Hybrid Event Guide: 37 touchpoints to keep in sight for building attendees' engagement
Updated: Oct 11, 2021
Every touchpoint and each attendee interaction during an event lifecycle serves as an opportunity to reinforce your organization’s brand. Since we live in an increasingly connected world, it is essential to incorporate technology to personalize these interactions at scale. Here is why you need to understand the attendee journey during a hybrid event.
Hybrid events are not without challenges, with engagement consistently topping the list of grievances. The good news is that it appears to be less of a challenge now than it has been in the past.
Hybrid events bring together the best of in-person and virtual events to create one event with two experiences. To make a meeting or event truly hybrid, two events must be planned and integrated in parallel, the in-person event, and the virtual event.
Hybrid events are a powerful means to accomplishing your event & business goals
• Build brand awareness
• Generate leads
• Provide product updates
• Create and accelerate sales pipeline
• Drive revenue
• Retain customers
• Engage and educate customers & prospects
As you plan your hybrid event, and the technology that will support it, it’s important to think through what the attendee experience will be and how it will differ between your in-person and your remote attendees. There are areas where the experiences will diverge and there are opportunities to create shared experiences or foster a sense of community between all attendees.
Getting an event up, running, and humming can feel like it takes a great deal plus lots of effort. But with the right event technology, you can automate many of your labor-intensive manual planning and marketing processes, and bring your event technology under one roof.
Here’s a look at how we can help you create that seamless experience, allowing attendees to learn, network, and interact, no matter where they are for an event… when the event is managed via Cvent:
1. SAVE THE DATE
It may seem obvious, but the “Save the Date” announcement is an important driver of the event’s success. The “Save the Date” is often the first touch-point your brand will have with their potential attendees. An effective invite sets the tone for the event and prepares the attendees for what they can expect. Leaving out this step will make hitting your registration goals challenging, especially if it is a competitive time of year.
Tip: A good “Save the Date” email will attract interest and help drive registration. A great one will drive registration as well as ample pre-registrants.
Targeted emails can be sent out giving attendees details about both the in-person and virtual experiences. This can help your attendees decide which experience is best for them while registering for your event and allow you to market the correct experience to the right attendee.
Tip: Drive higher event attendance by sending personalized and targeted messages per type of attendee, while saving time by automating these communications. Make a test by adding the recipient’s name into the subject line to catch their attention.
3. INVITATION FORWARDING
When enabled, this feature lets invitees enter the names and email addresses of people they think would be interested in the event. Whomever they add will immediately receive the invite, growing your contact list and increasing registrations without any effort on your part.
Tip: You can add the invitation forwarding option to registration, emails, or the regret survey. You can also limit the number of invitations one invitee can send.
4. EMAIL COMMUNICATION
Keep your registered participants informed about the latest news regarding your event, sponsors, speakers, or content updates. At the same time provide important information about how to access your venue or your event hub to make sure they attend the sessions they registered for.
Tip: Sending all your registered participants the link for the event app keeps them more engaged and increases the reach for your exhibitors or sponsors.
You want to create a buzz around your event and get your registrants engaged and talking before, during, and after your meeting or conference.
Social Media: Make it easy for registrants to promote the event for your customer to their own social networks.
Search Engine Optimization: Increase the likelihood that the event appears in search engine results by optimizing it with a description and keywords.
Viral Marketing: Let invitees refer contacts to your event during registration to boost response rates.
6. EVENT WEBSITE
Create professional and branded event websites that include detailed information about the event, agenda, venue, speakers, sponsors, and more. An effective event website is critical to showcasing your event, educating visitors on why they should attend, and driving them to register.
Tip: Showing the agenda and the speakers’ details at your event increases the registration ratio. It gives invitees a glimpse of what they will be getting as content from your event.
7. DYNAMIC REGISTRATION PATHS
Give attendees a personalized experience depending on their role at the event, such as attendees, sponsors, staff, exhibitors, or speakers. This role can be used to give them access to the portions of your event that are most relevant for them. Depending on if an attendee selects an in-person or virtual experience, they can see the relevant information. For example, if attendees are coming in person, they can have meals included with their registration.
Tip: Registration can be translated into multiple languages, so attendees in various locations can participate. Because virtual events naturally have a broader reach, this allows you to better cater to a global audience.
8. REGISTRATION QUESTIONS
Ask custom questions during the registration process to get key attendee details and understand their interests and preferences.
9. REGISTRATION CONFIRMATION EMAIL
Send your registered participants a "thank you" note, with key points from the agenda and use this opportunity to present the unique value proposition that your event is going to deliver.
Tip: You can still use this as means to promote your speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors.
When a session is at capacity, allow attendees the opportunity to join a waitlist and grab a spot when one opens up.
11. TRAVEL FOR IN-PERSON ATTENDEES
As you are providing the option to attend your event on-site, it is useful to have their travel details on hand. Requests for airfare, hotel, and car rentals can be made during registration. They can be managed completely with the help of your event platform. You’ll be able to easily manage room blocks, hotel bookings, travel requests, and more. You can review real-time reports and receive automated alerts to make accurate inventory, pricing, and allocation decisions. Having a platform that integrates with the online booking tools and all major GDS’s, makes the process even more seamless.
Tip: Automating the collection of travel details and having all travel requirements in one place, saves you a lot of time, and it gives you more control over the suppliers involved in your event.
12. ATTENDANCE FEES & PAYMENTS
Show the right pricing based on the event experience a registrant has chosen and their role at your event. You can also provide discount codes and early bird pricing.
13. POST-REGISTRATION FOR VIRTUAL
Leading up to your event, use emails to help attendees build their agendas, explore the event hub, schedule appointments, and more.
Tip: Providing virtual attendees access to your event hub before the day of the event, allows your exhibitors to showcase their products early on.
14. EVENT APP
With branded mobile apps, you can deliver a smarter event experience and pack a powerful punch right in your attendees’ hands. Keep them on track and informed while eliminating printed materials with personalized schedules, interactive event maps, and push notifications. Then build engagement with social media sharing, attendee messaging, networking, live polling, live Q&A, surveys, gamification, activity feeds, and more.
Tip: From the app, attendees can find key event information, manage their schedules, and more.
15. AGENDA BUILDING
After registration, attendees can continue building their schedules directly in the event hub leading up to the event and during the event. Their sessions will be attached to their invitee record. So, no matter where they log in (web or app), they will have the information. All registration rules and visibility logic you put in place will be honored. Attendees are also able to view the schedule in their time zone.
Offer easy access to your attendees to print their branded badges when they arrive at the venue.
Tip: Add a color bullet or a colored ribbon on the badge to show the level of comfort of each in-person attendee with how close others can interact with them.
17. ONSITE EXPERIENCE
Leading up to the event, use emails to encourage attendees to schedule onsite meetings, provide onsite health and safety guidelines, drive mobile app downloads, build their agendas, and more.
Tip: During these times, in-person attendees need to know what they can expect and how they can prepare for their travels and meetings. Your communications should be detailed and provide instructions on the event’s safety protocols, such as mask-wearing, physical distancing as well as what they need throughout their stay at the venue.
18. SUPPORT BY PHONE
When attendees cannot log in to the event hub or just need help with details regarding the location, allow them to contact you using a phone number for support.
Tip: Having a phone number they can call, gives attendees more trust and helps you make sure they don’t miss the sessions they are interested in.
To access the event virtually, attendees must be registered for the event, log in, and then enter in a verification code that they receive. There are multiple security options for the event app including a hidden event, visible and locked event, and visible and unlocked event.
20. EVENT CHECK-IN
Upon arrival at the venue for in-person attendees, provide contactless check-in to allow them to check in to your event safely and have their name badge printed on demand.
21. SESSIONS & CONTENT DELIVERY
The event hub is the technology that takes the place of the physical event venue, a web-based portal for attendees before, during, and after an event. They can find key event information from the website, view video content, engage with exhibitors, and more.
Attendees can consume content in-person or via the event hub. Video cards can be created on the event app’s home page to link to any video from YouTube, Wistia, or Vimeo. This is great for welcome videos to your event!
There are four types of sessions attendees can consume online: Simulive, On-Demand, Livestream, and Collaborative. You can have your sessions be a mix of the different virtual session types or one virtual session type.
Tip: For certain sessions, you can broadcast a live stream to multiple destinations, such as YouTube Live and Facebook Live, simultaneously.
22. EXHIBITORS & SPONSORS
Attendees can access exhibitor and sponsor profiles to learn more about them, request to be contacted, visit their virtual booth, or schedule virtual appointments with them. In addition to meeting exhibitors onsite at the event, attendees have access to the exhibit hall map, exhibitor and sponsor profiles, and can schedule appointments with exhibitors directly in the event app.
Attendees can request and schedule virtual meetings with sponsors, exhibitors, staff, or other attendees right within the event. A Zoom link will be populated once an attendee requests the appointment. Attendees can request and schedule onsite or virtual meetings with sponsors, exhibitors, staff, or other attendees right within the event.
24. COLLABORATIVE SESSIONS
If the in-person attendees are in breakout sessions, give your virtual attendees the same opportunity. Many virtual streaming providers can create breakout rooms within the meeting. Gather your virtual attendees and have them connect in smaller groups so they can also build that community. This type of session allows multiple attendees to speak and participate.
25. VIRTUAL BOOTHS
An interactive destination on the event hub where exhibitors and sponsors can meet with and capture leads from attendees during your event. From an exhibitor's virtual booth, attendees can join a virtual meeting with the booth staff, if they have one set up for their organization.
Tip: This will increase the networking opportunities for your participants and give them access to connect with exhibitors as they prefer.
26. SPEAKER INFO
Speakers’ titles, headshots, and companies can be found on the session detail page of the event hub. Speakers’ titles, headshots, and companies on the session detail page and a full speaker profile can be accessed from the speaker list on the event app’s home page.
Tip: You can promote your speakers and send out teaser notifications to increase engagement or attendance duration.
27. SESSION ATTENDANCE
For your virtual attendees, track session attendance when an attendee clicks “Join Session” button for any session in your virtual event. Session duration can also be tracked.
For your in-person attendees, track session attendance by using an on arrival solution to scan attendees’ badges, using RFID tracking, or requiring attendees to check in to sessions through the event app.
28. SESSION DOCUMENTS
Supplemental documents can be added to sessions, such as presentations and activities, for ongoing education accessible in the event hub (desktop or mobile).
Tip: Having an event hub with dedicated pages for each session, takes the headache of materials distribution during and after the event.
29. LIVE Q&A
All attendees, virtual or in-person, can ask questions using live Q&A from the event hub and event app. Attendees can also upvote questions they want to see answered.
Tip: A feature on the event hub and event app that allows attendees to ask questions from a particular session. They can view the submitted questions and upvote the ones they want answered most.
30. SESSION CHAT
There are times when the thought of being camera-ready and presentable is just too much to handle. Or maybe you’re only on your first cup of coffee and simply are not ready to engage in a conversation. We’ve all been there. These situations are when chat functionality comes in handy at your event. Provide those attendees who may not want that “face-to-face” video experience with an alternative way to take part in your event.
Tip: Session chat allows attendees to communicate with one another while participating in sessions to discuss the content being presented to them.
Forget about a show of hands, use in-app polling to find out what your attendees are thinking, and make your events more engaging. Connect your virtual and onsite audiences with tools such as live polling and live Q&A. During a session, encourage both audiences to submit questions and answer poll topics so they are engaged and can interact with one another.
Tip: Your virtual attendee may ask a question that never crossed the mind of your onsite attendee or vice versa. This is a great opportunity to gain double the knowledge and double the feedback.
32. EVENT GAME
A fun and interactive way for attendees to connect with your event. Gamification provides a more interactive event experience for your attendees by motivating them to engage with your app. Gamification options draw attendees into the app to encourage networking, consume additional content, learn about your brand and sponsors, and ultimately have a more engaging event experience.
Tip: Gamification boosts engagement by incorporating fun challenges, custom rewards, and real-time leaderboard updates as a part of your attendees’ overall event app experience. Attendees are rewarded for interacting with your content while boosting the value of their individual event experience.
Attendees can access maps of the venue in the event app to help them navigate your event.
Use surveys to encourage attendees to provide feedback on individual sessions that they attended and your event overall. Surveys can be accessed in the event hub or a direct link via email following an event. You can also award credits based on survey completion or use your surveys as assessments and only award credits to attendees that achieve a minimum score.
Tip: Getting feedback on each speaker is going to be useful for your next events. At the same time, you get relevant information about which content session was most appreciated by your audience.
35. PARTICIPATION CERTIFICATES
You can automatically award credits based on each attendee’s sessions and events and provide easy access so they can print their branded certificates following the event.
Tip: Offering a certificate that allows others to gain a competitive edge for themselves or their organization can be great for both parties. Not only does it facilitate great user engagement, but it builds brand and product awareness as well.
36. POST-EVENT COMMUNICATION
Sending a thank you email after an event is a great way to keep in touch with people who are interested in what you do. Like event invites and reminders, post-event follow-ups are key for keeping contact with both in-person and virtual attendees. It’s a great opportunity to build a better relationship with your attendees, improve engagement, and gain insights by reminding them to complete the event survey.
Tip: Make sure you include details about your next events so you keep the connection alive until the next time they get to see you in action.
37. ON-DEMAND VIDEO
Previously recorded video content that a viewer can watch at a time of their choosing. This includes content that was recorded before an event, or that was played live during an event and can now be played back as a recording.
Tip: You can allow your participants to view content even after the event. Videos can remain available on-demand for 90 days after the session was recorded.
This is a map of the entire attendee lifecycle for both in-person and virtual attendees – from registration through post-event outreach.
These past few months have been unpredictable. However, a lot has been learned from this experience. The most important lesson is that we need to be prepared for any scenario. Integrating virtual and hybrid events into your total event program will be a key piece of your event strategy as we move forward. Live, in-person events will never be outdated, but it never hurts to have a good backup plan. Make hybrid events your secret solution.
Attendees' engagement never stops. Keep them connected with a continuous event and don't miss this unique opportunity.
Let’s talk more about these touchpoints in a free consultation session and how you can use them in your next event.
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