a desk with a laptop. On the upper right hand corner, a hand turns a spotlight towards the woman

We’re betting right now that you have at least another three tabs open, and that you’re reading this piece half distracted by an email you need to read,  a conversation on Slack you need to reply to,  or a Netflix show you have on pause. No judgement - we get it. But like you, your attendees too have a world of distraction at the fingertips, which means that you have to actively work towards keeping their attention at your event. 

Curating great content is, of course, essential but it’s engagement that will differentiate your event sessions from a slick documentary on Youtube. Therefore giving your audience a variety of ways to get involved with your event - from Chat and Q&A to Polls - and using  Gamification to encourage them to keep on  participating is critical to keeping them invested. And this is also a way for all your attendees to feel like they’re at the same event.

4. Downplaying the importance of curating experiences for two audiences

You don’t have to create the same experience for your in-person attendees and your virtual ones.  “It’s really about what you can create even if they are different experiences that’ll make that experience worth it for separate audiences,” says Vedha Sayyaparaju, Co-Founder & CTO at Zuddl. 

For example, you wouldn’t ask virtual attendees to sit and watch live sessions for 4-5 hours like in-person audiences are used to doing. Instead you could consider offering live sessions many times so that virtual attendees can join at a time of their convenience but still build off the energy of a live session with an in-person audience. 

And for instance, if in-person attendees were treated to a live and hands-on demonstration of a product, you might offer virtual attendees exclusive opportunities to meet with experts in an online group for discussion. 

Then, you can bring both audiences together by using virtual Rooms that can be joined by in-person attendees via a mobile app and virtual attendees via the platform, for group discussions.

5. Not using analytics to make quick improvements

Two men stand around a girl with a laptop. Above them are a symbol of a graph a lightbulb, and gears

The biggest benefit of a hybrid event is the ability to learn more about attendee actions at your event in real-time. You’ll be able to see which topics are getting the most interest. You can use polls to capture feedback from attendees.  And you’ll be able to tell what collateral is working and what isn’t. This is all very valuable information that you would not be able to source from a traditional in-person event. 

With this information, you can identify small points of difference to amplify and exploit. For example, if you realize that marketing collateral at your virtual expo booths are failing to drive any engagement or generate any leads, you have the ability to change it immediately and monitor the performance. Or you can action immediate offers and follow-up emails to attendees with higher lead scores.

To sum up…

Hybrid events offer event marketers and organizers an unprecedented opportunity to create a formidable engagement and lead generation vehicle by leveraging the best of both in-person and online event mediums. To get started, keep a watch on the 5 hybrid event pitfalls mentioned in this piece, and take immediate actions to thwart them before they become irreversible. 

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

Fantastic virtual conferences and where to find them

9
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Check out our list of must-attend hybrid and virtual events this year.

There are plenty of exciting hybrid and virtual conferences lined up this year. We’ve put together a list of different types of events you can attend and will be continually updating this list. If we’ve missed out on any you think we should include, do let us know and we will add it in.

JANUARY

CES® 2022

A image promoting CES's virtual event
Image credit: MacRumors

Dates: Jan 5-7

Event type: Hybrid

Why attend: CES is an annual trade show organized by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).  Virtual attendees will be able to access livestreams of keynotes and select conference sessions, and will also be able to connect with onsite exhibitors and other attendees. Those who attend in-person will also be able to use the platform to plan their event agenda and connect with each other and virtual participants. Networking and on-demand content will be open to all attendees until the end of January.

Digiday Media CMO Summit

Dates: Jan 25 – 26

Event type: Virtual

Why attend: The Digiday Media CMO Summit brings together marketing leaders in media, advertising and retail to discuss behavioral trends that they are counting on to find opportunities and share tips — from how they’re navigating new trends such as a surge in OOH advertising to ever-evolving challenges in brand safety — and best practices.

VentureBeat’s The Future of Work Summit

Dates: Jan 12

Event type: Virtual 

Why attend: At VB’s Future of Work Summit, we’ll discuss with top executives how organizations are reimagining and re-architecting their technology stack and strategies to allow for this new virtual world of work. This transformation enables powerful, transformative AI/ML, metaverse technologies such as AR/VR, and AI-assisted intelligent chat and virtual assistants for more collaboration. But it also requires a new kind of workplace culture, emphasizing trust and independence. The Summit will extract specific takeaways, including strategies, tactics, technologies that the boldest and most successful companies are leveraging to pave the way for this new future of work.

FEBRUARY

The Nasscom Technology & Leadership Forum

NASSCOM's virtual event NTLF


Dates:
Feb 16-18

Event type: Virtual 

Why attend: NTLF 2022, with the theme 'Shaping the Techade: The New Now and the Next', will bring together diverse voices from around the world to focus on topics like - reimagining the art of the possible, leadership differentiators, scaling growth, and building a fairer world.

The Virtual MarTech Summit 

Dates: Feb 22-23

Event type: Virtual 

Why attend: This 2-day summit with a focus on B2C & B2B two tracks spanning pressing topics like Cookieless, Gamification, Social Media & Influencer Marketing, CX, Customer Data Platform, UGC, Personalization, Precision Demand. You’ll hear from leaders working in a cross-section of industries whose stories illustrate unique company pain points, breakthroughs, and triumphs.

MARCH

South by Southwest (SXSW)

A banner for SXSW's virtual event
Image credit: SXSW

Dates: Mar 11-20

Event type: Hybrid

Why attend: The event features Conference sessions, Film Festival screenings, Music Festival showcases, world-class Exhibitions, networking opportunities, competitions, awards ceremonies, and much more. The array of guests spans from major entrepreneurs like Michael Dell, health professionals like Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jason Isbell.

Adobe Summit

A banner of Adobe's virtual event
Image credit: Adobe

Dates: Mar 15-17

Event type: Virtual

Why attend: Be inspired by influential leaders and expert Experience Makers as they share industry trends and insights. Speakers this year include AlbertBourla, CEO of Pfizer, Meghan Heather who is the Global IT Portfolio Director of The Coca-Cola Company, and Shantanu Narayen, the CEO of Adobe.

Social Media Marketing World

An image Social Media Marketing World uses to promote hybrid events

Dates: Mar 14-16

Event type: Hybrid

Why attend: Join thousands of the world’s smartest marketers and influencers at the only marketing conference you need to attend and walk away with real business-building ideas that you can put to work for your business or clients right away.

APRIL

Microsoft Envision

An image of a lady attending Microsoft's virtual event
Image credit: Technology Records

Dates: Apr 12

Event type: Online

Why attend: Microsoft Envision is a digital series where you'll join thought leaders from across industries to explore the latest business and technology trends. Get ready to discover the new wave of digital innovation and connect with peers from across the globe.

MAY

IBM Think 2022

Dates: May 10 – 11

Event type: Hybrid

Why attend: Think is an ever-evolving, inclusive, accessible, horizontal conversation about human ingenuity, its advocates, and the tools they employ to break paradigms and create new ones.  It’s more than just a conference — it's how IBM engages with the world. And you can place yourself right at the center of that ever-evolving conversation.

Ad World 2022

Dates: May 2-3

Event type: Virtual

Why attend: Join 50,000+ of the world’s brightest minds in advertising to learn, share secrets and connect online. For two days on 2-3 May 2022, Ad World will stream 10+ Digital Advertising Tracks, consisting of hyper-focused speeches, panels and live Q&A sessions to help take your business to the next level. The all-in-one advertising event will bring you closer to leading marketers and brands than ever before from the comfort of your home.

JUNE

Gallup at Work Summit

An image promoting Gallup's virtual event about the workplace
Image credit: Gallup

Dates: June 7-8

Event type: Virtual

Why attend: The Gallup at Work Summit is for anyone seeking learning and development opportunities. More specifically, the Summit is for individuals whose job it is to develop other people or who are seeking individual development. Join leading experts in improving employee engagement, wellbeing, manager development, and other business topics that influence every workplace.

Bloomberg Technology Summit

Dates: June 8

Event type: Virtual

Why attend: Digital transformation has touched every sphere of life. We are all immersed in a world of data. This data facilitates our healthcare, business and government activities, commerce and entertainment. The Bloomberg Technology Summit: Looking Forward highlights the ways in which society has been changed by digital disruption and provides the roadmap for what lies ahead.

Women in Tech Global Conference 2022

An image promoting the virtual conference by Women In Tech

Dates: June 7-10

Event type: Hybrid 

Why attend: ​​​​​​The hybrid conference will bring women in tech, minorities and allies from all over the world together through an interactive platform featuring live educational & training content, keynotes, engaging panels, breakout rooms, technical workshops, and networking with virtual and in-person sessions.

Cisco Live 2022

Dates: June 12-16

Event type: Hybrid

Why attend: Cisco Live is the networking company’s major event for customers, CIOs, and technology executives. The event is set to ignite creativity, deliver practical know-how, and accelerate the connections that fuel the digital future.

JULY

DigiMarCon West 2022

Dates: July 11-12

Event type: Hybrid

Why attend: Join your peers in-person or online for 2-days jam-packed with digital marketing best practices, latest trends, practical solutions, strategy, and networking, also check out the next generation of technology & innovation; Internet, Mobile, AdTech, MarTech & SaaS Technology.

AUGUST

BLACK HAT USA 2022

Dates: Aug 6-11

Event type: Hybrid

Why attend: Black Hat is the most technical and relevant global information security event series in the world. For more than 16 years, Black Hat has provided attendees with the very latest in information security research, development, and trends in a strictly vendor-neutral environment. These high-profile global events and Trainings are driven by the needs of the security community, striving to bring together the best minds in the industry. Black Hat inspires professionals at all career levels, encouraging growth and collaboration among academia, world-class researchers, and leaders in the public and private sectors.

SEPTEMBER

SAASTR ANNUAL 2022

An image showing Saastr annual event
Image Credit: Duplocloud

Dates: Sep 13-15

Event type: Hybrid

Why attend: 10,000+ SaaS executives, founders, and VCs will come together for SaaStr Annual 2022, the world’s largest SaaS community event on the planet.  Get ready for specific, SaaStr-style actionable advice and learnings to help grow your business from $0 to $100M ARR with less stress and more success. No commercials, no paid content, no boring panels. Every session is hand-screened and vetted to help you learn.

OCTOBER

Reuters Impact

Dates: Oct 3-7

Event type: Virtual

Why attend: Solving the climate risk challenge requires a significant, and coordinated private and public-sector effort. Reuters IMPACT is a free virtual global conference that brings together world leaders, big business and forward-thinking pioneers to inspire, drive action and accelerate innovation towards the global economy’s top priority: the climate emergency. No matter what role you perform, or the size of your organization, Reuters IMPACT will help you identify how you can influence business driven climate action.

NOVEMBER

HRPA 2022 Fall Conference

Dates: Nov 22-24

Event type: Virtual

Why attend: HRPA exists to ensure that HR professionals have the tools to act as champions for positive change, leading Ontario’s workplaces into the future. The association brings together business leaders from around the world for their series of annual conferences. A fall conference has been scheduled for November 22-24 and will mark the last major event in their 2022 calendar.

DECEMBER

AdWeek: Publishing Week 2022

An image of Adweek's virtual event

Dates: Dec dates TBC

Event type: Virtual

Why attend: Adweek's Publishing Week is an elite summit designed to cut through the noise and connect the most forward-thinking minds in publishing to solve challenges unique to this evolving industry. With the need to add scale and create personalized experiences for their audiences, publishers have had to embrace a more agile mindset. Learn how these companies are leveraging the power of technology to enable multi-channel subscription and ad revenue strategies.

Hybrid Events

A guide to making events more inclusive and accessible

8
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

The need for inclusive and accessible features in virtual spaces is of great importance. Read to learn how Zuddl elevates attendee experiences by providing just that.

Think about the last time you went to the theater to watch a movie. 

You probably went in, sat down, dutifully put your phone away (we hope), looked up at the big screen, and enjoyed the show. A simple and easy experience.

Now consider the POV of someone who goes into the theater to watch the same movie but is hard of hearing, or who speaks a completely different language than that shown in the theater. It would be a completely different, more difficult and exclusionary experience.

Why should you care about this?

One of the biggest benefits of virtual events is that as an organizer, you are no longer hampered by geography. There’s no need to worry about factoring in travel for attendees or speakers, or being constrained by venue capacity when you’re hosting a virtual event. This means that people from all over the world can attend, and where previously you might have been able to host only 1000 people at an in-person event, you can now reach tens of thousands. 


But with great capability comes great responsibility.

You  now need to ensure that each of your tens of thousands of attendees has an  equally amazing experience at your event, whether that’s a virtual  conference, company offsite, virtual office, ora virtual tradeshow. And  central to this is ensuring that each person - from different countries and  diverse backgrounds - can actively participate, contribute to discussions,  and have equitable opportunities.

But this isn’t without its challenges.

When planning virtual experiences for constituents, organizers may fall prey to  an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality. No longer being able to ‘see’ the needs and requirements for different types of attendees can make it harder to address them. 

And this is definitely an issue when one billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. In the United States alone, the Centers for Disease Control notes that: 61 million adults – or 1 in 4 – people live with a disability. These statistics alone makes leading with accessibility and inclusivity the mentality to have as a hybrid or virtual event organizer.

Attendees from different backgrounds or with disabilities will want to consume your content, ask questions to speakers, chat and interact with their fellow attendees - just like everyone else. This means that you not only need to be purposeful and empathetic in the way you organize your event and present your content, but that the virtual event platform partner you work with needs to be able to be fully accessible and inclusive - it needs to put all attendees on an equal footing.

The good news: Zuddl makes your virtual event more accessible and inclusive!

Event Hosting Platform - Zuddl

Central to hosting a virtual event is making sure the content of your event can be understood by all your attendees. This is especially important when it comes to live sessions or recorded video that you or your speakers are sharing during the event. But, as illustrated by the movie theater example, if attendees at virtual meetings are non-native speakers or are hard of hearing, they may find it difficult to follow along and stay engaged.

This is where Zuddl can make a difference. 

Multilingual audio support

Multilingual Audio Support with Zuddl

The reality is that not everybody can speak English or speak it well. So if you have people joining the virtual meeting from France, Finland and Fiji, using multilingual audio support is a great way to ensure that all attendees will still be able to understand speakers and the content that is being presented, which in turn helps to create a more inclusive, egalitarian virtual space.

This, of course, is especially important for companies with remote, multilingual teams. When hosting virtual company offsites, sales kickoffs, company meetings or any other internal events, multilingual audio support can help non-native speakers to better comprehend and retain information, and feel more connected to the workforce.

It makes business sense too. 

According to a survey conducted by the Common Sense Advisory, a market research firm, 72.1% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language. The same piece of research states that 72% of consumers are more likely to buy a product that is offered to them in their own language. Need we say more?

Live captioning

Live Captioning with Zuddl

Live captioning works hand-in-hand with multilingual audio support. This results in a real-time visual aid that helps attendees at your event better decipher what’s being said on-screen. 

The feature helps to improve accessibility for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, but can be useful for everyone, including those who join the live event late, or who are multitasking during the event. 

This is useful when you’re hosting a virtual meeting for your company or team as giving employees the option to read-along live captions in their native language makes it simpler to absorb information and therefore increase focus and engagement. In fact, 80% of consumers are more likely to watch an entire video when captions are available.

Protip: Make presentations and video sessions available for attendees to watch after the event is over. This way they can revisit the information shared as per their convenience and make sure they don’t miss what was shared during a meeting.

Chat function and Emoji Reactions

Emoji Reactions - Zuddl

The use of live chat and emoji reactions at your event gives your attendees the freedom to interact with and react to speakers and content shared as per their convenience, and it means there is equal opportunity to ‘speak’ and ask questions. For those who find written language a bit restrictive, they can easily express themselves through an easy emoji reaction.

To sum up…

Virtual and hybrid events are only as inclusive as they’re made to be; while event platform partners like Zuddl can make a great difference, creating spaces and experiences that make everyone feel welcomed and valued needs to be an active effort on the part of organizers. Talk to our team today to learn how to get it right!

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

5 ways to determine which event platform is right for you

8
Mins Read
Kishore C S

With virtual and hybrid events taking over the events industry as we know it, organizers and businesses need to know how to pick the right virtual event platform to best suit their specific requirements. This article recommends a hassle-free approach to this decision-making process and much more.

If you’ve been staying updated with the latest trends that are changing the event industry, you’ll already know the relevance of virtual and hybrid events in today’s digital-first world. With workplaces and workforces going remote over the past two years, it’s not just  events that have taken a virtual form; day-to-day activities such as team meetings, hiring processes as well as training modules have all done so too.

From an organization's perspective, the need of the hour is knowing  how to tap the potential of the virtual realm to best suit business needs. One of the essential aspects of taking this step is to lock in on a virtual events platform that can turn this idea into a reality, easily and seamlessly- which brings us to our main point.

If you’re looking for a virtual event platform but don’t know where to start in terms of exploring your options, this article is just about to make your life so much easier.

For starters, it helps to have a basic checklist in place in terms while you’re exploring and comparing platforms. 

What should you look for in a virtual platform?

  • It should be easy to use

No matter how much a platform boasts of its capabilities, it won’t make a difference to you as an organizer or as an attendee if the platform is not easy to use. This is why finding an easy-to-use virtual platform should be the first condition on your checklist.

  • It should be scalable

Next, ask yourself how your events are going to be in the near future. While you don’t have to zero in on the exact details, you can still gauge certain things such as the size of your events. This will help you choose a virtual platform more suited to your needs. For instance, let’s say your event plan has a mix of smaller focused events as well big conferences with a typically high attendee expectation. In this case, you’re going to need one platform that can help you run it all.

  • It should be customizable

Another important factor to keep in mind while choosing the platform is the scope of ownership and branding. To say it in simpler terms, always pick a virtual event platform that will empower you to own the event rather than the platform owning you! 

With the trend of decreasing attendee attention spans, customization goes hand in hand with engagement when it comes to delivering memorable and immersive experiences, so if these are things you consider important, don’t choose a platform that will limit you from making your events epic.

  • It should suit your budget

As with anything else, pricing plays an important part when it comes to choosing your virtual event platform too. Once you’ve checked the previous items in the checklist, you can now further filter your search to find a platform that offers the features that you love within your budget. Keeping a flexible budget makes sense if you feel there’s a platform that more than meets your expectations.

  • It should have good reviews

As much as technology takes over our lives, there is one thing that a human being values more than anything else; it’s the firsthand experience or story that another human being has to offer. It’s no different when it comes to choosing the right virtual event platform. User reviews can really inform you about the pros and cons of any platform from a lived experience perspective, so while this is our last point on your checklist, it is surely not the least!


Popular virtual event platforms for you:

Now that we’ve told you how to pick a virtual event platform, here are some big names that are making waves in 2022!


Zuddl

If you’re on the hunt for a platform that puts your brand ahead of anything else, Zuddl might just be the perfect choice for you. 100% customizable and super easy to use, it’s hard not to see why this virtual event platform could be your obvious choice - it can help you create impactful and immersive virtual experiences that are on par with in-person events.

Some of the highlights that set Zuddl apart are that it is latency-free, scalable to an attendee capacity of 1,50,000 and features a drag-and-drop editor that makes adding widgets such a breeze. From an organizer’s perspective, the all-powerful virtual greenroom ‘Backstage’ lets you take control over your virtual event like never before.

“How do I engage my attendees?” is possibly one of the key areas of concern for many event organizers in any virtual event is the level of engagement. Thankfully, Zuddl’s event-wide gamification. Chats, Polls, Q&A and a host of other features can help you not only reach your engagement goals but also surpass them. (Click here to read more about our gamification feature)

On the networking front, the AI-powered interest-based matchmaking feature makes networking a simple, fun and meaningful experience rather than an awkward obligation that you’d otherwise dread.

AES 256 encrypted and GDPR compliant, Zuddl has consciously been built keeping data security and attendee privacy at the core of its design. 

To complete the whole experience, Zuddl also provides you with actionable insights with realt-ime analytics and post-event metrics that are sure to take your future events to a whole new level.

Hopin

Hopin is another popular virtual event platform that emulates the in-person experience. With an attendee capacity of 1,00,000, it offers basic tools such as chat and polls to get your engagement going. 

Its standout feature is the event schedule tool which allows you to swiftly plan a series of events by giving you a top-down perspective. With Hopin, there is scope for customizing your event to an extent; you could work with the default themes and partial drag-and-drop capabilities to add your stamp to the event experience.

vFairs

vFairs offers a 3D virtual environment for your virtual event needs. With features such as 1:1 networking and group networking, video and document hosting, the platform offers a value-driven alternative to traditional or in-person events. 

Like Zuddl and Hopin, vFairs too is integrated with useful add-ons to further customize the event experience. When it comes to networking, attendees may enjoy the choices it offers: striking up a conversation on the spot or scheduling a conversation for later.

BigMarker

BigMarker is a popular choice for those hosting small to medium scale virtual events. This browser-based platform offers standard features such as polls, surveys and screen share while the chat function is enabled based on the organizer’s preference?permissions. 

While this platform may not have the best audio and video quality, it fairs well in terms of its email marketing, landing pages and social media streaming capabilities.

Airmeet

This virtual event platform can host a virtual event of up to 1,00,000 attendees. As an organizer, you’ll be able to accept up to 300 sponsors on Airmeet, so it’s a good choice if you’re looking for extensive sponsorship. 

Its networking tables and usage-based pricing are notable, and it is also available as a free version, which is limited in its capacity but still offers networking features such as the social lounge and 1:1 networking.

Hubilo

Another notable platform for virtual and hybrid events is Hubilo, which allows you as an organizer to focus on attendee and sponsor experience by offering engagement features such as a leaderboard and points for participation. 

Apart from the basic essentials of a virtual event, Hubilo also offers full-time customer support and event insights that organizers can leverage.

So there you have it, folks. Choosing a virtual event platform doesn’t have to be difficult, and we’ll make sure it never will. Want to make your decision even easier? Talk to us today.

Hybrid Events

5 ways to drive more value for your hybrid event sponsors

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Attracting new sponsors and retaining existing ones is no cakewalk for event organizers. But the shift to virtual and hybrid events has made this easier. Learn how.

Amongst the many challenges faced by organizers is that of driving value for event sponsors. 

Every organizer knows that sponsorship is critical to a successful event - not only in terms of financial backing but also because of positive publicity, increased brand awareness, reach, and prestige that it powers. So, after bringing a sponsor on board, it’s extremely important to be able to give that sponsor the ROI that you’ve promised them - or else you risk losing them for future events. 

But the growing popularity of hybrid events and the fact that 86% of B2B companies see an increased ROI of their hybrid events within 7 months of conducting it—presents a great solution to tackle this challenge.

Gone are the days when you would slap sponsor logos on merchandise. Thanks to the virtual and in-person components of hybrid events, organizers have more and better opportunities to drive both brand awareness for sponsors and lead generation as well. 

Here’s how to go about driving value for sponsors at your next hybrid event:

1. Understand what your event sponsors want 

Virtual Meets with Zuddl

Mike Butcher, the Editor-At-Large at TechCrunch, explains how sponsors’ expectations have changed over the years while reiterating the importance of understanding them from the beginning, stating "A lot of these sponsors don’t just want to have a sponsor sticker slapped onto an event. They want to do something that has a real conversational element to it.”

So discussing your sponsors’ objectives from a hybrid event at the outset will allow you to produce tailor-made sponsorship opportunities and results. Keep in mind that an essential part of managing sponsor expectations is clarifying what you can and cannot do with this event.

For instance,  sponsors could be seeking a high level of interaction with the target audience but may be unsure of what results could be achieved through a hybrid event. Accordingly, you can share engagement metrics from previous virtual or hybrid events you’ve hosted as well as touchpoints you’ve planned for the upcoming event with them. This can help you and your sponsors agree on a goal that you are both comfortable with.

2. Choose a virtual event platform that offers branding, engagement + analytic tools

Virtual Event Platform - Zuddl

Whilst you are having these important discussions with your sponsors, you will also need to be scouting and evaluating virtual event platforms that can help you drive the results you desire ie. happy attendees and happy sponsors.  What are the basics that your virtual event platform will need to have?

  • Branding - Just as your physical venue has banners and signage showcasing your event sponsors, so should your virtual venue. So your event platform needs to have the capability to allow you to customize the venue as per your wishes. If you want to put up banners in your lobby dedicated to sponsors, you should be able to. Want to highlight that a sponsor is sponsoring a specific Stage or session by changing the background image of the Stage? You should be able to do that too. Basically, you should have free rein to be able to drive brand awareness for your Sponsors throughout the venue.
  • Audience engagement tools: The more you make a hybrid event memorable for attendees, the better it reflects on your event sponsors, so choose a platform that can elevate engagement. Look out for these:
  • ~~Chat, Polls and Q&A: These tools can make a huge difference by turning what can feel like a video playlist of lectures into a lively and exciting two-way conversation. Whether an attendee is sitting at the in-person venue or tuning in from home, using the same tools helps everyone feel part of the same experience and boosts participation.
  • ~~Gamification: This feature can encourage attendees to do more at the event by rewarding them for every action they take during the event. 
  • ~~Virtual Breakout Rooms: These can be used to host small group conversations and curate more focused discussions. So you could for instance dedicate a room per Sponsor; this means that they would have a representative sitting in the Room and striking up conversations with attendees interested in the company or a service/product of theirs. This allows your sponsors to gain more qualified leads and interact with their target audience at a deeper level.
  • Analytics: One of the biggest advantages of hosting a hybrid event is the data that can be collected. The virtual component of the event means that attendee actions - such as questions they ask, Polls they answer, booths visited etc can all be captured. In this way, sponsors can see how many attendees watched a product video, for example, or visited a sponsored Stage, Booth or Room. This insight can help in post-event follows and in better understanding feedback or sentiment about a product or service.

3. Give sponsors their own virtual Expo Booth 

Virtual Expo Platform - Zuddl

An exhibit booth is perhaps the oldest strategy for driving value for sponsors at an event - and that holds true today. By enabling sponsors to set up booths at both the physical and virtual venues, you double the exposure they receive. 

Each booth acts as a hub for sharing branded content, marketing collateral, and downloadable assets. And as each booth can be staffed by a company representative, sponsors can offer product demos and hold private conversations directly with attendees. 

Importantly, each virtual booth comes with a ‘Register Interest’ button for attendees to express their intention. This is a simple but powerful way for Sponsors to collect leads. 

4.  More touchpoints and activities that give sponsors more exposure

Virtual Team Building Activities - Zuddl

Plan in activities and touchpoints that drive visibility and awareness for event sponsors. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Strategically create in-show placement at different places in the virtual and in-person venue, such as the lobby or breakout rooms zones to boost the sponsors’ visibility organically.
  • Add representatives from sponsoring brands as moderators or presenters for event sessions and involve them in panel discussions or forums as well. This is a great way to highlight your sponsors’ domain knowledge.
  • Plan in sponsored sessions targeting the brand’s primary audience. 
  • Play videos by event sponsors in between sessions to educate your audience about their companies, and offerings.
  • Offer educational content and downloadable assets from sponsors in your event lobby to reinforce their thought leadership and collect leads in exchange.
  • Host trivia quizzes that include a question or two about sponsors. For instance, a tech-related trivia session centering around your sponsors from the software technology domain. 
  • Hold a raffle with prizes from sponsors for the winners

Protip: Gamification is your best friend here as it can nudge attendees into completing actions that can drive value for them and your sponsors. 

5. Give your sponsors actionable insights

So far, we’ve focused on creating value for your sponsors during the event. But what happens once the event is over? Post-event insights are crucial to retaining sponsors for the long run as it can help aid strategy, product development, decision-making, and budget allocation. To this end, event organizers can share attendee data, survey and poll results, and insights from other activities to reveal what resonated the most with the sponsors’ target audience. 

Here are some crucial metrics you can share with your sponsors:

  • Total number of participants
  • Leads generated
  • Audience engagement
  • Results of sponsored surveys and polls 
  • Sponsored sessions with the most engagement and attendance 

 To sum up…

The key to attracting more sponsors lies in creating value for them by building brand awareness and accelerating lead generation. Their primary interest lies in accessing your audience base, establishing their domain expertise, and capturing qualified leads.
Hybrid events give you ample opportunity to deliver these demands. Start by recognizing your sponsors’ needs, and then using the unique benefits of a hybrid event to meet them. All it takes is a little creativity, a little thoughtfulness, and a powerful virtual hosting platform like Zuddl to pull it off.

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

A message from our CEO: Building the future of enterprise events

3
Mins Read
Bharath Varma, Founder, Zuddl

A message from our co-founder and CEO, Bharath Varma announcing Zuddl's Series A funding, and his vision for the future.

Today, we have some exciting news to share — we’ve raised $13.35 million in our Series A round!

Alpha Wave Incubation led our Series A round with participation from Qualcomm Ventures, GrowX Ventures, Waveform Ventures. We’re thrilled to work with investors that believe in our long-term vision of the future of enterprise events and I wanted to take a moment to celebrate this milestone and share my thoughts on Zuddl’s journey and our plans for the future.

Our Journey

When Vedha and I first talked about the idea of Zuddl, we could not have imagined that mere months later COVID-19 would propel us on a dizzying journey to turn that idea into reality. We started Zuddl in May 2020 and spent the next couple of months in the YC summer batch racing to launch our MVP. Since then, we’ve been working hard to improve our product, grow our team and get Zuddl in front of as many potential customers as possible, growing 30x in the process.

In the last 18 months, we have launched a lot of features and improvements to enable organizations to run awe-inspiring events all the while putting their brand front and center. Event organizers have built digital replicas of their physical office spaces, recreated their favorite venues, and built completely themed event spaces.

All of these lead back to one theme: organizers are ready to embrace the world of hybrid and virtual events. What started out as a begrudging exercise forced on organizations by the pandemic has unlocked a host of new possibilities that organizers are embracing. For the first time ever, it is the norm that access to events is not dictated by where you are. Going back to our favorite analogy, imagine being unable to watch a football game because you can’t attend in person. Wild, right? For a long time, that was an accepted reality for business events. Expectations have shifted now and we are excited to empower organizations to embrace that change.

More than anything else though, I am so humbled by the team of A+ players that have pushed us forward on this incredible journey. The Zuddl family has grown significantly in the last year. We have grown from a team of 7 to over 75+ across the globe working together to empower organizations to deliver remarkable live experiences.

The Road Ahead

With this new funding, we’re excited to continue to empower organizations to build remarkable live events. More and more, teams tell us that they are feeling the fatigue of boring virtual meets and are struggling to keep their attendees engaged. Zuddl enables organizers to bring the energy back to their live events with a backstage studio that delivers high-quality production and drag and drop widgets that stay true to their brand.

Our vision is to be the one platform for all enterprise events, whether that’s internal or external, hybrid or virtual. This new round of funding will enable us to continue building on the foundation we have built so far and help us achieve our next few goals:

1. Double down on product

Organizations have just dipped their toes into the possibilities of hybrid and virtual events. That’s why we’re committed to building the best enterprise event platform - more interactive, powerful and integrated into the other tools you use.

We are investing in data and integrations to enable data-driven post event decisions. We are revamping the organizer event setup experience to be simpler and more intuitive. We are doubling down on our feature set for hybrid to really break the barriers between virtual and in-person attendees. We are launching new product lines.

2. Scale our team globally

Zuddl started after the pandemic and we’re proud to have built a talented remote-first team. With this funding, we’re thrilled to be able to continue to grow the team and have more people join us on this journey.

We are also opening a new office in Abu Dhabi this month. This will be our headquarters for EMEA region sales and support and will also allow us to tap into a larger market of engineering talent. You can view our open positions here.

3. Accelerate our growth

We’ve been so fortunate in the last 18 months to work with customers like Kellogg’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Microsoft, NASSCOM and over 15 Fortune 500 companies. We know that this is just the beginning and we have so much more work to do. We want every large organization and every large event to be powered by Zuddl. We’re beyond thrilled to enter this new phase of growth and take a step closer to that goal.

To all Zuddlers, thank you for everything you do. I couldn’t have imagined a better bunch of people to embark on this journey with. I learn from you all every day. To our customers, thank you for the trust and faith you have placed in me and in Zuddl. We at Zuddl, remain committed to your success.

With gratitude,

Bharath Varma
Co-founder & CEO, Zuddl

Hybrid Events

Help! How can I boost attendee engagement at a hybrid event?

5
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Keeping both virtual and in-person attendees interested, engaged, and satisfied can be a tall order, but equipped with these best practices, you’ll be able to keep everyone riveted.

First,  let's get this out of the way: hybrid events have been around for years.

Take any example of a major sporting event that has been televised worldwide. On the one hand, you have plenty of people enjoying the game in person at the stadium, and on the other hand, you have millions of fans watching the game at home. This is an example of an event that is hybrid thanks to its virtual and in-person components. So, why the hype now?

Over the past year, event marketers have seen first-hand the benefits that come with virtual events -  the ability to reach a broader audience, drive more engagement, track metrics easily, and improve event ROI. So even though people are able to meet again in person now, the success driven by virtual events have ensured that organizers will want to bring together elements of both to host a hybrid experience; as per the EventMB´s State of the Event Industry Report, 67.5% of event planners believe that future events will mostly be hybrid. 

But there’s one major caveat: in order to take advantage of everything that hybrid meetings and events have to offer,  focusing on ways to keep attendee engagement high is critical. But this can seem daunting - how are you going to keep thousands of online attendees along with in-person attendees invested throughout your event? 

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Set expectations for both live and virtual attendees

Regardless of whether an event is in-person or virtual, letting attendees know what they can expect at the event beforehand has always been a priority for organizers. In the case of a hybrid event, this is especially important.

Keep in mind that your attendees may be confused about how the hybrid setup will affect their event experience. They may not understand how to attend it, how to consume content, or how to and interact with others.

Setting the stage, therefore, is the first step in driving better engagement. Educating attendees about how to access the event, what in-person and digital elements will be present, how they can participate, and how they can connect with other attendees will go a long way.

2. Choose the right venue for your event

Hybrid Event with Zuddl - 1

From the seating plan to technological capabilities, the venue you choose can play an important role in your ability to keep all your attendees captivated and engaged. The essentials: seating capacity for your in-person attendees, Covid-19 safety considerations, full audiovisual production ability or live studio setup, and secure and reliable WiFi. 

You have to ask yourself: How can I use the venue space and its capabilities to create an immersive experience for all attendees? Does it have the equipment I need to produce a high-definition Netflix-like event experience? Does the venue provide enough bandwidth to prevent any buffering or AV lag?

As hybrid events become increasingly popular, more venues are starting to offer the services that enable hosting them. Today, it’s not surprising to find hybrid events venues that come equipped with a full live studio setup with Augmented Reality, XR effects, LED backdrops, and more. These may be a little more expensive, but the experience they provide is sure to increase your session engagement tenfold.

3. Be mindful of timezones when planning your schedule

Virtual Meets with Zuddl

It’s quite possible that you’ll have attendees from all over the world tuning into your event, in which case, how can you make sure your attendee from Alaska is able to have an event experience as satisfactory as an attendee from Australia? How can you ensure that everyone has access to your event content? And has the opportunity to connect with other attendees and speakers? Planning your event can seem pretty complex.


But it doesn’t have to be. 

One solution is to create on-demand content or set up simulated live sessions. You can release pre-recorded videos or workshop tutorials each day which means you can accommodate attendees in different time zones easily. You can then follow it up with live Q&A sessions with the speakers featured in the on-demand content, which keeps everyone interested and involved.

Another is to host the event over a couple of days - why not? The virtual component to your hybrid event allows you to do so with agility. As long as you have an event schedule that clearly spells out what sessions or activities are going to be going live at which times, your line-up can scale up or down.

Click here to read about how one of our clients held their virtual conference over an incredible 10 days. 

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

And by creating more chances for your attendees to access and consume your content, the better your engagement rates will be.

4. Choose the right virtual event platform

Keeping hybrid attendees engaged is already a challenging task, so don’t complicate it further with cumbersome technology. You can assume that just like you, your attendees and speakers and sponsors will also be a bit unaccustomed to a hybrid event setup, so your first priority should be to find a virtual event platform partner that makes the entire process as simple, straightforward, and stress-free as possible.

Second, if the event platform you choose has features and tools that will help you drive engagement, that’s half the work done. Live Polls, Q&A, and Chat facilities are the bare minimum you should look for. Then there are platforms like Zuddl that will give you enhanced features like Raise Hands, Breakaway Rooms, and AI-powered Networking that raise the bar. Also critical: a mobile app that in-person attendees can access while at the venue that lets them connect with virtual attendees.

The more spaces and pathways you give your attendees to connect, chat, and interact, the more engaging your event will be as they are constant reminders of being part of something bigger than themselves.

5. Facilitate shared and inclusive experiences 

The last thing you want is for any of your attendees to feel left out. Leveraging the capabilities of the virtual event platform and the in-person venue you choose, you can then host activities and sessions that bring your in-person and virtual attendees together.

Here are a couple of ways to do this:

Networking -  Give your attendees the opportunity to meet and connect with each other at their own pace by setting up networking sessions, and Breakout Rooms.  Zuddl offers Smart Networking through which attendees are matched based on mutual interests such as a session topic, a job role, or an industry. Once matched, attendees can schedule a 1:1 video meeting, and get to know each other better.

Breakout Rooms - These virtual rooms can be used to facilitate small group conversations. Attendees can use these rooms just to socialize and relax or get together to discuss a specific topic. These are particularly effective as they bring together small numbers of like-minded peers who can easily form connections with each other.

Stage Interactions - While it’s important to offer content that is accessible to attendees as per their convenience, it’s paramount to have live sessions that shake things up, get everyone energized and create a greater sense of connection. At these sessions, you’ll need to play the role of a thoughtful moderator - using Polls to remind attendees that their opinions matter in real-time, take as many questions as you can by the audience to Speakers, or even using Raise Hands to bring attendees onto the stage.  These simple actions can go a long way in making an attendee feel ‘seen’ and valued, and will encourage them to keep participating.

6. Use gamification to make engagement more fun!

Attendee Engagement with Zuddl

Gamification is a simple and effective way for you to prompt and encourage attendees to participate more at your event. Set points to different activities and actions your attendees can complete such as asking a question or answering a Poll, and set prizes for those who top the leaderboard. This introduces a lighthearted sense of competition that will keep energy flowing throughout the event. (Click here to read more about Zuddl’s gamification feature)

To sum up…

The popularity of hybrid events is only set to grow over the next few years, so it’s important that you know how to get the most out of any hybrid event you host. Through thoughtful planning and the support of the right venue and a virtual event platform, you should be able to create an event experience that has all of your attendees excited and tuned in - no matter if they’re attending in-person or online. 

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

Reasons Why To Use NFTs at your Next Hybrid or Virtual Event

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Through NFTs, your attendees can “own” a unique part or moment at your event instead of just attending it, enabling you to tap into new revenue streams and boost brand loyalty. Read to find out the what, why and how.

Look out event organizers! NFTs will change virtual/hybrid events forever.

When a digital artwork called “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” sold for $69 million at Christie’s in March this year, it became clear that the time of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) had arrived. Although they have been around for years, the hype around NFTs has skyrocketed recently; there’s been $2.5 billion in NFT sales already in 2021. 

Wait, what is an NFT?

First, to address the elephant in the room, an NFT is a crypto asset (similar to a coin) representing an intangible digital item such as an image, audio file, video, gif, meme, or moment. An NFT is made and stored on a blockchain platform, which is the same technology that powers Bitcoin. The digital asset is traded online and cannot be duplicated.</span That’s why NFTs are so valuable.

What place do NFTS have at virtual or hybrid events?

NFTs have the power to disrupt the landscape of the events industry. Brands can now create unique, engaging, and interactive experiences for attendees, and give them  a token of ownership — something meaningful from the event that they can cherish forever.

Take the example of the music album ‘When You See Yourself’ which was released by the band the Kings of Leon in the form of an NFT. The group released tokens for special album packages, front-row seats at their concerts for life, and exclusive audiovisual art. This way, they gave all those who bought their tokens a piece of a one-of-a-kind and personal moment in time that any fan would have been proud to own.

Event organizers and marketers can employ a similar strategy at virtual and hybrid events. But while there are plenty of ways to use NFTs at your event - from ticketing to giveaways - providing value to your attendees and driving loyalty should be central to your strategy. Here’s what to keep in mind when you make your plan:

Allow the audience to “own” a moment and not just remember it 

By enabling your attendees to take home a unique NFT from the event aka actually “owning” an exclusive piece from the event experience, of which only a specific number will ever exist. With scarcity and uniqueness comes value.

Take digital artist Ahmed, for example, who attended a Clubhouse event on digital assets and NFTs. Instead of doing things the traditional way, he decided to capture a special moment from the event and turn it into an NFT. The ability to “own” this moment—through an NFT—made people buy it for 0.24 ETH from him.

Pique interest and nurtures brand loyalty 

Using an NFT as a virtual/hybrid event ticket lets you give attendees rewards, assign prizes to particular seats, or even offer additional event perks such as an invitation to an exclusive virtual after-party. Such a unique and exclusive brand experience can pique attendees’ interests and nurture brand loyalty. 

Virtual and hybrid event with Zuddl


5 ways to use NFTs at your next hybrid or virtual event

Here are a couple of suggestions to get you thinking about how to use NFTS at your event, and how they can work to your benefit.

1. Leverage NFTS as part of your pre-event promotions

With countless virtual events being held every week, it’s not easy to stand out. You’ll need to create a customized and valuable event experience to truly give attendees more than what they signed up for.

This is where NFTs can come into play. You can use them as a major Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your virtual event. They can act as a tremendous pre-event marketing strategy, help you create buzz around your event, boost brand and event awareness, and give your audience yet another reason to sign up.

To this end, The Preakness Stakes, a legacy American thoroughbred horse race launched a range of digital souvenir NFTs this year, to market an old sport to a younger audience. Soft NFTs are digital such as full race videos and a digital rendering of the trophy, while others come with real-life experiences at the 2021 Preakness, such as VIP tickets and naming a race on the undercard.

2. Create digital assets and collectibles for mid-event giveaways

Virtual event engagement can be challenging, especially when Netflix and online shopping are just a tab away. NFT giveaways are a great way to keep your attendees’ attention firmly at your event and boost their event experience. Creating and offering digital assets and collectibles around the event theme or cause will further cement brand loyalty and bragging rights for attendees. Win-win.


3.  Use NFTs to create a unique ticketing system with add-ons and ticket tiers

Traditional ticketing systems are becoming increasingly unsafe due to online scams and phishing (12% of customers buying concert tickets end up being scammed). So using NFTs as tickets to your event not only adds an interesting element to your event, but makes the ticketing process safer as well. Here’s how:

  • Straightforward authentication, as blockchain stores the ticket’s code. 
  • Preventions of resale frauds and transfer of tickets by making tickets non-transferable.
  • Ability to offer value add-ons to specific ticket tiers such as rewards and prizes enables curated experiences drives enthusiasm and loyalty
  • Better security and protection as  NFT ticketing systems have top-tier access restrictions, privacy, and anti-scalping measures

Not to mention, it takes less than 5 minutes to generate NFT tickets, and for less than $2.

4.  Offer NFTs as gamification rewards

Virtual event gamification is a simple and fun way to encourage attendees to participate more at hybrid and virtual events. Organizers can set points to specific attendee actions, such as asking questions, answering a Poll, or visiting an Expo booth. Attendees who rack up the most points can then win themselves an NFT. In this way, you can drive engagement and steer audience behaviour.(Click here to read more about how to leverage gamification at your next event).

NFT with Zuddl -1


5. Give attendees NFTs as virtual event swag

Lastly, NFTs can be used as “I was there” event souvenirs for attendees. Think limited-edition iconic pieces that celebrate memories and moments from the event itself - a charismatic moment from a keynote address, a stylish product launch, a bold prediction by an industry leader, a high-energy musical performance, or an unexpected moment of hilarity. Others who were not able to attend the event themselves may be able to access or view these moments, but only your attendees will own them.

Virtual event NFT with Zuddl.


In conclusion...

Plenty of opportunity lies within the exclusivity and value that can be generated by NFTs. The five points highlighted in the article will help you use NFTs in exciting and innovative ways—to drive conversions, boost attendee engagement, deepen consumer relationships and drive new revenue streams.

If you’re interested in learning more about enhancing your next hybrid or virtual event experience through NFTs, gamification and other engagement solutions, talk to our team! We’ll walk you through best practices used by some of our clients like Microsoft and Kellogg’s, and give you a demo of how to use our platform to achieve your event goals. 

Just book a demo to get started.

Hybrid Events

How to improve the ROI of your next virtual or hybrid event

8
Mins Read
Komal Ahuja

Follow the seven strategies highlighted in this article and you’ll optimize your quantitative and qualitative results from your hybrid event.

The COVID-19 pandemic put virtual events front and center, but as things are slowly opening up again, in-person events are making a comeback. In this phase of transition, hybrid events — a combination of live and online events — are becoming popular, and for a good reason. 

They give your audience the flexibility to choose the format that best suits them. And like virtual events, they also allow you to reach a wider audience and at reduced costs because you don’t have to make arrangements for hundreds of people on-site. 

The technology used for virtual events also helps you track valuable information on your attendees and gauge their level of engagement with your brand and event. Moreover, they open doors to numerous sponsorship opportunities—making it a win for both you and the audience, who get access to expert speakers while sitting comfortably at home.

All these benefits combined can massively boost your ROI from the event. But don’t just take our word for it: 86% of B2B organizations say they’ve experienced a positive ROI on hybrid events within months of hosting them. 

But as lucrative as they seem, hybrid events can only be profitable if you follow some strategies before, during, and after the event. This article will explore seven such strategies that can help you capitalize on ROI in a hybrid format. Let’s dive in!

Before you start: Define your goals 

Calculating an event’s ROI can be challenging, given how many of its benefits are intangible and don’t always show immediately. 

However, you can still measure its ROI to an extent. The first step is to determine why you’re hosting the event, as well as the metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPI) you need to track for the same. Now, your goal behind hosting a hybrid event could be:

  • Brand awareness: for which you will need to track metrics like event registrations, social media engagement, and website traffic. 
  • Lead generation or sales: so track product/service inquiries and leads and customers acquired.
  • Audience education: look at KPIs like sessions attended, and attendee engagement levels
  • Earning revenue: track the number of event tickets sold and the revenue earned through sponsorships and new customers.

Determining event ROI becomes much simpler once you have a clear idea about your goals and the KPIs you have to track to measure them. 

Then, all you have to do is compare the expenses incurred to the gains (quantitative and qualitative), and you can assess the success of your event.

7 strategies to capitalize on ROI in a hybrid format

We’ve talked about calculating ROI, and the prerequisites for measuring event success. Now, let’s explore what you can do to boost your return on investment from hybrid events. 

1. Plan and market the event in advance 

One of the most significant benefits of hybrid events is the massive reach they bring. You’re not restricted by your audience’s location, ability to travel or the venue capacity and can get many people to attend the event. And the more attendees you get, the greater your ROI will be.

So the key to increasing registrations is to start marketing your event in advance. Ideally, all your marketing campaigns should include a call to action (CTA) to register for the event 6-8 weeks before it’s set to happen. Some ways to promote the event are: 

  • Build a dedicated website that provides all vital information.
  • Promote the event on your company website, social media channels, and newsletter.
  • Reach out to industry influencers and market the event through their channels.
  • Create value-driven content (like blogs, social media posts, YouTube videos) that positions you as an expert and builds trust with your audience. 

Although it was entirely virtual, content marketplace Pepper Content implemented many of these strategies and started marketing their Elevate Summit more than six weeks before the event—the result was 10,000+ global attendees


Virtual And Hybrid Events with Zuddl - 1


2. Choose an interactive virtual event platform 

Hybrid events have both live and virtual audiences, so to deliver a successful event it’s essential to keep both engaged. For your on-site audience, you can use tools like surveys, Q&A, and networking sessions. But for your virtual audience, it’s the event platform you choose that will play a significant role in determining their engagement and experience at your event. 

Choose a platform that offers interactive features, like live streaming, polling, chat, and breakout rooms to keep your attendees interested and involved throughout the event. Zuddl, for instance, offers matchmaking features, discussion rooms, and 1:1 meetings to help attendees interact with each other, the speakers, and sponsors. 

This helps attendees derive more value from your event and create positive experiences, which ultimately boosts returns for you.

3. Charge for your event 

A straightforward way to maximize ROI and generate more revenue from your event is to host a paid event.

The idea is to price your event in a way that covers your costs and justifies the value your audience will receive from it. This will be much easier if you’re bringing well-known speakers to your event and have an established audience that will be ready to buy from you. 

But regardless of that, there are many ways you can increase ticket sales. The first is to create ticketing tiers—offering different access levels at different prices. This will give your audience the flexibility to choose as per their needs and budget and can thus increase registrations for you.

Another strategy to get more attendees is to offer an early bird or group discount—this will encourage more people to sign up fast and even build hype around your event. 

4. Create sponsorship deals

Finding sponsors can reduce the costs you personally incur on organizing events and help you invest in better tools and arrangements for attendees. 

But the question is, how can you convince people to sponsor your event? The best way is to educate them about the increased exposure and visibility they’ll get through it. Sponsorships are beneficial for both you as the event organizer and for the brand that is providing you resources. You can add their logos to event banners, landing pages and Stage backgrounds, create virtual sponsor booths, and encourage them to offer attendees giveaways or digital swag bags.

Moreover, you can give sponsors access to the attendee data you collect during the event and give them in-depth insight about their target audience, so they're further motivated to collaborate with you. See how AdWorld has clearly stated the benefits of being a sponsor on their website.

Virtual And Hybrid Events with Zuddl - 2


5. Leverage attendee data 

The good thing about hybrid events is they allow you to collect a vast amount of data on your attendees, including:

  • Registrations and attendance 
  • Demographic information 
  • The sessions they attended
  • The topics they were interested in 
  • How long they participated in a session for
  • The sponsor booths they visited

This information can help you understand what your target audience likes and doesn’t, create detailed buyer personas, and thus, more targeted marketing campaigns. You can also use real-time feedback and polling features to assess your event’s performance and make improvements on the go—this can further enhance attendees’ experience and customer sentiment. 

The bottom line: Such insights into your audience can help you optimize your marketing efforts and current and future events. 

6. Focus on lead retrieval 

A Marketing Charts survey revealed that events generate qualified top-of-funnel leads. And hybrid events make tracking and retrieving information on leads even easier—since all your attendees (in-person and online) register through a single platform. 

Collecting and storing information on potential leads is also where your event platform plays a crucial role. Zuddl, for instance, helps you track attendee data, engagement, and buyer intent and prepares solid lead sheets for you. You can immediately start following up with these leads after the event ends. 

Now, some ways you can enhance your follow-up efforts are:

  • Sending out thank-you emails with a feedback form.
  • Sharing keynote speakers’ clips or relevant articles through your company newsletter.
  • Connecting with participants and prospects on social media platforms like LinkedIn.
  • Sending targeted ads to their IP address.
  • Creating exclusive post-event communities.

The idea is to integrate these leads into your marketing campaigns and keep your brand on the top of their minds. This can not only help you convert leads but also build meaningful relationships and retain them.

7. Repurpose event content 

If re-used intelligently, your event content can bring you returns for months after it ends. Here’s how you can go about this: 

  • Share event recordings with attendees so they can revisit sessions. This will further improve their experience with you. 
  • Turn sessions into gated content on your website—ask for email addresses to access it so you can build a list of leads


Virtual And Hybrid Events with Zuddl - 3


Click here to watch a recording of Zuddl and ETP’s hybrid event about hybrid events, SHIFT 2021.

  • Create a paid content library to let people watch sessions on-demand, like HubSpot’s Inbound does.


Virtual And Hybrid Events with Zuddl - 4


  • Turn video content into a webinar series or online course
  • Use event materials to market your next event, like ONECelibre does here. 


Virtual Events with Zuddl


With these strategies, you can generate leads and customers from your event content and turn it into a recurring revenue source for yourself. 

Conclusion

By reducing operational costs, expanding reach, and providing valuable data, the hybrid format can considerably boost your event ROI and provide benefits long after the event ends. 

Follow the seven strategies highlighted in this article and focus on improving attendees’ experience—whether it’s through the speakers you bring onboard, the content shared, or your event platform—and you’ll optimize your quantitative and qualitative results from the event. 

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

5 must-have integrations for your virtual and hybrid events

9
Mins Read
Komal Ahuja

From ticketing to registration, software integrations offer automated solutions that can help you more efficiently manage every stage of the event lifecycle. Here are integrations that are a ‘must-have’ for your next event.

When you’re organizing a hybrid event for the first time, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are hundreds of moving parts that you need to keep track of, last minute changes, and plenty of challenges you need to deal with. 

These key challenges include: 

  • Managing the increased cost, complexity, and risk associated with different technologies and platforms. 
  • Offering attendees bespoke experiences specific to their interests and roles. 
  • Creating inclusive, engaging, and memorable event experiences for both in-person and virtual audiences. 

Enter integrations.

From ticketing to registration, software integrations offer automated solutions that can help you more efficiently manage every stage of the event lifecycle. When used together, virtual event platforms and powerful integrations can help your business save money and time, and create a smoother and seamless experience for your attendees.

In this article, we take you through several integrations you can use to address the challenges faced during hybrid events so you can conduct them successfully. Let’s get started!

1.Ticketing 

With a hybrid or virtual event, you no longer need to worry about scanning tickets at the entrance or reducing long lines at the check-in tables.Incorporating ticketing integrations can smoothen the registration process for your audience.

With an integrated ticketing system, your event guests can purchase tickets online and download or print the ticket in real-time. Such streamlined one-stop event shopping can encourage event participants to buy one or multiple event tickets. Here are two tools that offer ticketing integration and which you can use for your events: 

  • Cvent is an effective tool that streamlines registration through its Express Ticketing Event solution, allowing you to customize the registration process and fields per your event’s needs. 
Image Source: Cvent


  • In addition, Eventbrite offers an integrated ticketing solution for your virtual events with an easy promo code creation for improved marketing and sales strategy. 


Image source: Eventbrite


Pro tip: When your audience performs registration using these tools on a ticketing platform, the registration can be automatically imported into Zuddl.We also offer a webhook API for ticketing, so you can use that to integrate with any ticketing platform for registrations.

2.A social media wall integration 

When you host a virtual/hybrid event, a social media display integration can help you make your events more interactive, appealing, and engaging. 

How? You can use a display screen to integrate your social media feeds, brand or event hashtags, which means that you can broadcast User Generated Content (UGC) like visuals of users using your products, customer reviews or testimonials, and ratings at your event. Attendees can then browse through your social media or use your event hashtags when posting on their social media to contribute to your virtual/hybrid event. 

Taggbox Display is a popular display integration tool that allows you to integrate social media with your hybrid and virtual events for a unique and interactive user experience. 



For this very reason, we have proudly partnered with Taggbox to offer a Zuddl x Taggbox Display integration which allows you to: 

  • Amplify your brand awareness and virtual event’s reach by putting up a social media wall for real-time user interaction and encouraging participation. 
  • Build a sense of sociability and community by displaying specific event hashtags. 

3.Email marketing 

Image source: Rebrandly


According to Markletic, 76% of virtual event organizers consider emails their most critical marketing medium. Email marketing is an efficient way to promote your virtual event, gain a good number of registrations, and send event reminders to ensure maximum participation. 

However, performing this process manually can get tedious and time-consuming, often resulting in human errors. Human errors are common during drafting an email and cost a lot to your business. For example, including the wrong name of your guest can not only seem unprofessional but lower the chances of them showing up to your virtual events. 

It’s a good thing then that you can use email marketing integrations to send and deliver highly personalized and branded emails. A ticketing integration can also help smooth your email marketing process and make it more efficient and accurate.

Here are two ticket integration tools that can help you automate your email marketing strategy for your virtual or hybrid event: 

  • Marketo offers an automated and highly scalable email marketing tool that lets you interact with your customers through their unique online behavior and drive maximum results with personalized emails. 


Image source: CRM Directory


  • Mailchimp is another example that offers marketing automation applications and tools to let you reach your customers with smarter and faster marketing and drive sales. 

Image source: Mailmunch


Pro tip: When your guests register for an event on Zuddl, we push them into an existing mail campaign within your email marketing tool. This takes away the trouble to add recipients manually or scratch your head over coordinating ticketing and marketing efforts.

4.Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Integrating your virtual or hybrid event platform with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can be the key to a successful event as CRM software facilitates the management and interactions with your event attendees. This is also why Gartner named CRM tools as the world’s biggest and largest software market. 

When a user registers for your virtual event, you can use the CRM to log their personal information (name, email, phone number, address), unique food or transport needs, and any other details. You can use this recorded data to interact with your guests on a personal level post-event for further promotion, marketing, or other campaigns. Instead of using outdated paper-based or email systems, you can leverage the CRM integration for event management.

Using CRM integration with your event management platform, you get a centralized view of all your attendee’s data, their engagement rate, and how long they attended your event for more operational accountability. 

You can use the following effective tools that offer CRM integration: 

  • Salesforce offers a wide range of CRM categories that help you manage over 150,000 customers with a full range of functionalities and features at a scalable price per your business needs. 

Image credit: Salesforce


  • Hubspot offers a free and easy-to-use CRM software with features including pipeline management, reporting dashboard, deal tracking, and company insights. 


Image credit: Hubspot


By integrating these tools with your event management platform, you will be able to record and track your guest’s data with ease. 

Pro tip: One of the critical features of these tools is that all the attendee information like how much time they spent on your virtual/hybrid event, can be pushed back to augment CRM customer information. Through this information, you can lead better and personalized post-event campaigns with enhanced customer relationship building.

5.Accessibility

As an event organizer, you need to accommodate the needs of every abled and disabled event attendee.

Thanks to the ADA Act (Americans with Disabilities Act), organizers have options like closed captioning for hard of hearing and deaf people and audio recording for the visually impaired and blind people. Integrating these options or services with your virtual/hybrid events promotes a sense of inclusivity, making your events highly accessible to every present attendee. 

Here’s how you can create highly accessible virtual events: 

  • Keeping 4:5:1 color contrast
  • Including alt-text for all images 
  • Providing audio description or transcript for all video content 
  • Describing visual representations as crafts and charts
  • Using clean and easily readable text fonts

Here are two effective integrations for accessible virtual/hybrid events:

1. Interprefy (multilingual audio capabilities)

Thanks to Interprefy, clients can now turn on multilingual audio capabilities, which can be done at a stage level. Interprefy is a Zurich-based partner company that facilitates multilingual audio support by removing language barriers through cloud-based solutions which make real-time interpreting accessible from anywhere.The audio translation will be human-driven and not AI ( human translators will be translating the audio in real-time and not driven by an AI), and thus the lag will be approximately 5 seconds.


2. SyncWords (closed captioning capabilities)

Your attendees can now turn on closed captioning capabilities, which can be done at a stage level through the partner company, SyncWords, to facilitate closed captioning capabilities. 

SyncWords Live meets Section 508 Compliance, a primary tool to help hard-of-hearing and deaf attendees effectively engage in the events. Once turned on, the attendees can choose the preferable language in which they want to see the captions on stage.The closed captioning will be human-driven and not AI ( human captioners will be feeding in captions in real-time), and thus the lag will be only 2-3 seconds. 


Conclusion 

From planning hybrid/virtual events to post-event lead retrieval, choosing the right event integration tools lets you efficiently connect, manage, and interact with your attendees from start to finish. 

It can be challenging to streamline the registration process without powerful integrations, keep your attendees engaged and involved, or effectively follow up with them through emails. Thus, making these tasks more tedious, time-consuming, and expensive. 

Integrations ensure that you can have an engaging and user-friendly registration process, deliver relevant marketing materials, and offer interactive and appealing experiences.

From creating a branded virtual event set up, tracking attendees to post-event recordings, Zuddl’s easy-to-use and highly customizable virtual event platform gives you complete control and flexibility to build your virtual event and deliver an immersive and engaging attendee experience. 

Book your demo today and leverage the benefits of the aforementioned powerful integrations to conduct memorable, interactive, and profitable virtual or hybrid events for your business. 

Hybrid Events

6 most important factors for choosing a venue for any hybrid event

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Choosing a venue for your hybrid event is one of the biggest decisions an organizer has to make. How do you determine which one is the right one amongst hundreds of options? We break down the criteria for you.

Planning hybrid events is a combination of keeping track of small details and taking some big decisions. The venue? It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make as an organizer, because the smallest oversight when picking the venue can blow up, causing huge issues on the day of the event. And if you’ve never hosted a hybrid event before, it may feel a little overwhelming trying to figure out which is the right venue for your event.

There’s a lot to think about and a lot riding on your choice, but don’t stress. If you carefully evaluate the following factors, you’ll end up with a wishlist that you can use to start your search

  1. Internet connectivity
  2. Space and equipment
  3. Power supply
  4. In-house support
  5. Dry runs
  6. Safety measures

Now, let’s break each of these down.

1. Internet connectivity

This one’s a no-brainer. 

79% of event professionals feel that wifi performance and availability are a big issue in the event industry according to a study by EventMB. 44% of the participants also said that having poor wifi was one of the main frustrations they faced when dealing with venues. 

Internet connectivity will be central to hosting an integrated event experience for both your in-person and virtual attendees. You’ll need excellent connectivity and bandwidth so that live-streamed sessions and pre-recorded videos play without interruption for your virtual attendees. And your in-person attendees will need to be able to access your event app to access virtual content, post to social media, and connect and network with virtual attendees.

To this end, the venue should have an Internet Service Provider (ISP) that is capable of processing high bandwidth and can keep the connection secure, even in a high-density environment. It’s best if you confirm with the venue that you have dedicated bandwidth and not shared bandwidth, as this will guarantee that you have consistent internet connectivity throughout the event. A venue that doesn't offer dedicated bandwidth will most likely not have fiber optic cable either. 

Here are some other considerations related to internet connectivity that you should look for:

  • A streaming speed of at least 10 Gigabytes (GB) with low latency
  • Dual-band WiFi that offers a frequency of 2.4 GigaHertz (GHz) and 5 GHz for certain users
  • A latency speed or ping of 30 milliseconds or less along with a rate of 2 MP per 100 users
  • A networking engineering team that is available on-site to assist you during outages

Be sure to screen your venues with these requirements in mind, and vet their online streaming capabilities through the online event platform you are using so there are no issues later. When you’ve chosen a venue, work with them to finesse your requirements.  Even if you have to pay more for a larger streaming package, it will be worth it to avoid any stress and hassle on the day of the event.

2. Space & Equipment

When you’re organizing a hybrid event, the venue space is just as important as the right equipment.  Not only does your venue need to accommodate the number of attendees you’re expecting, but it also needs to have the space for any setup you’re considering - like a stage for instance, with lighting and cameras. 

Think about these questions when evaluating the space of a venue:

  • How are people going to walk around the venue during your event?
  • If you’re planning to showcase any products via booths or a special setup, is there adequate space to do this?
  •  If a stage isn’t available, can one be set up? And is there space to accommodate your AV requirement?
  • Does the venue have high-definition cameras for your live-streaming needs, including ones that can support a wide range of screen sizes? Do they provide high-quality microphones?
  • Where will attendees register or check in?
  • Is there space for your main stage as well as areas for smaller group discussions and for networking?
  • Where should audio and video equipment be stationed?

From AV capabilities to dedicated studio space, the right venue can help you take advantage of the expertise and infrastructure they offer to ensure that your audience is able to have a good experience.

3. Power supply


No one wants a power cut to bring everything to a halt, so check that your venue has the capability to support your power needs, including entertainment, lighting, decorations, video and audio equipment, photo booths, band, catering, etc. And don’t underestimate the value of a good power backup system.

4. In-house support

Hosting a hybrid event that caters to a live as well as remote audience at the same time can be challenging because  not all companies have a team that is large enough to take care of both your virtual attendees and your in-house attendees.


Hybrid event with Zuddl.


Having an in-house support team will make the job easier for you. 

Having a capable and friendly venue team to work with means that they can help address issues attendees face at the physical venue, allowing you to focus on other pressing issues of your hybrid event like attendees engagement, integrating sponsorships into your event. If you’re working with a studio partner to produce your hybrid event, keep in mind that you’ll be able to leverage the talent on their team as well.

Either way, ensure that you have the following professionals support the event, regardless of whether they are on your team,  or work for the studio partner or the venue: 

  • A video operator who can ensure that the video is recorded at all times and who can work with your team to live-stream the sessions.
  • An AV operator who can set up and operate equipment used to enhance hybrid events, such as microphones, video recorders, projectors, lighting and sound mixing equipment
  • Technical support to help in case internet connectivity goes awry

If the venue does not have in-house support, you can negotiate your venue package pricing since you will be sourcing support yourself, and which - though necessary - can take up a significant amount of your budget. 

5. Dry runs

For ultimate peace of mind, choose a venue that lets you hold practice runs before the main day. There are 100 different things that can go wrong on the day of your event, so having the opportunity to hold a dry run, check all the essentials like the internet speed, audiovisual equipment etc, and fix any issues is invaluable. 

Protip: Keep in mind that many of your speakers may not be 100% comfortable with interacting with a live and virtual audience and other speakers simultaneously, so allowing them to practice at the venue will help them feel more comfortable and confident on the day of the event as well. 

Most venues should give you the time you need to set up and practice the day before your event. However, if you are getting access only on the day of your event, you’ll need to consider whether your team will be able to combat major problems on the spot or not. 

6. Safety measures

With variants of the pandemic emerging every other day, you’ll now have to deal with twice the safety issues as before. For in-person attendees, the venue will have to conform to the safety regulations of their respective local and national governments. 

Pro-tip:  Look for a venue that has well-documented and clear safety policies and protocols. When your attendees see that the venue is committed to keeping them safe, your on-site attendance will improve.

In conclusion…

Keep these factors in mind when evaluating potential venues, and you should end up with one that’s the perfect partner for your hybrid event. And if ever in doubt, just think about the venue from an attendee’s perspective. How would you feel if you were attending a hybrid event in the space? Does it have everything that would make an attendee feel delighted to attend the event, as well as looked after during it? Is there anything that would cause discomfort or stress?

Keep customer-centricity in mind when picking the venue, and you won’t go wrong.

Hybrid Events

9 Best Hybrid Events Examples to Inspire Your Next Event

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Hybrid events come in all sizes and shapes. Take a look at some of the most imaginative and unique ways companies have held hybrid events for some inspiration when planning your own.


Contrary to popular assumption,  hybrid events have been around for years. 

Just look at the Super Bowl. Thousands of fans would watch the game at the stadium, and many millions more would watch the game from their homes. It's a classic example of a hybrid event with both in-person and virtual components.


It’s taken the pandemic for businesses and corporations to realize that they can hold hybrid events, and the unique value they offer. Hybrid events combine the irreplaceable feeling of connection of in-person events with the amazing data-based insights and reach of virtual events.

But, not all hybrid events are created equal!

Hybrid events come in all shapes and sizes, delivering unique and memorable experiences to their attendees. We found 9 of the coolest hybrid events example that really showcase how versatile the format can be. All it takes is a little bit of creativity.

1. Austrian Wine Marketing Board

What’s a wine company to do in a middle of a pandemic? The Austrian Wine Marketing Board seems to have taken the question as a personal challenge. Instead of shutting shop, the company decided to hold a hybrid Austrian wine tasting event in Moscow instead!

Marketing Board Event with Zuddl
Image credit: The Drinks Business


At the in-person event, wine professionals were given their own socially distanced tables on which they tasted several hybrid wines from Austria, and learned about each product. Using an online app, the tasters could connect virtually with suppliers in Austria through 1:1 video calls in private video meeting rooms or live chat at virtual booths, that had easily accessible documentation and technical specifications. This allowed the tasters to place orders directly from suppliers they would never have known existed, without the event.

2. Meeting Professionals International: WEC Grapevine

It’s no surprise that the largest meeting planner and event planner industry association worldwide held one of the most successful hybrid events to date: WEC Grapevine. The association's flagship event brought together more than 600 in-person attendees in Grapevine, Texas, along with 1,000 virtual attendees. It garnered a 93% satisfaction rate from attendees.

Virtual Hybrid Event with Zuddl
Image credit: Meeting Professionals International

The reason? All WEC Grapevine sessions ensured that both the in-person and digital formats complemented one another. This includes keynote sessions structured like a late-night talk show, where an emcee engaged with the speakers and in-person audience, while virtual attendees participated online. Break-out sessions, midday broadcasts, and Zumba workouts boosted the virtual side, with 23 concurrent sessions.

3. Twitch’s GlitchCon

Twitch, an online streaming service for gamers and content producers, hosts a conference – usually in San Diego – that attracts thousands of attendees from around the world. TwitchCon 2019 focused on community-building regardless of where their attendees were. Virtual attendees are able to participate in the event through live streaming, panels, tournaments and more! There were also keynotes, dozens of heavily-produced gaming tournaments, and even a Blink-182 performance. 

Virtual Conference with Zuddl
Image credit: Sports Video Group


4. SHIFT 2021

What better way to impress upon event marketers and organizers the benefits of virtual and hybrid events than host one yourself? Shift 2021 did exactly that.  Powered by virtual and hybrid events platform Zuddl and studio partner,  Entertainment Technology Partners, the event was held at a physical venue in Orlando and virtually on Zuddl. 

The event boasted speakers from companies like Google, Hubspot, LMG, Viacom, Invision, Redstone, VEI, and more, talking about all things hybrid, as well as online networking sessions too. As a consequence, although this was Zuddl’s first hybrid event, it was a resounding success. More than 55% of in-person and virtual attendees actively participated during Shift, asking questions to speakers, upvoting questions asked by other attendees, and connecting 1:1 to network with each other.

Watch a video recording of the event here.

5. Empower 21

Soon after Texas opened up in early 2021, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention successfully held a Christian mission-inspired conference titled Empower 21 as a hybrid event. The target audience for the event were the members of the 40,000 Southern Baptist churches under the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (STBC) spread throughout the country.

The organization used a single platform for both in-person and virtual attendees instead of a patchwork of different programs. Because of this, SPTC was able to promote the event over 100 channels to the families and individuals of the community. Virtual attendees tuned in from the safety of their homes, and attendees who went to the event in-person in Texas, followed social distancing guidelines and wore a mask. 

All attendees were able to attend 29 sessions that included panels, luncheons, workshops, and keynotes. And thanks to enhanced integration, virtual attendees were able to network with their in-personal counterparts. Empower 21 is one of the top examples where a unified audience was created across virtual and in-person so that attendees could share the same experience, communicate, and interact with each other. 

6. Apple Special Events

When it comes to events with power and pull, Apple is, of course, one of the front runners - and it’s no different when it comes to hybrid events. For years, the company has live-streamed product launches and special events to thousands of technology enthusiasts and Apple fans all around the world in addition to on-site attendees. 


7. Growth Marketing Conference

There are some who believe that hybrid events disproportionately favor in-person attendees over virtual participants.  The Growth Marketing Conference is one hybrid event that disproves that. Organizers created a ‘Virtual Access Pass’ that gave their virtual attendees bonus content, such as access to more than 200+ webinars, to make sure they felt included and valued.  

8. Gainsight Pulse Everywhere

 This conference has been running every year since 2013. Last year, because of the pandemic, the organizers decided to pivot to a hybrid model. Key staff members and speakers attended the event in person, and thousands of attendees were able to watch the event live and online free of charge. 

Organizers used a virtual event platform to keep attendees excited, engaged and make them feel taken care of. When attendees logged in, they were greeted by DJ Skemaddox, top-notch swag, and puppies of Pulse to set that tone of excitement.  And welcome video popups shared helpful tips for navigating the virtual platform to make the experience as frictionless as possible.


Organizers used their virtual event platform to great effect - organizing networking sessions for all attendees, driving virtual event engagement, and capturing attendee feedback. It was one of the most sophisticated hybrid events held to date.

9. INBOUND by Hubspot

HubSpot's annual INBOUND conference is usually a three-day affair held in Boston that brings together business professionals from almost every industry. The company’s hybrid event featured all its trademarks.  


Known for its great entertainment - stand-up comedians, actors and industry leaders regularly feature on its roster of excellent speakers - this year, both in-person, as well as virtual attendees were able to interact with presenters like Kerry Washington, Bob Iger, and John Legend. It doesn’t get more star-studded than that. 

The event blended live sessions with on-demand recordings. Additionally, during the event, both audiences could connect and speak and mingle, which was one of the aims of the event.

In conclusion…

As can be seen, hybrid events offer companies a myriad of ways to leverage the blend of virtual and in-person to their advantage. Whether broadening your reach like in the case of Empower 21 or attracting more star power to bolster your brand like in the case of INBOUND, the unique attributes of a hybrid event lets you work towards your business goals in creative ways.

If you have any questions about how to host a hybrid event of your own, and how to drive the best business outcomes from it, we’re happy to help! Let’s talk.

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