When live events do come back, they aren’t going to look the same way. In fact, we can expect there to be a virtual aspect to most, if not all, events moving forward.
Since the start of the pandemic (which shockingly was only four months ago), we have seen many of our industry peers embrace and experiment with the virtual world. As time passes and the possibility of live events is on the horizon, we are faced with questions of how to incorporate a virtual component into live events while still giving people the same genuine experience and human connection that they crave; and better yet, what will event planners need from venues, hotels, and restaurants to make that happen?
To gain some insight, I spoke with Damany Daniel and Liz Reynolds of The Bomb Factory, a state-of-the-art, 50,000 square foot venue in Dallas. They have had to pivot the use of their venue from offering live in-person events to using their event space and production partnerships as a resource for clients to create unique virtual experiences for their audiences.
Throughout our conversation they were able to share tips of how to put together a successful virtual event, and by doing so setting yourself up for success with your future hybrid meetings. Here’s their advice for event professionals:
1. Find a one-stop-shop venue
Find a venue that can package everything together — a venue that is able to offer production services for virtual events, on top of space and food and beverage for live events, will become essential for planning successful hybrid events. As a venue, find companies you can partner with to offer those services to clients; it will take the stress off of clients expecting you to be an audiovisual expert and you’ll have the client’s full trust by ensuring that you have resources to make their hybrid event a success.
2. Create opportunities for engagement
With hybrid events, you’ll need to be mindful of keeping the viewers at home engaged, the same way you would engage people at your event onsite. The experience of your virtual attendee versus your in-person attendee will be very different, but there are ways you can create the same sense of community and human connection virtually as you would at a live event; you just need to get creative with finding ways to have them connect. For example, having virtual-only breakouts or sessions or by pulling together people’s social feeds during the event, which is what Liz Reynolds and her team did with their Bomb Prom virtual event.
3. Test, test, and test again
Be sure to test your event technology before your event. A good rule of thumb for events regardless if they are live, virtual, or hybrid. Hold a mock event and run through the technology just to make sure you work out any kinks before the big day. As a venue, you may need to allow your clients the opportunity to test their technology at your venue, or if you have a production partner, make sure you are communicating if they need anything or have any concerns before you go live.
4. Think realistically
Set yourself up for success by thinking realistically about the services you are able to provide and the realistic experiences you can host. Make sure that communication between the event planner and the venue is clear and what is expected from both. If you are a venue that needs the client to take care of production and all that goes with it, make sure they know that. Vise versa, if you are an event planner who needs a venue to provide more than just space for your hybrid event, make sure you put that in your event request.
Hybrid events will be an important addition to your business
The world of hybrid events has become magnified in recent months and the most exciting reality is that while our event attendance has in the past been restricted by event venue capacities, we are now able to reach and connect with attendees way beyond what our venue can hold. Seeing what we will be able to create post-lockdown in the world of events is something to definitely look forward to.
Whether you are managing hybrid or live events, take a look at how Tripleseat’s features can help you organize every detail. Schedule a demo at a time and date that works for you to learn more about how Tripleseat can help you build and streamline your events and private dining business.