Corporate events forge connections. Whether you’re hosting a sprawling conference, an industry awards night or a small team workshop, you’re bringing people together in new and inspiring ways. Yet a great theme, venue and run sheet can only take you so far. To ensure attendees value their time in the same room, you should use every tool available to help deepen that connection and spark more conversations at every opportunity.
Digital enhancements and event marketing tools can ensure the event is fun, insightful, convenient and accessible. This also applies to the weeks leading up to your event, as well as using it to gain invaluable feedback afterward.
Having learned from the re-imagining of events during the pivot to virtual and hybrid, here are 11 ways we are using virtual and hybrid technologies to enhance the in-person experience.
Rewarding attendees for interacting with each other and with the event drives a sense of accomplishment — not to mention friendly competition. A study from FinanceOnline already shows that gamification improves training and productivity for employees; that’s true for event engagement too. Chime Live, our go-to digital events platform, is perfect for this application. When users visit a page on their mobile device, submit a question or answer a poll, they’re given points on a leaderboard. They can also find hidden codes or images on sponsor pages or exhibition stands, boosting their score and the number of leads they’re obtaining. Go further by sprinkling “easter eggs” (key facts, stats or take–aways) into presentations.
Go further by sprinkling “easter eggs” (key facts, stats or take–aways) into presentations. Chime can launch a quiz after the session, and if attendees have been paying attention, they rack up more points.
2. Networking Rewards
Similarly, a gamified approach to networking is fantastic for getting more people to introduce themselves and explore the venue. At Encore, we’ve found that QR codes are a helpful tool to bridge the gap between physical and virtual incentives. You may, for instance, print a QR code and a conversation topic on an attendee’s name badge. Guests are invited to work their given topic into discussions, and if they find another guest with a matching topic, they can scan the QR code on their bingo-matches name-badge, exchanging one another’s contact details (and giving each other a points-boost too!). Group scavenger hunts are another fun activity. When attendees search for QR codes around the event, they can scan them to gain more points, breaking the ice amongst strangers if they give each other hints or directions to the QR locations with the biggest points boost.
3. Clear Information with Convenience
By giving guests a virtual hub to discover more about your event, they’ll have a better idea of what they want to do and where they want to go. A fully-branded website is essential for event marketing. Within it, you might want to add an interactive map with points of interest and information on any exhibitors or scheduled keynotes.
Meanwhile, digital signage on the day can broadcast new information (speakers, agendas, award categories, etc.) as needed. We recommend sending post-event emails to your attendees too, with the names and email addresses of anyone who agrees to share them for follow-up contact.
4. Virtual Accessibility
Technology can make your event more inclusive. Everyone has their own preferences for joining, discussing and reflecting on what you’re bringing to life. This idea should be at the core of your event planning from the start. For example, you may want to set up live recordings and chat functionalities for people who want to take part, but prefer to stay at home. Captions, translations, sign language or various media displays can also welcome virtual attendees who have unique preferences or accessibility requirements. Read our article on remote accessibility for more tips and planning considerations.
5. Enhanced Meetings
According to Skift Meetings, 98.3% of event planners rate session and agenda pages as an event app’s most useful feature. It’s easy to see why. Boardrooms, seminars and breakout sessions can tackle many subjects at once, especially if you’re hosting several on the day. Attendees want to stay on top of what’s next and how they might contribute. An event app like Chime Go fulfils that desire, placing the event agenda on screen for any mobile, tablet, or laptop. During a meeting, guests can submit questions and vote to promote what the audience is most interested to learn from whoever’s leading the session.
6. Virtual Sponsorship
Sponsors add serious credibility to your event and make it more profitable. Their inclusion must be front and centre across your event marketing. With additional options for branding, display and call-outs, every sponsor can pick the right package, ensuring they leave an impact within their available budget. Consider playing sponsored video ads before a meeting, reinforcing why that brand has put its name beside yours. Larger packages might include a sponsored media wall projection or branded polling. We have more information here on how technology and sponsorship line up such as digital swag-bags.
7. Attendee Data Insights
Before, during and after the event commences, you’ll want to know what’s working or could be improved. That’s almost impossible without data collection. With event platforms and the social media you have many options for gathering and analysing such information. By checking conversations surrounding your event on Twitter or the event’s Facebook page for instance, you’ll see what guests are saying, sharing and recording. Hootsuite is a useful platform for this, offering event hosts powerful tools for social media monitoring.
When it comes to using virtual and hybrid technologies you can gather important attendee information at the point of registration, check-in, during the event as well as after. This is achieved through forms, surveys, polls and user analytics of the platform. You can include a handful of questions on your event registration, asking for someone’s job title, industry and reason for coming before they get a ticket. During the event you can poll the audience for additional information or feedback and after the event send a survey. All the while, the platform they’re using to engage and enhance the event is tracking helpful information. Below are some of the helpful analytics our Chime Live platforms captures for event planners.
Analytics are extremely beneficial for tweaking the event programme ahead of time, gathering insights and feedback to improve future events and provide data for return on investment – something your sponsors or client may find extremely useful!
8. Seamless Ticketing
Ticketing itself can be refined for higher engagement. It’s the first touchpoint guests often have with your event. Therefore, it’s crucial to make a good impression and reliably process every payment or request. At Encore, we offer an event registration and advanced ticketing solution from Cvent, which syncs with Chime and other supporting event technology. Custom templates, a smooth user interface and multi-page site integration lay a clear route to signups. Zero frustrations at this early stage mean everyone can start looking forward to the event, instead of taking issue with it.
9. Extended reality staging
While signs, decorations, lighting rigs and physical stages can get attendees talking, nothing does so quite like extended reality (xR). It melds real and digital environments for a one-of-a-kind sensory experience. Live presenters can speak in front of a virtual backdrop, complemented by text, graphics, videos and animation, interacting with whatever’s surrounding them. xR might also combine real and virtual lighting to shift attention to different parts of the stage. These presentations can transition in real time with the topic at hand. For hybrid events, our Immersive xR Stage provides a cutting-edge backdrop for virtual presenters wanting to engage an in–person audience with the same impact as a presenter there in person. Additionally, it can be used pre or post event where attendees can access the content on demand via Chime Live to build hype or continue the conversation. With real-time editing software the possibilities to engage in-person attendees is virtually limitless. It’s no wonder that more and more hybrid events are utilising this technology, finding a balance between entertainment and professional messaging.
10. Richer Databases
Event marketing not only promotes your event but nurtures your guests’ interests, providing updates and personalised content before they arrive. To do that, you’ll need to capture their email address and relevant information about who they are. As we’ve mentioned earlier, event registration portals let you ask some qualifying questions, which can be used for a nurturing campaign in the weeks or months ahead. Platforms like Mailchimp, HubSpot and ConvertKit use that data to split demographics for customised, automated email schedules. When those emails are opened, you can track what your attendees read, watch or download, revealing trends in the subjects they value the most.
11. Post-Event Surveys
When everything’s said and done, you need to know what impression the event has left behind. Encore’s live polling solution, Event Poll, isn’t just made for engagement on the day. You can deploy it for post-event insights either via URL or SMS. As the results drip in, Event Poll collates answers for a summary of responses and open feedback. These statistics are yours to keep for any subsequent event. By comparing results over several years, you’ll finetune the agendas, speakers, themes and creative staging choices that guests prefer, while weeding out less successful elements.
Find new ways to connect and engage attendees with Encore’s hybrid technologies
Technology should emphasise the human touch at the heart of your corporate event goals, because when people connect and find surprises throughout a venue, they’re all the more likely to retain your key messages. As one of the world’s leading event production specialists, we can bring unmissable technical solutions to whatever you’re planning next.
Great ideas start with a conversation so let’s talk about your event today.