If you feel a bit overwhelmed when thinking about hybrid event technology, you’re not alone. Managing two distinct event experiences seems like it would require a long list of event technologies.
While there are some distinct considerations to keep in mind, it needn’t be complex. In this blog post, excerpted from our eBook, “Keeping Up With the Connectors: The strategies, tactics, and tools from the minds behind Cvent CONNECT,” we’ll walk you through the process we used to identify our hybrid event technology stack, with best practices learned to help you achieve success faster.
Keep Your Event and Program Goals Top of Mind
When identifying your hybrid event technology strategy, remember that your goals are what matter most; technology is just a tool to help you achieve them. Keep your conference and program goals in mind when making technology decisions.
Paulina Giusti, our Senior Manager, Meetings & Events, describes this well: “Stick with your goals. There’s value in being agile and flexible in response to change, but don’t change your conference goals to accommodate technology.”
As Cvent CONNECT is a product showcase, our North Star goal was to let attendees experience our products firsthand. We worked in close partnership with our event tech and product marketing teams to pick the right technology for different pieces of programming across the conference. We had weekly meetings, daily meetings, sometimes even hourly meetings to talk through: “Here’s a critical piece of programming. How is Cvent technology going to support it?”
To remain goal-focused when considering hybrid technology, we recommend you answer these key questions:
- What is our North Star for hosting this event?
- What are our program goals?
- How can hybrid event technology support and bring those goals to life?
In addition to showcasing our products to support our event’s North Star and program goals, we also used nearly every Cvent product to manage and produce our own event. Cvent’s platform has solutions to help across your event needs — planning and promotion, attendee engagement, spend and workflow, and actionable insights. Here’s a look at how we used Cvent technology to support our goals in some of those areas.
Leverage Technology to Streamline Hybrid Event Planning and Promotion
We’re always looking for ways to use event technology to create efficiencies as well as a better experience for attendees. At Cvent CONNECT, we used hybrid event technology to support nearly every aspect of planning and promotion (and it made things so much easier).
We used Cvent Event Management to create a fully branded website with full conference details and built custom registration paths and experiences for virtual and in-person attendees.
For the in-person experience, we used Cvent Passkey to book and manage hotel rooms. Once in-person attendees registered, they could go right into Passkey to book their hotel and manage travel details.
Abstract Management helped us collect, review, and accept or reject speaker submissions. To streamline communications with speakers on event logistics, speaker details, and session content, we used Speaker Resource Center.
Cvent Social Tables, our photo-realistic 3D visualization tool, was critical when designing spaces to meet health and safety goals. We used it to create appropriately distanced floor plans and to collaborate with vendors, teammates, and suppliers in real-time.
Onsite, we used OnArrival for contactless check-in and badge printing to minimize staff interactions and shared surfaces. This year, we didn’t do any hand scanning; we used passive RFID and NFC tap-and-go Attendee Tracking. In addition to capturing each attendee’s journey and accurately awarding continuing education credits, we could monitor room capacities and ensure compliance with health and safety measures.
With Exhibitor Management, exhibitors could manage tasks, register booth staff, and run their booth staff’s schedules to maximize their time onsite.
Drive Attendee Engagement with Hybrid Event Technology
Hybrid event technology should help you improve the experience for your attendees at every touchpoint. At Cvent CONNECT, we used technology in a variety of ways to engage our virtual and in-person attendees.
In Cvent Attendee Hub, attendees could easily access all sessions and their personal schedules — either through the attendee website or their Event App. Attendee Hub connected in-person and virtual attendees, providing flexibility for them to engage with event content and one another.
We encouraged session engagement from in-person and virtual attendees with moderated Q&A, polling, and session chat within Attendee Hub. Attendees could network with each other either onsite or virtually through video conferencing. Gamification encouraged them to meet each other, attend sessions, engage with exhibitors and sponsors, and more.
Want the full list of tech we used for attendee engagement? Check out the guide here.
Create Actionable Insight Using Hybrid Event Technology
The great thing about effective event technology is that it provides rich insights that will help you increase the impact and ROI of your events downstream. One of the key ways we did this at Cvent CONNECT was using Engagement Score.
Engagement Score allowed us to attribute engagement scores to attendees based on their unique journey throughout the event. Our entire suite of software tools worked together to capture data and paint a picture from registration through attendance, appointments, demos, and on-demand viewing post-event. We then brought all that data into our CRM so our Sales and Marketing team could take informed action for each attendee. We’ll cover more on this topic in Chapter 6: Post-Event Activation.
Be Audience-Centered to Engage Attendees
Technology should enrich the experience of your attendees—both virtual and in-person. When making your technology decisions, think about how your tech stack could streamline or improve the experience for all your audiences.
From an event design perspective, we were intentional about our content offerings and what each experience included. There were three experiences: in-person, premium virtual, and free virtual. In-person attendees had access to all content and in-person networking — both firsthand and on-demand.
The premium virtual offering provided access to all the general sessions, live-streamed breakout sessions, sessions specific to the virtual audience, networking with virtual peers, and all content on-demand. The free virtual experience included access to the most important educational content.
Paulina explains, “Be consistently audience-centric. Don’t sub-optimize either audience. Going into decision-making with event tech, assume that you want to appease both audiences equally.”
We were sure to keep all three groups top of mind as we strategized about tech. Although people might imagine video content was mainly for the virtual attendees, it enhanced the experience for all three attendee groups. We worked with the Encore® AV team to manage the stages streaming out to Cvent Attendee Hub and our virtual audience. Additionally, Encore® recorded everything locally, even when we weren’t streaming it, to make it available on-demand to all audiences.
More to learn...
For a full deep dive, including how to optimize your event technology for both our virtual and in-person experiences, check out the full guide: “Keeping Up With the Connectors: The strategies, tactics, and tools from the minds behind Cvent CONNECT.”