The COVID pandemic and the resulting lockdowns and travel restrictions acted as a catalyst for a wave of changes in the events industry. Business models were reinvented, content strategies were reworked, and community engagement had to be reimagined.
What acted as a true supercatalyst was the proliferation of event technology.
Event technology providers (like yours truly, Hubilo) made a rapid pivot to meet the demands of an industry in flux. We worked closely with event professionals to build a set of table stakes features which enabled them to deliver events across a wide range of use cases.
Other than the bare essential ability to stream and chat, at Hubilo we built a feature set around the key pillars of a successful event - branding, networking, sponsorship, and analytics. Polls and surveys became real-time, Q&A allowed attendees to engage with the speakers, virtual booths and lounges were used to network, and customizable virtual branded experiences were easy to create.
Virtual events proved to have greater reach and accessibility, along with lower cost (both monetary and environmental). Until the beginning of 2022, it looked like the ROI from virtual events was scalable. But as Hubilo’s CMO Cathy Novelli shared in a recent post, the industry got a reality check as we dug deep into data and analytics. In the recent two quarters, engagement rates have been dipping and ROI has been unpredictable.
For sure the return of in-person events is one of the biggest reasons behind the recent dip in engagement and attendance in virtual events. But it isn't the sole reason. Survey after survey shows that engagement continues to be a challenge and average attendance rates have also dipped from 70% to 35-40%.
So what are some elements that make in-person events so much more engaging? Is it the human tactile sense? We all have been part of the organic ‘good chaos’ that builds when people gather in-person. A multi-sensory experience goes a long way in drawing attendees towards deeper and more conversations.
Despite challenges with virtual events, they are still a big part of event professionals’ plans for 2022 and beyond. In our recent survey featuring CXOs and event profs, 87% of respondents mentioned that virtual events are indispensable and/or need to be deployed at the right place and time.
So can we incorporate the best elements of in-person events into the virtual experience? It is hard, but not impossible. Challenge accepted!
Attendee engagement is always at the core of what we do. We believe that deeply immersive and engaging virtual sessions will be essential to drive business results. We conducted in-depth interviews with customers to gather a wide range of observations and challenges to overcome.
As we built the elements of a reinvented experience, rigorous testing, feedback, and optimization cycles ran in parallel. We reshaped the virtual session experience to bring in the aspects of spontaneity, excitement, and ‘good chaos’ that we often see in in-person events.
We are on a mission to enable marketers to provide a differentiated experience to beat the event fatigue. Our enhanced session experience is intended to boost engagement levels and provide new branding opportunities to you and your sponsors.
Our team has worked hard to build this latest version of Hubilo - built for engagement, excitement, and a sense of shared immersive experience never before seen in virtual events.
Join me and your community of event professionals at Hubilo Next, where we will unveil the experience. See you on October 20th!
As the world reopens, pent up demand for in-person meetings is driving a wave of change. For virtual events, there is a slump in attendance and ROI is dwindling. Why? What can we do about it?