The Lookout #5: Big investments into online events and what your attendees really think of the virtual experience
Happy Friday and welcome back to the latest installment of The Lookout! There have been so many new developments reported in the online event world this week and a lot of opinions about the virtual experience of events’ attendees. It’s been exciting to see so many stories on the future of events and the experience economy. Here are some of the top ones I’ve been following. And another thing, let me know what you think about the newsletter. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thank you, and now, let’s get to it!
Online event takeaway of the week: Don’t let your tech let you down
The biggest failure of an online event is one that doesn’t get off the ground due to a connectivity issue. An event cancelled by an internet failure is probably the biggest nightmare for clients and also for us as event producers. You might have done all the technology rehearsals possible, but if the internet is down, you can’t go “live”. It’s like trying to start a car with an empty tank. One way to avoid this nightmare scenario is to know the health of your networks. Work with your platform provider and broadband suppliers to receive regular updates on the speed and reliability of the networks you are using. Build relationships with each provider to receive regular updates to let you know if you are experiencing high traffic or disruption that might impact your online experiences. In the event that things go down, you will know exactly where to triage– the platform provider or your internet connection. Work in advance to make sure you have the contact information of key individuals on each side so you can receive clear updates– not just a helpdesk!
Recent happenings in the event world:
Attendees dig virtual events: Explori, a customer experience tool has revealed new research on the impact of online events. They find that attendees indicate that online events are “as good as in-person events for delivering content”. Online webinars score especially highly for attendees. The research isn’t entirely rosy for exhibitors however, with a majority indicating that in-person events deliver a higher return on their investment, than online ones do.
Bizzabo raises $138 million as events industry goes hybrid: The future of events is online, according to investors. Bizzabo has raised a huge round to support their virtual and hybrid event offerings. At the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, the in-person event service provider, built their first virtual event product in less than three days. The quick pivot paid off for the company, delivering their strongest quarter ever.
YouTube doubles down on online events with Premieres feature: YouTube is investing considerably in their Premieres feature, which has seen an 85% increase in daily use. Premieres is used for live-streaming pre-recorded videos, with features including live redirects, trailers, and countdown themes. These developments build on the momentum of online events by allowing them to be marketed and structured similar to traditional live events.
Elsewhere in the PIRATEx Universe:
I hope you’ve been having a great week. We were proud to cap off another great event for our clients, the Bodensee Konferenz.
Last week at PIRATE we held a hybrid all-hands strategy and culture workshop. PIRATE has grown a ton this year, both in terms of team and scope. It’s so important to come together as a team to look into the future as a business, especially in an industry like ours that is changing fast. I’m looking forward to sharing some of my predictions with you about the future of the event industry, and some of the ways that PIRATE is going to meet these challenges. But in the meantime, we’ve been working hard at developing a strong remote-work culture, that’s robust even during a pandemic.
Hybrid and virtual meetings are no exception. We’ve also had the chance to produce a number of internal meetings for clients and we’ve really refined the technical aspect that makes these meetings run well.
Some top tips for a great hybrid meeting:
- Use technology everyone is familiar with and uses everyday. At PIRATEx, we’re interacting on Slack all day, so it made sense to continue to use it to align our four groups during the strategy sessions.
- Share your agenda in advance. For each agenda item, clearly indicate the tech stack you’re working with so those unfamiliar can become acquainted with the tools.
- (Related to 2) Let everyone know what the goals and outcomes of each aspect of the agenda are before you get started. It lets you jump into your tasks right away, without a lot of background explanation.
- Tech check! No matter what technology you are using, don’t be let down by a poor wi-fi or broadband. Especially if you are running things in an offsite location.
- Have a clear “project owner” for the outcomes of the meeting. Set in place how the conclusions of the meeting will be followed up, and by whom.
My top event reads this week:
- Your Next Hybrid Event Should Be Like A Hollywood Production: Forbes
- How Tulum’s Burning Man Became a COVID Superspreader Event: Yahoo News (or why Online Events can help stop pandemics)
- Convention Centers Add Broadcasting Studios to Accommodate Hybrid Events: TSNN
- In a Year of No Trade Fairs, Germany Takes It Hard: The New York Times
- Cisco is buying Slido to improve Q&A, polls and engagement in WebEx videoconferencing: TechCrunch
- Trade Fairs In Transition — The crisis calls for a rethinking of German Companies: Events Magazin
- How organizers are making remote conferences engaging: Fast Company
- How to professionally decline an unnecessary Zoom meeting: Fast Company
- 15 tips for hosting a virtual offsite for your remote team: TNW
- ‘Parents are desperate.’ Zoom Santas are cashing in: CNN
- Hybrid Events are the New Normal in Marketing and Sales: Martech Series
- How Companies Are Throwing Holiday Parties During COVID: Refinery29
- Take These Four Winning Elements of 2020’s Meeting Successes Into 2021: Associations Now
- Continuous events for global reach – EN: Exhibitions News
- 5 European video conference startups on a mission to beat Zoom: EU Startups
- Wonder raises $11 million to make large virtual events more sociable: VentureBeat
- 7 strong reasons for virtual events: Airlst
- Entrepreneur creates technology platform to bring online events to life: The Business Desk
- “The online events are here to stay”: Cookery schools go online: Irish Examiner
- Five steps to increase engagement at your virtual event: Influence Online
That’s it for this edition of The Lookout! In the meantime, don’t forget to check out our Guidebook and stay subscribed to catch all of the updates. If there’s anything you would like to read about when it comes to remote, or digital events, let me know! I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions.
Don’t forget, you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter to always be updated on the news from the online event world!
Thanks for reading!