Past few years challenged us all, and it’s not surprising that event planners took one of the hardest hits. If you were fortunate enough to survive company layoffs, you likely faced one of the biggest tests of your career as you navigated complete uncertainty around your work. It was time to say goodbye to the way you’d always done things, work within difficult restrictions and safety protocols, and step into completely new territory to keep your meetings and events alive.
The solution to transition to virtual events brought along many more challenges of its own, from keeping audiences engaged in a virtual environment to a lack of tech knowledge, running into issues securing sponsors, and networking limitations between attendees. This all took plenty of trial, error, and learning through experience. Now, over a year since the onset of the pandemic, many event professionals have started to embrace this shakeup in the industry and realize major benefits like cost savings and increased reach when hosting virtual meetings and events.
With the introduction of COVID-19 vaccinations throughout the world, things are looking up, and then return to hosting safe in-person events is just around the corner! The industry is preparing to make yet another pivot to hybrid formats — meetings and events. That include both virtual and in-person components. In an effort to maintain the scale advantages of running hybrid events while also protecting in-person meetings. According to the results of the State of the Event Industry Survey conducted in the first quarter of 2021, a solid 68 percent of respondents expect their events to be hybrid events once they resume normal operations.
Identifying the most appropriate event management software for your needs
Identifying the most appropriate event management system for your needs
This next transition will present even greater challenges, which can be overcome with the assistance of the appropriate tools and technology. It is now the responsibility of event professionals to find event management software that is capable of delivering the intended experiences to both in-person and online audiences alike.
There are a lot of moving parts in this puzzle…. If you’re a corporate event planner responsible for many meetings and events, selecting the right vendor can be even more difficult to accomplish. It can be difficult to find suitable event management system that can seamlessly meet the vastly different objectives of your individual events, whether they are regional meetings, product launches, lunch and learns, or town halls – to name a few examples of what you might be looking for.
It’s just that the market is overflowing with event technology solutions, and you’ll find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available to you. Even though many of these platforms advertise themselves as “all-in-one” solutions, we recommend that you proceed with caution when considering such claims.
As Lindsay Martin-Bilbrey, CMP of Nifty Method, stated during a webinar hosted by Smart Meetings, “There is no one ring to rule them all.” She added, “A hybrid event will have a lot of things that are plugging into it. You might have your broadcast tech, AV technology, community technology, and so on.” It could be a single platform that handles 60-70 percent of the work. They are lying to you if they claim that they can perform all of these tasks exceptionally well.”
It is preferable to choose foundational event management software that can cover 60-70 percent of the needs of your event portfolio and then seek out additional event management tools that complement it rather than chasing after the mythical “all-in-one solution” only to make costly mistakes and encounter limitations later on. This set of dedicated tools can be used to cover more specific aspects of your event, such as networking and audience engagement.
And to future-proof your events, you must take a step back and evaluate your event goals and the experience you want to provide your guests before dedicating yourself to event management software. In other words, you must approach the problem from a design standpoint.
Why should event design come before event management software?
Investing in event management system without first understanding the functionalities required to support your portfolio of organizational meetings and events is a risky business.
Whether you’re planning a product launch for 400 people or an onboarding meeting for a group of 10 new employees, any event or seminar must include three key elements:
Who will be in the audience?
The objectives of the event – what the goal is
The experience you’re attempting to create to support both of these things.
All-in-one solutions that claim to do it all have hidden costs and can cause a slew of problems when they fail to meet the unique requirements of each of your events. What will serve you well is deciding on a foundational tool that will provide you with the versatility and scalability you need to manage the intricacies of each unique event and then plugging in specialized software that will provide you with the additional features you need to deliver truly outstanding event experiences, whether your attendees are joining you in-person, from the sitting at home, or both.