Hybrid events took no time in becoming a mainstay since the corona pandemic. Due to the constant fear of in-person cancellations, hybrid events picked up the slack. Now an event’s physical presence is combined with online components that can be enjoyed from anywhere around the world.
With this new freedom event organizers are free to pick and choose while enjoying all the benefits of both styles – Hybrid events have proved they’re here to stay for good. If you have an upcoming hosted buyer event this article will show practical ways to implement hybrid practices to future proof your events.
Hosting Buying/Seller Meetings
The benefits of physical, in-person events are clear; live interaction, non-verbal communication, and community networking – all these factors work together to bind people around an event. But, the addition of a digital or online component works to reinforce and enhance the impact. This is especially the case for hosted buyer events. These types of events are relatively simple in their concept: connect buyers/clients to the correct salesperson, product, or service.
With the hybrid version of this type of event, digital solutions can help compliment your show by automatically scheduling and connecting people while saving time. Krowden (formerly NetworkTables) provides a practical example of how the mix of physical live meetings and digital supplementation can lead to the greatest impact:
‘Purchasers and clients need to find if this is the right partner for their needs in a short period of time. And for vendors, the goal is also simple: to try to engage as many buyers as possible and sell.’ – Matthijs Otto, Krowden.
The Most Common Mistake
The biggest problem we see at hosted buyer events is hosted buyers wandering around the event aimlessly like a headless chicken. Connections this way aren’t happening proactively, rather making the right connection comes down to luck. It is much more efficient to have a direction that can be facilitated with the introduction of digital planning tools.
‘Don’t leave buyers to their own devices” says Matthijs Otto of Krowden.
Leaving it to Chance…
Typically at an event, people are thrown into a room full of exhibitors and are shuffled from table to table. Every 2 minutes you’re speaking to a new person and throughout the whole day maybe only a handful were valuable. Sometimes it can be much more efficient to have just a couple of meetings with the right people for 15 minutes with the right people.
Similarly, in virtual events, many exhibitors are flung around video ‘roulette’. Here people face the same problem – meetings are random, which can be fun but isn’t great for business. If sellers and buyers keep having uninteresting conversations they quickly drop out.
That’s why it’s massively important in advance to both groups who has what question – and who is offering the solution. If that can be handled in a smart and effective way, you can ensure an engaging and productive flow at your event where buyers and sellers have a schedule of meeting for the events themselves.
Krowden allows sellers to make it clear what the offer is, and when and where they can meet. Next, the buyer can check-in and schedule actual meetings with the right sellers. Then there is an efficient online schedule for the entire event.
An event program within the hosted buyer/seller settings event could then look very compact:
13:00 – 13:15 Introduction keynote/opening session
13:15 – 14:15 4 x 15-minute meetings (pre-scheduled) between both groups
14:15 – 15:15 4 x 15-minute meetings (pre-scheduled) between both groups
How to Make Hosted into Hybrid?
A hybrid hosted buyer event doesn’t schedule online and offline events at the same time. You don’t want the sponsor on his phone while also speaking at their booth. What about splitting the event between online and offline participants. Not ideal, because then you can’t interact with that intentional buyer who was connecting from Tokyo.
The best way to transform to a hybrid event is to create extra online days, for example, 2 days after the event. This way everyone (including the physical participants) can meet together online. For some, this will be their first opportunity to meet that potential buyer from Tokyo. Meanwhile, another might use this as a way to follow up online with a buyer they met during the trade show.
What is Important for Success?
- Make sure your online event can always be scheduled in advance (just like physical meetings) otherwise there might be no one turning up.
- Set up automatic reminders (Emails/SMS) to get people to the meeting platform at the moment it starts seamlessly.
- Ensure attendees can automatically move from meeting to meeting within the virtual platform so no one has to mess around with links or miss meetings.
We have learned a lot in the past year and are more than happy to share our insights with you. Any comments or questions after reading the above, feel free to contact us!
Hope to see you all soon at your live, hybrid, or virtual event!