We recently concluded Events. Reimagined. - Hubilo’s event to introduce a futuristic approach to events. And oh, what a blast it was!
With the backdrop of a virtual stage, the event was a perfect combination of candid conversations with industry experts, dance, magic, comedy, and of course, a glimpse into the new way of organizing events with a virtual+hybrid event platform. (Missed the event? Don’t worry, we got you covered!)
8 episodes, ~2,000 attendees, ~8,000 profile views, ~6,000 session views, and ~3 hours later we had a chat window that kept buzzing with conversation, and attendees that were brimming with excitement no matter what timezone they’re in.
Curious to know how we pulled this off?
Here are the 10 things we did (and you can do too) that took audience engagement through the roof and helped us deliver an event that is a true representation of fostering human connection virtually.
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1. Introduced a virtual stage
People crave human connection. They feel comfortable in familiar set-ups. With Events. Reimagined. we wanted to give both of these things to our audience. We wanted to do something that makes the event more tangible for them.
We achieved this with a virtual stage!
Not only did this help us create a more realistic experience, but it also helped us reduce our costs. Aside from that, we were also able to ensure the safety of our employees, attendees, and partners - a matter that we weren't willing to overlook.
Here’s a peek at the virtual stage that our audiences loved.
2. Co-hosted Events. Reimagined. with Drag Taste
Yes, you heard it right! We got off to a great start with a vibrant introduction from the drag queen, Teresa Al Dente who joined us live from Lisbon on our virtual stage. She, along with her crew, got us started on a vibrant note and they ensured there never was a dull moment after that. (Want to see the Drag Taste in action? Here’s your chance. We won’t charge you a penny).
Also, while we’re on the topic of co-hosting, we can’t emphasize enough the need for an experienced, high-energy host. Be it any dull moments with awkward silences, or when a panel member indulges in a long-winding conversation, or simply when your event is experiencing a production glitch - a seasoned host will take you through with simplicity and elan. We had Teresa Al Dente and Rachel Moore (joining us live from Denver) to cover us on this front.
3. Conducted Polls through the event
We conducted audience Polls (with a difference). While traditionally platforms require speakers to pause the flow of the session to run an audience Poll, we integrated the experience into the flow of the session. We did this through Hubilo’s Global Side Panel that displayed the Poll question while the session progressed. Attendees could take their time responding, and once the audience Poll was closed the results were displayed in the same Global Side Panel for all the attendees to view.
4. Encouraged conversations in the Chat Window
Any events’ chat window is a great litmus test to measure your audience’s pulse. Any lull period you notice there is code blue and should be avoided at all costs.
The good news is that our Chat Window was buzzing through the event. We discussed open-ended questions, took audience polls, and shared a wide variety of resources relevant to the ongoing presentation. This ensured that the attendee conversation kept flowing. The emojis were the icing on the cake. Sneak peek below. 👇
The Chat feature along with the emojis gave the audience a sense of involvement in the event. They actively participated rather than merely watching.
5. Humanized the show
We all are suckers for real-life examples, stories, and analogies. So when Dahlia El Gazzar introduced her daughter, Lily, during the session, it humanized the show and gave the audience a unique perspective on how Gen Z views events.
Lily’s brief cameo on our virtual stage not only lifted the engagement quotient but also added tremendous value to the information quotient (chat windows don’t lie). And this is just one of the many moments when human connections truly thrived during the event.
6. Gamified with a Leaderboard
Throughout the event, we had a contest running as part of our virtual activities to identify the most engaged participants. We assigned points for every interaction our attendees had during the event with the platform, with sponsors and exhibitors, or with each other. Some interactions gave more points, some a little less. In the end, the three most engaged attendees on the Leaderboard won exciting prizes like iPads, AirPods, and Hubilo Swag.
And oh boy, this worked and how! Here’s the thing though - while we’re super stoked that it worked, we’re not surprised. Gamification, if executed well, has always worked as it gives attendees a sense of accomplishment and triggers strong emotions of happiness, intrigue, and excitement.
7. Entertained the audience with performances
Three straight hours of technology-related sessions can be a turn-off for the audience. So we stepped up our game with some charged performances and virtual activities from the Drag Taste, a comedy act by Richard Sarvate, and a magic show by Johnny Wu. All exceptional performers, all mind-blowing entertainers! This helped us create a perfect medley of information and entertainment and never losing a beat with the attendees. Also, using our own technology setup played a major role in ensuring high-quality video streaming. (Not to boast, but the clarity was so good that a few attendees even wondered in the Chat if it was pre-recorded)
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8. Gave away swag and surprises
Through the event, we gave away swag and prizes to attendees by randomly selecting names from the pool of attendees most engaged in the chat window. In addition to motivating the attendees, this also gave us a great opportunity to thank them!
Here’s a pro tip - tie-up with partners for giveaways and prizes. This takes the load off your back, gives your partners a prominent branding opportunity, and enables you to give away prizes to more attendees. Isn’t that what you’d call a win-win now?
9. Shared real-time Notifications
Attendees received a continuous stream of real-time notifications, informing them about details such as who viewed their profile, upcoming sessions & virtual activities, Rooms that were live, Booths that were open, Lounges that were accessible, and upcoming networking breaks. This ensured attendees knew what was happening across the event and were present exactly where they wanted to be, to derive maximum value.
Notifications are particularly effective at events spanning across more than one day and comprising multiple tracks that run simultaneously.
10. Provided pre and post-event networking options
Last but not least, Hubilo’s platform is built in a way that it provides for more than just during-event networking. Attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, and everyone else registered for the event can log in to the platform and connect with other delegates already logged in before and after the event as well. This is made possible with event platform features such as Activity Feed, Chat, Video Meetings, and Lounges. Extending the scope of networking on the platform beyond the allocated event dates drove deeper audience engagement and enabled attendees to make the most of the event.
Event planning has changed
With the advancement of technology, one thing is certain - event planning has evolved. So have the roles of event professionals. Virtual events need individuals who understand technology, broadcasting, and production. They also need white-glove customer service to take on these additional roles.
While Events. Reimagined. has concluded, the learnings will continue. The road to immersive virtual+hybrid experiences has only just begun. Audience engagement at events would be crucial while achieving success. And so would be an event tech platform that enables deep engagement.
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