What does it mean to plan an event in 2021? With the event landscape shifting day by day, it’s hard to keep a pulse on the dos and don’ts of event planning and what it takes to make your next event successful. We’ve been talking to our event planners and have uncovered their biggest learning lessons during the last year and a half.
So, what does it really take to plan an event these days?
1. Time is truly of the essence
Virtual events are still very much the leading platform for events, and they tend to take a little more time to plan. Of course, this is all up to what the event consists of and what customizations are needed. The more custom the event is the more time it will take to plan. For example, your typical virtual event would take a range of 6 to 10 weeks to complete.
With a live or hybrid event, it’s much more detailed and can extend this timeline even more. So, talk to your clients and work with them to set realistic timeline expectations. Can they accomplish everything they wish in their desired timeframe? If the answer is no, it may be time to trim down the wish list and accomplish the most important things first. It’s better to have an overall amazing event with fewer sessions, than a messy event that is 75% of the way planned.
Learning Lesson: Plan sessions, speakers, and activations accordingly! Don’t plan more than you and your event tech provider can accomplish within a given timeframe.
2. Listen to your tech providers
Your tech provider is the best barometer of what can be accomplished for your event. If you choose a platform that provides customization and expert help, then you can bet your event will wow your attendees and go off without a hitch. If you go a different route (especially with more affordable options) you risk tech failure (and more!) during your event. There should always be a happy medium of price and quality, and it’s important to find that with the tech provider of your choosing.
Once you choose the right provider, they will be able to walk you through your event process – whether it’s a live, virtual or hybrid event. Their specialties will come in handy, and they will likely be able to spot issues/challenges before they become a major problem. Use them to your advantage!
Learning Lesson: Listen to the experts! They are there to be an extension of your team and will be the major differentiator to your attendee's experience.
3. Actually use that post-event data
Everyone always gets those long and bulky post-event reports - but do they actually do anything with them? In reality, those post-event reports (if they’re done right) show you exactly what you did right and what you did wrong during the event.
Virtual and hybrid events produce more data than ever before. Capture and unlock insights from your event’s data with our reporting and analytics solutions to improve attendee experience and demonstrate impact.
In a good post-event report, you’ll be able to measure:
- Detailed audience demographics
- Session attendance and engagement
- Exhibitor traffic
- Lead acquisition
- Polling and survey results
- Networking responses
- Social buzz
- Sponsor views and activity
Once you get that data, take some time to look it over and note what worked. Whatever worked can be used again and enhanced for your events to come.
Learning Lesson: Knowledge is power! Those spreadsheets and reports hold data that can make your event better and more attuned to your attendees' needs. Use it!
4. Keep up with the times and keep your ear to the ground
We all like to talk about the changing event landscape right now. Live events were back, attendees were beginning to feel comfortable traveling again, and then boom, events are starting to shift back to virtual. It’s not something to worry about. It's simply something to be prepared for.
Keeping up with the available event technology on the market is paramount for staying agile in event planning. Find a tech provider who is innovative, creates solutions built to enhance your events, and can roll with the punches.
Learning Lesson: Don’t be afraid to try out the new tech at your events. They have been built by experts, tested by planners, and could very well make your next event even better.
5. Continue pushing forward
There is an overflowing amount of information, technology, and opportunity in the event industry right now. Rather than becoming overwhelmed by it, harness it and master it for your events.
Learning Lesson: Make your own opportunities: Did you have a hybrid event and are you now moving to virtual? Awesome. Now you can expand your audience, add more sessions with pre-recorded content, and keep your event’s portal open after the event closes to provide extra value to attendees. There’s always a silver lining in event planning, especially in today’s world. Enjoy yourself!
Just because the industry is changing doesn't mean it's not thriving. Technology, event professionals, and more have stepped up to the plate and have continued to deliver incredible events of all kinds. We will continue to share our stories with one another as we grow - all for the goal of keeping the event industry as strong as it ever was.
To learn more about how MeetingPlay can partner with you for your next live, virtual, or hybrid event, schedule a demo today!