During the pandemic, event planners have learned to appreciate the different benefits of digital. But how will the new formats be applied in the future of MICE? Which ones can also be effectively exploited in digital and hybrid events in the post-pandemic?
One of these is certainly the possibility that digital offers to broaden the audience: for example, it is also possible to reach those participants who for various reasons – from budget to time availability, as well as the difficulties related to travel still present in the world -they would still have not participated in presence.
Furthermore, also thanks to digital platforms for increasingly performing digital events, it is possible not only to collect data on participants and their online behaviour (what they click on, the contents they explore, those they ignore, etc.) but use them to improve their online and offline experience during the event. Last but not least, digital and hybrid events have led to an even greater focus on content and its importance in terms of value for attendees.
International hybrid events
The experience of this last year and a half has shown us all the potential of the virtual event. The hybrid will continue to be a resource for the future too, especially for international events.
This is first of all because hybrid events offer many more possibilities for inclusion. For the recent hybrid edition of an important international medical congress, we had double participation compared to those of the past years in attendance.
In addition to participants who for budget reasons, time available, and the restrictions still in force would have not participated in a live edition anyway, we recorded the participation of countries, such as India, which was never been present in the history of this congress.
This type of turnout is the true potential of the hybrid, which allows it to reach market segments and participants that otherwise would not exist.
Advantages for sponsors
An opportunity that therefore becomes wealth also from the point of view of content. With participants from multiple countries, there is a greater exchange of knowledge and experiences and opinions. Everyone brings a different point of view, an important plus for events, which in addition to being places of scientific knowledge are important networking opportunities.
The presence of a wider international audience also offers new opportunities to sponsors, who can more easily reach emerging markets and beyond. Today we can use the experience of last year also to improve the participation of sponsors in hybrid formats. Companies, especially multinationals, have already grasped the potential of hybrid formats.
More than on virtual 3D stands or large technological effects, the sponsors focus on the provision of scientific content, networking and follow-up moments, and in-depth content that, rather than focusing on product marketing, aims to bring the community closer together. , during and after the event. And especially in the case of international events, the hybrid contributes to the construction of communities.
What was initially our limit, namely not being able to meet, pushed us to find creative solutions to allow people to continue to cultivate relationships. From there, the need arose to keep communities alive beyond the duration of the event.
Hybrid event management
The management of a hybrid event is therefore a rather complex issue: you have to manage speakers, participants and companies in presence and remotely, which also means producing different contents, and so on.
It is a complex design that enhances the professionalism of the organisers and requires structured teams with different figures and skills. The goal of the near future must also be to make people understand the value of a hybrid event in terms of effort and resources and therefore also of costs, compared to the advantages it offers.
From data to personalisation
Among the most important aspects offered by hybrid technology is data collection, which allows users to be profiled in an increasingly sophisticated way.
The data allows us to know the user’s behaviour on the platform in a detailed way, – on what he/she clicks, how much time he/she spends on content, how he/she responds to the call to action, and so on – and from there to customise the content, like Netflix with the “you might also like” to suggest movies similar to those we have seen or Facebook that modifies our wall based on the interests we show on the social, the people we interact with, etc.
This new approach to content is also changing the way of “selling” and “buying” events, which is moving towards new ways.
The approach of scientific societies in the construction of their memberships is changing, starting to focus more than on the classic concept of seniority on the classification by levels (base, plus, platinum, etc.), Just as in the corporate field we are moving towards subscriptions.
In a few words, different price ranges correspond to more or fewer contents that are provided on the platform during an entire year.
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