I was intrigued to see what other event professionals had to say about the future of events, and what Zoom Events fits into in it, as twine was holding a roundtable discussion titled, “Where the Pendulum Stops: The Future of Events and How Zoom Events Fits In.” We always keep our ears pricked for news about what’s happening in the event marketing industry.
Zoom Events was used to organize the event at a conference that brought together more than 60 event and marketing professionals with twine, an app that enables fast networking and advanced breakout rooms. Presented by Liz King Caruso, Michelle Bruno, along with Dahlia El Gazzar, the hourlong, interactive discussion was an enjoyable experience for everyone involved that provided new insight into the current state of the market and forecasted where the market might be headed in the near future. I think you should know already that virtual events are not going away anytime soon, as far as we can see.
Those in favor of virtual events
Two years after the pandemic ended, it is still unclear whether the pendulum has swung toward virtual events or not. There may have been a shift, but not a great deal has changed. As part of our polling process, we asked for your predictions as to the final resting place of the pendulum in the form of a 1-to-10 scale, with virtual events rated 1 and in-person events rated 10. A 5.7 rating was obtained by the survey, indicating a strong tendency toward hybrid events, i.e., live events combined with virtual components.
In spite of the fact that in-person meetings have long been the standard, some participants pointed out that they were not always the most efficient method, stating that day-to-day meetings were often very time-consuming due to the amount of time wasted. There are a number of factors that can make the experience of being at an event in person more beneficial than if it were held virtually, such as long travel days or unproductive keynote sessions.
A number of other conversations pointed in the direction of virtual events, including:
less of a carbon footprint
the ability to provide more data
In physical locations, it can be challenging to provide better accessibility and inclusivity due to the physical environment
Making the case for hybrid
As there were more votes in favor of virtual events than in favor of in-person events, it is not necessarily the case that in-person events have fallen out of favor, as there was a strong support for them. Most of the participants in this study believed that face-to-face meetings are beneficial, but at the same time, they also believed that attendees would benefit more if they could choose when and where they attend. It was discussed that virtual formats should be refined, interactivity should be added, and a universal “gold standard” should be defined.
As a result of this ambiguity, the word hybrid also exists in this sense. In the future, it might be better to use terms like “modern meetings,” or simply events without the need for a modifier, in place of these terms. In addition to the above, here are some other things that the event profs had to say:
“There is no such thing as a pendulum. The choices are there for you to make. An event is one of the elements of a mixed marketing strategy. “I think it would be beneficial to blend digital with face-to-face to move things forward.” – Rachel Stephan, Snöball
The result will ultimately be somewhere in the middle where we will end up with 60-40 in favor of in-person events in a few years’ time. “The attendance of delegates at meetings will be more selective as a result of better information acquisition.” – Ksenija Polla, CMP – ICCA
There are limitations associated with in-person experiences, so if you want to extend the experience beyond the limitations of the event itself, you’ll have to resort to virtual additions to enhance your attendees’ experience because in-person experiences are limited to the days of the event. Considering that these digital parts are essential, we will never be able to get back to a situation where everything is planned in person in the long run.” – Merijn van Buuren, Event Manager
Forget about the past
A new generation of event planners have been tasked with rethinking how to engage audiences in a post-pandemic era. As millennials are becoming the majority in the workplace, combined with the idea that cloud-based tools are becoming more and more prevalent, tried and true methods aren’t as impactful as they once were since you need to meet your (potential) customers where they are, with their favorite apps. Unlike older generations, those in today’s younger generation aren’t so familiar with traditional events, and so they expect short-form, digestible content as well as digital networking tools to be able to connect with other professionals online.
As a way to increase in-person attendance, the event professors also offered the following suggestions as ways to increase in-person attendance:
The key to getting to the next level of engagement and participation in events is to provide high-quality, personalized experiences. – Merijn van Buuren, Event Manager of the Netherlands.
We need to expand our network of contacts and be able to meet them in person if we want to develop quality partnerships. The conference will offer participants a variety of unique on-site experiences instead of the typical keynote talks and workshops scheduled at most conferences.” – Mike Taubleb, Promenade Speakers
There will be a significant impact on the mix if COVID proceeds as planned. It’s still unclear how that’s going to be done, and we don’t know what it will look like.” – Adrian Segar, Conferences That Work
Remote events with online content have many benefits over traditional events, and one of the greatest advantages is the ability to utilize data and measure far more than just booth scans and attendee registrations. There is still much work to be done in refining this process, which is why event planners are spending a lot of time on it:
– Mike Taubleb, Promenade Speakers, Inc. “Unfortunately, there are no easy ways to evaluate our virtual participants’ perceived value, or to document it in any way.”
Increasing data utilization can support the argument that online elements need to be kept in events to keep new audiences engaged during the pandemic, and to build new audiences in the long run.” – Ksenija Polla, CMP – ICCA.
As a result of the discussion, it is likely that the importance of empathy was one of the biggest takeaways. We are in the midst of recovering from the devastating effects of COVID-19, and empathic understanding of your audience and staff can go a long way in ensuring the two are balanced and ensuring the wishes of both parties are met.
Looking ahead with Zoom Events
It was evident throughout our discussion that virtual events were widely supported, as well as the need to improve the technology and virtual event management platforms to make them more effective. When asked about Zoom Events and their perceptions of how it fits into the future of events, participants voiced their appreciation for its ease of use, variety of features, affordability, scalability, and the fact that it is readily accessible to most audiences.
It was organic for Zoom to be adopted during the pandemic. Virtual events are becoming more and more affordable and accessible as a result of technology, so it is only natural that it democratizes them. In the same way that WordPress changed the way websites are built, it will do the same for digital events.” – Rachel Stephan, Snöball
It is my belief that Zoom Events can play a major role in allowing virtual events to become more accessible to a wider audience, which is essential for their mass adoption. – Merijn van Buuren, Event Manager
As we move towards the definition of the “gold standard,” it will be certain that the events industry will continue to evolve; however, in the meantime, we will continue to work hard to make virtual events as engaging, inclusive, and memorable as possible for all participants. Contact Zoom Events to work with them on developing smarter breakout rooms with twine for Zoom and elevate your event marketing strategy by building smarter breakout rooms with twine for Zoom.
How to do events on Zoom?
Why zoom for an event?
Which are built in options for zoom events?
- Team Chat.
- Phone System.
- Zoom IQ.
- Mail and Calendar.