Every year, companies prepare to attend and host them. Networking, learning, and demos fill the air. Badges are swiped, raffles are entered, sessions are attended, and happy hours are limitless. We’re talking about conferences, and since coronavirus, companies have had to figure out how to connect with prospects virtually.
In fact, 60% of event professionals pivoted an event to virtual due to the impact of COVID-19. We’re proud to see companies successfully pull off the virtual conference, however, it’s not necessary to recreate the wheel when presenting on a virtual platform. Whether you’ve already hosted an online conference or you’re planning to do so in the near future, it’s important to keep in mind that people attending an in-person or online conference want the same thing—a quality experience. And in this blog, we’ll share tips on how you can do so and keep people coming back for more content and connections!
Tip 1: Keep attendees updated before, during, and after the conference.
Attendees have a lot of questions, and they want answers at all hours of the day, every day—including weekends and holidays. It’s not just enough to create resources that share the information they’re seeking, it’s important to make sure your attendees know where these resources are located, so they can quickly find answers to their questions.
Creating a FAQs page full of answers can be a helpful resource for attendees as well as keeping an active social platform. However, both of these options can require additional work from your team, which could take them away from higher-value tasks. Consider adding an AI-powered conversational interface to your website that enables attendees to instantly access the answers they need wherever they are.
It was found in a recent study that 100% of event organizers across industries agree that sharing real-time agenda information is a critical feature. While your team focuses on making timely updates to your website and knowledge base, a chatbot can answer the commonly asked questions like:
“How do I register?”
“Who are the keynote speakers?”
“What is the conference schedule?”
“What are the expo hours?”
“What are the specific events?”
“What is the dress code?”
“Are their student/employee discounts?”
In addition to answering your attendees’ questions, implementing an AI-powered bot can bring in more virtual attendees to your conference. According to a study from Bizzabo, 63% of respondents believe tools to engage virtual attendees will play a key role in their 2020 and 2021 event strategies.
Tip 2: Pick the right conference platform.
Many organizations have chosen to postpone in-person events and opt-out of virtual events. While having an in-person conference is great for people to network with one another, there are plenty of new virtual event tools that enable attendees to attend virtual booths and interact with other attendees. For instance, HousingWire has teamed up with Big Marker for its virtual conference, Engage. Big Marker provides options for live and on-demand webinars, summits, meeting spaces, and more. Depending on the industry and audience, there are plenty of virtual conference platforms that can help a company match the experience they provide during an in-person conference.
Whether you want to connect with your audience through an in-person or virtual event, using event software can save you time when planning an event. This means you don’t have to sacrifice creating an awesome experience or dedicating a ton of time to executing one. After the event is over, you can also use these tools to share content from your conference that your attendees may have missed.
Tip 3: Ensure your team has the support they need.
In addition to all of the questions that attendees ask, the event team can easily get bogged down with all the requests for discount codes and questions surrounding how to accommodate speakers for the conference (flights, hotel rooms, etc).
Regardless if you’re hosting an in-person or online conference, your event team needs to focus on making sure that your conference runs smoothly. That’s where Capacity comes in. We offer tier-0 support that can easily take the repetitive questions off of your event team’s plate. There’s no need to further inundate them with emails, phone calls, and shoulder taps. Capacity can provide your event participants with instant access to centralized knowledge, so your team can focus on inquiries and conference-related initiatives that require higher-level thinking.
Across all industries, Capacity answers 84% of the questions received without requiring a team member’s involvement. Capacity is also nimble and quick to deploy, which means your team can focus on all the little details that make your conference stand out to attendees.
Tip 4: Make sure your sponsors are fully informed.
The same small bumps that occur at an in-person conference can happen during a virtual conference. Just like your attendees and event team require additional support, It’s important to make sure your sponsors, vendors, and presenters have access to information and tools to prepare before the conference so everyone is set up for success.
Vendors and sponsors are looking to make connections, grow brand awareness, and gather leads by attending a virtual or in-person event. By streamlining the process for vendors and sponsors, you’ll be able to fill more booth spots at future events.
In a recent study, 49% of respondents shared that they believe tools to connect sponsors and attendees both virtually and in-person will play a key role in their 2020 and 2021 event strategies.
Benefits of virtual vs. in-person conferences.
There are plenty of benefits to having a virtual conference, including extending your reach to an audience that may not have been able to attend due to scheduling conflicts or limited company budgets. But, because it’s a new concept that we are still getting used to, it’s necessary to cover all your bases and make sure everyone has access to the information they need to get the most out of the experience.
In the future, past COVID-19, we believe there may be more opportunities for hybrid conferences that offer the personal touch of networking and the flexibility of online learning. In fact, 68% of event professionals are looking for hybrid event technology that supports both in-person and virtual events.