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Although Event Directors typically run the show (pardon the pun) the Operations Director is tasked with bringing the vision to life. From engaging with the content team to understanding which products were sold by sales and how they can be delivered, to work with the external event delivery team. They are always neck-deep in the midst of it and we feel are the unsung heroes of event delivery.

Events and hospitality suffered from COVID

The last year has been full of change for the events industry, with a massive swing toward virtual and hybrid events. As a result, we’ve pulled together our top five must-haves for succeeding in a digital event world.

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The transition to live-streaming events

Over 2020/21, many Ops Directors have winged it, worked it and on occasion wrangled some help from a third-party platform provider. But many of you are now over Zoom and the other standardish platforms available off of the shelf. You, your brand, and your audiences are demanding more, so Ops Directors, this one is for you!

Pick the right Live Streaming Platform

Ensure you have the right reliable AV for streaming. There are more options than Zoom, Teams or other, tech only platforms. Your online events can be either completely virtual or filmed/streamed from your physical venue creating a hybrid experience. However, nothing ruins a digital event experience more than substandard technology.

The two things to consider when choosing your online event platform are the internet and the potential redundancy of service and power. If either of these crash, your experience is over and that will be a significant memory for your virtual event attendees.

Using Virtual Event Environments

Choose the right virtual event environment to host your event. Whilst some platforms offer live streaming from a localised venue, the home or office, for example, there are more options available to you.

Consider those online event service providers that offer you a broader range of facilities. Think about studios, green screens and other creative support that you and your Event Director would require.

Will your creative idea for your digital event need to utilise a separate studio, factor in remote presenter(s), etc.?

For hybrid events, will you be hosting a studio on-site at the physical venue and/or streaming live sessions? What does that look like in an ideal situation?

You have an array of options with a platform like Showcases’ proprietary platform. One that bundles in event analytics giving you a creative and reporting 360 of your planned event. In many cases, it’s the ability to be super flexible around content creation that enables you to outshine the competition.

Build your Virtual Event Project Team

For your online or hybrid event to succeed, you need dedicated end-to-end support and a defined virtual project team. It’s not just about tech, creativity, or content. You will need experts in all areas of your internal team and a supplier with parallel levels of customer service and support.

Consider working with an experienced live, online and hybrid events consultancy or agency. One that can provide your team with a service that includes a dedicated resource for creativity, content and marketing.

Create a backup plan. Pre-record content for “as-live” sessions, ensuring questions are filtered and you have seeded queries and conversations to boost engagement. Who’s presenting if your presenter gets sick or cancels? What if the studio gets shut down due to a COVID scare?

Choose the right event budget to succeed

Let’s face it, you won’t have the same budget for an online event as you would for a live event. You can’t monetise them the same way. However, any Ops Director worth their salt knows the budget is always the biggest bone of contention. Your management team demand maximum creativity with a shoestring budget.

To deliver quality online, digital or hybrid event, you need a reasonable budget. Consider speaker training, a pre-event run through, platform testing at remote locations, and pre-recorded content in case a live feed fails. In addition, many platforms have a basic offering and premium add-ons to help enhance the experience.

Think customer first and then work backwards from the ultimate event to a point where you are happy to deliver something. You still want people to talk about your event and not just about the quality of the speakers.

Keep client experience at the heart of everything you do

This final piece of advice goes without saying. Experience – how can you enhance connections, networking, give your attendees something to talk about as they would at a live event?

You have to rule out any cheesy ideas at this point. The event participants will expect a professional experience that gives them as near to the live experience as possible. This includes fun thinking e.g. a DJ set, cocktail masterclass, etc. Which can be delivered in an online and live environment, supporting both the live and virtual event audiences.

Can you set up mini-breakout rooms for 1-2-1 networking between online to online and online to live attendees?

How quickly can a live session be recorded and added to the replay list for virtual event attendees?

Virtual and Hybrid Event Planning Advice

So there you have it, our top five live streaming must-haves for ops directors delivering an online or hybrid event.

Focusing on these five aspects of online event planning will help you deliver extremely successful and memorable outcomes. You can create an experience that will be shared on social media. That will be talked about on podcasts, whilst written up in blog posts and traditional media. In addition, attract increasing returning attendees and improve revenues as more live and hybrid events come back into play.

For help and guidance on bespoke live, virtual or hybrid event delivery please reach out to one of our team. We would be happy to discuss and guide you through the process.

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