If you’re an event planner, it’s time to start thinking about integrated events. By this, we mean events that are a mix of virtual and live components. This is a growing trend, and one that is likely to continue in the years to come. Why? Because it offers many benefits that traditional single-strategy events cannot provide. In this post, we discuss what integrated events are, and why you need to be considering them for your next event planning project!
What is the future of events?
In recent articles across the meetings and events industry, planners have been bombarded with various opinions about what THE future of events will be. Recent posts from Meetings.net, TSNN.com and Bizbash.com have all declared that “Hybrid is the future” or that “the Metaverse” is the only way to go.
While all of these mediums may have a place in the future of events, at Byrne Production Services, we believe that the future is much more simple: it’s integrated.
An integrated event is one that seamlessly combines virtual and live elements, moving beyond hybrid, to create a truly unique and memorable experience for attendees. This isn’t just a live event with a broadcast, or a virtual platform, but an intentional approach to how you engage your audience and stakeholders, no matter where they are.
Why Integrated Events?
There are many reasons to consider an integrated approach for your next event. Here are just a few:
Increased Attendance & Engagement:
An integrated event offers the best of both worlds – the ability to reach a global audience, while still providing the personal connection that comes with face-to-face interaction. This can lead to increased attendance and engagement from your target audience over time.
By incorporating virtual components into your event, you can save on costs associated with travel, lodging, and other expenses. This is especially beneficial for large events with attendees coming from all over the world.
An integrated approach gives you the flexibility to tailor the event experience to each individual attendee and to focus on inclusion for your audience. With the ability to mix and match virtual and live elements, you will create a custom event that meets the needs of your audience.
An integrated event allows you to track and measure all aspects of the event, from pre-event marketing to post-event follow up. It also creates much greater value for your stakeholders and sponsors, as they can see a direct connection between their investment and the event’s success.
Event Integration isn’t new
There are plenty of examples of how this strategy works in your every day life. So where can you find inspiration and examples of how to create an integrated event? Examples abound in the eSports market, through integrated marketing campaigns and entertainment media.
eSports events have long been a great example of how to integrate live and remote audiences. These events often have a global reach, with millions of fans watching online from all over the world. But they also provide a personal connection for fans, through meet-and-greets, commentary and curated interviews, and other opportunities to interact with their favourite players. All surrounding the main competition and broadcast, so that the remote audience has engaging and on going content throughout the event.
This approach isn’t just limited to eSports. Music festivals like Tomorrowland and Burning Man have also been using this approach for years. These festivals often sell out months in advance, with people coming from all over the world to attend. But for those who can’t make the trip, there are live streams and other ways to connect with the festival experience.
Integrated strategy has worked for years.
The world of marketing has been on the integration train for years. In fact, it’s the perfect place to look for inspiration when planning your next event. Every day, we are bombarded with integrated marketing campaigns that combine traditional and digital elements to reach their target audience.
A great example of this is Nike’s #RISEAWAY campaign. This campaign was designed to connect with fans during the COVID-19 pandemic and featured a mix of virtual and live elements. Nike created a series of challenges that could be completed either in-person or online, with the goal of bringing people together through sport. The campaign also included a dedicated website and social media channels, where fans could follow along with the event and share their own experiences.
So what does this mean for event planners?
What can be done to turn your event into an integrated experience?
Here are three simple things to add to your event to make it an integrated experience.
Add a broadcast studio to your trade show floor. – This is a great way to give remote attendees daily, curated content while giving your exhibitors and sponsors opportunity to engage audiences online and on-site.
Commentary for events
The challenge a lot of event and meeting planners are faced with is how to take live event content and make it compelling for the remote viewership. By adding the broadcast commentary set up to your trade show floor, you can integrate hosts, commentary, exclusive interviews and up to the minute content with your main stage show, industry influencers and sponsors.
This strategy is often used for large conferences and summits, but can also be done on a smaller scale. For example, the recent TEDx event in Vancouver had a popular live stream that was watched by people all over the world.
Offer Online Exclusives
Offer an online experience – An online experience can take many forms, from a simple live stream of your event to a more interactive virtual experience.
The key is to offer something that will engage your remote audience and give them a taste of what it’s like to be at your event.
For example, you could live stream your keynote speeches and offer breakout sessions that attendees can participate in from home. Or, you could create a virtual reality experience that gives viewers a 360-degree view of your event space.
Curate Programming for both types of attendees
Fill the gaps in live programming with curated additional content – If you’re worried about losing the attention of your remote audience during lulls in live programming, consider filling those gaps with additional content.
This could be anything from behind-the-scenes footage to interviews with speakers and attendees. The goal is to keep the remote audience engaged and informed, so they don’t feel like they’re missing out on the event experience.
By thinking about your event as an integrated experience, you can create something that is truly unique and engaging for all attendees, whether they’re on-site or joining remotely. So don’t be afraid to think outside the box and experiment with new ideas! Your audience will thank you for it.
No matter what you choose, make sure it’s something that will give your remote audience a taste of what it’s like to be at your event.
How to Get Started with Integrated Events
If you’re interested in exploring the world of integrated events, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:
- Define your goals: What do you want to achieve with your event? How will you measure success?
- Know your audience: What do they want from your event? How can you engage them in the experience?
- Find the right partner: Look for a production company or agency that specializes in creating integrated events. They will be able to help you bring your vision to life and ensure everything runs smoothly on event day.
Getting started on an Exceptional production Experience is easy.
When you’re ready to take your event to the next level, give us a call. We specialize in creating integrated events that will engage and delight your audience. From concept to execution, we’ll be there every step of the way to make sure your event is a success. Contact us today to get started!