There is no easy way to say this. Pure virtual events can never be as enjoyable as a real offline event. There is chemistry involved when we meet real people. Human beings thrive by shaking hands and not by sitting behind computer screens and smiling at the camera.
In an ideal world, offline events click. At the same time, an offline event is just that — ideal, but not realistic. Because the world has changed, and 'ideal' has moved on.
When the pandemic struck, our clients held back. They were scared, and so were we. They didn't know where they stood, and we didn't know how to go forward. It was a grim time for all of us.
At first, people did not find it challenging to switch to virtual-based connecting platforms. Morning huddle meetings were never the same again. But excitement soon wore off.
People were feeling the burnout attending video meetings. When it is all virtual, all you see are people in tiny boxes. There is nothing much going on in there.
Eventually, people get bored of seeing people in a box, and that is exactly what happened. Before the pandemic, people could gauge emotions from physically being present in the room, and now they had to rely on verbal cues. Most of us thrive using non-verbal cues, and a virtual platform does not support that endeavor.
Seeing people not have a good time during virtual events and meetings bothered us. There was a good opportunity here to deliver something unexpected in the event space during these challenging times. We wanted to add factors that were part and parcel of a traditional offline event to virtual events.
We knew there was no way things were getting back to normal, at least not for the foreseeable future, and we had to make the best out of the situation. We ended up creating an MVP (minimum viable product) and asked one of our clients to use it without taking a fee. It worked.
Since then, we have partnered with Gitex 2020, CES, and so on.
On the one hand, we had a powerful insight of what people wanted and expected out of an event, and on the other hand, we had a powerful product — a product that no one else had — a product that genuinely cared about the performance of an event and the value it was able to drive for exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees — all at once.
Our product was designed to give event organizers complete admin control over their events and stay powerfully relevant through genuine value and actionable insights.
Insights matter. People always want to touch and feel things, especially when it is something new and exciting. Tech, aviation, and automobile expos are a few examples. People want to see new things and understand what they could offer, even if they are not potentially investing in them. That is the practical charm a hybrid event holds.
As the world is taking the courage to move on from the fear of the virus, people are beginning to seek new experiences. They are tired of being at home. When they had no option and remained at home, virtual was the only to go. It is not like that anymore.
We hosted Gitex 2020 (the only global LIVE in-person tech show in 2020) on our platform. We were Gitex's white label partners. They could have picked any of our competitors, but the fact they chose us is testimony to what we can offer our competitors cannot — an incredible cocktail of experience and intelligence.
The concept of webinars was more profound in Europe and the US. Since the pandemic, Asia has taken warmly to the concept of being relevant — virtually.
Tech is continuously and rapidly evolving and improving. 73% of event planners have gone hybrid in 2020.
While the industry continues to have inhibitions about the need for having specialized experience in creating wholesome hybrid events that remove offline and online barriers, it helps to remember that a tremendously successful hybrid event is determined by three things — a cool venue, a cool team, and cool tech.
When you have the perfect mix of all three things, you provide not just an experience — you provide an intelligent experience. Thankfully, we are the only ones to do this in the whole wide world at this stage.