Reprinted with permission from Map Your Show. View the original post.
Establishing what successful events look like during a time full of change
Today’s world has left the events industry with some uncertainty. Returning to in-person events will likely look different than it has in the past, but fortunately, YOU have the ability to lead the path and establish what the new normal can look like. This new normal will involve bringing part of your show online, turning it into a hybrid event. Bringing your exhibitor directory or booth sales online and incorporating a virtual component will have a positive impact on your show. Here are some ways hybrid can make your event a success:
Broaden Your Audience
An in-person only event can limit your reach. By offering both in-person and online attendance options to your attendees and exhibitors, you broaden your audience. Not only will you reach association members and past attendees, but other prospective attendees who may be restricted by travel limitations, geographic location, or who may be newer to the industry and not ready to invest the money to attend in-person. A hybrid event gives you the opportunity to grow your audience.
Increase Content Life Cycle
With traditional events, you are limited in terms of the amount of time that exhibitors can connect with attendees. Hybrid events allow exhibitors to share their content for a longer period of time versus in-person where there are usually specific event hours. Within the online directory, exhibitors can share new product releases, show specials, collateral, and even present live demonstrations. All of these items have a longer life cycle, giving more time to connect with potential leads.
Emphasize Pre and Post Show Communication
Another perk of adding a virtual component to your show is the opportunity to utilize pre and post show communication. This is an important component to emphasize to your exhibitors so they can give attendees a preview of what they will be offering and utilize your platform to follow up with leads that can become valuable business opportunities. Be sure to give your exhibitors examples of email templates, social media posts and other messaging so that they can effectively communicate.
Allow Attendees to Customize Their Show Experience
Offering flexibility with in-person and online options allows attendees to create an experience that works best for them. Whether they are planning to walk the floor and visit exhibitors in-person, view content strictly online, or doing a combination of both, they have the option to choose how they want to experience your event. If you still want to drive in-person attendance, give incentives such as access to exclusive content, but offering a flexible option for attendance is important.
The new normal is right around the corner and its creation is going to rely heavily on you. Keep an open mind and explore your options to go hybrid as you plan your next event. The opportunities that lie within virtual components can have long term effects that increase the overall success of your event.