BEST HYBRID EVENT
Audience – Shared Services Conference
Over the last 24 years, the two-day in-person Deloitte Shared Services Conference has become a “must attend” event for leaders in the industry. In November 2021, we transformed it into a one-day hybrid event for 400 in-person C-Suite clients, partners and prospects and over 1,500 virtual delegates. The goal was to wow the audience and connect delegates efficiently by creating a dynamic, sustainable, technologically advanced conference.
We utilised an open-plan model, designed with in-person and virtual delegate engagement at the forefront. The focal 360° wrap-around theatre, live ‘SSC studio’ combined with state-of-the-art technology and innovative audio-visual touchpoints created a new energised link with the virtual audience, acting as an anchor to take them through the day, offering a variety of interactive experiences and unique content.
SSC 2021 was the first large-scale hybrid experience of this scale at Deloitte. The impact was huge with over 890 leads generated on-site, over 39 virtual delegates from countries attended, and we generated over 2,400 main session views, with an 86% delegate rating.
“It was like a professional TV production. I was glued to the whole day and wanted to watch the sessions on demand. Next year we will be there in person. You cannot have done it better as a hybrid event.”
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development – CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition
The CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition 2021 was our first, fully hybrid, international event, featuring over 70 speakers across three streams of paid-for conference content and two streams of free exhibition content. Our commitment was to give all delegates a flexible and inclusive experience, however they joined us, and to deliver great value to our sponsors and exhibitors. We weren’t prepared to compromise quality or interactivity to ‘keep it simple’.
Our event app brought everything together. It streamed all our content. It gave virtual delegates an exceptional viewing experience and was used in-person for all event information. It connected everyone through a chat channel. It supported branding and contact opportunities for all sponsors and exhibitors.
We attracted people who would not have attended in-person and extended our international reach. We managed complete integration between the virtual and in-person experience. We achieved a total revenue and profit that an in-person only event would not have delivered at that time. And we received high net promotor scores from our delegates and exhibitors.
We learned what a high-quality, genuinely inclusive hybrid event can deliver, given the right investment, planning and briefing, and we built solid capabilities for our future events.
FIRST EVENT – Cardano Summit 2021
A 48-hour hybrid event. 142,000 online attendees from 180 countries. 13,500 in-person attendees at watch parties in New York, Miami, Wyoming, Berlin, Tokyo, Cape Town, London and +40 community hubs. 73 hours of content. 208 speakers in 137 sessions. End-to-end delivered in just seven weeks.
Billed as the biggest-ever blockchain event, Cardano Summit excited fans, bringing together a global developer community driving the technology’s transformative potential underpinning cryptocurrency.
First Events has worked with blockchain experts Input Output (IOHK) for >4 years delivering in-person and virtual events up to 10,000 people. The ambitious Summit enabled IOHK to extend their reach 14-fold – vital for maintaining Cardano as sought-after cryptocurrency. We wowed delegates, combining virtual and in-person interaction and incentivised networking, acting as a catalyst for future collaboration. Speakers included political figures, media, tech and business leaders with exclusive announcements on sustainability, regulation and blockchain adoption.
The Cardano Foundation described the Summit as “giving a voice to our community”. As one fan described, “the fact they created this (virtual) world for the community speaks to how much we are valued as contributors to the ecosystem.” The event exceeded expectations. People showing interest in IOHK, Cardano, and projects has skyrocketed, and no wonder.
Incisive Media – Professional Pensions Live 2021
Incisive Media’s Professional Pensions Live was the company’s first hybrid event – and an instant hit with audiences and sponsors. The one-day show at London’s Brewery in September 2021 featured the biggest names in the UK pensions industry – including pensions minister Guy Opperman – and four specialist streams. All were hosted by top TV talent – including ITV news presenter Nina Hossain – and broadcast live on Swapcard.
The digital version also featured exclusive content – including a panel of expert pundits hosted by ex-BBC presenter Declan Curry from a specially-built studio in a room next to the main auditorium. This was one of the most popular features of the show for digital viewers, who consumed an average of 49 minutes of this content.
The hybrid format delivered a 56% yoy increase in audience and a 43% yoy increase in revenues. There were nearly 550 messages on the Swapcard platform and 171 discussions. One digital attendee, Deborah Patten of Southwark council, said:‘With events like these we can all strive to have better data, inspire others to join the profession and to make a better future for everyone. Knowledge is everything’. Talking of which, Incisive Media now has its blueprint for hybrid events.
Institution for Engineering & Technology – E&T Innovation Awards
The IET’s E&T Innovation Awards has run for over 17yrs but was rebranded in 2021 alongside our award-winning magazine, E&T, to unleash a new beginning for an old event. Limited by Covid restrictions, we chose a hybrid strategy to reach our usual 350+ person event and reach a new global audience.
The in-person event was a VIP intimate affair for our Awards speakers, winners and Advisory Board made up of the most famous Engineering ambassadors. However the main goal was to bring it alive online.
The virtual event was akin to a TV show produced by our own IET.tv production team and our in-house event managers all streamed using the EventsAir platform. Online, 305 virtual guests tuned in from 21 countries including, Vietnam, China, Andorra and Mexico. Using social media to allow people at home to vote for the Young Pioneer Award, we saw 5,000 votes in the build up to the live event. This idea gave everyone (virtually or in-person)
an opportunity to have a say on the night. The event overall was a huge success achieving a fantastic Net Promoter Score (NPS) score of +40!
JLLive – RenewableUK Global Offshore Wind 2021
As a highly skilled technical production partner, JLLive was asked by RenewableUK to create a slick TV-style hybrid event of exceptional quality for both live and digital audiences for its annual flagship Global Offshore Wind (GOW) show in September 2021.
RenewableUK’s ambition was to deliver a stand-out, engaging and memorable event to bring its community together again. It wanted to reach members who were not able to make it to the event; and, as one of the leading renewable energy trade associations, creating a sustainable event was imperative. By returning to a live event after the hiatus caused the pandemic, the pressure was on JLLive to really blow expectations out of the water and it rose to the challenge.
JLLive used its expertise to push the boundaries of expectations and ensure it delivered RenewableUK’s vision to the audience of professionals, through stunning innovative AV and lighting.
The event was an incredible success, with record numbers of attendees across the whole exhibition, the showcase theatres and all conference rooms and side meetings. The show received over in-person 3,800 attendees across the two live days and feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
Net Natives – Think Student Live
Think Student Live 2021 was our first ever hybrid event, and we took this approach for a multitude of reasons. Our main objective was to ensure maximum event reach, engagement and attendance during an unpredictable and evolving landscape. Due to the Covid-19 situation, we knew people would be less likely to commit to an in-person event. We were also excited by the opportunities a hybrid event would create. Whether due to location, disability or preference, live events are not always suitable. By providing a seamless virtual option, we made this event accessible and inclusive to all.
We wanted this event to be integrated and to feel connected as one event. We achieved this through our online platform and app, where both physical and virtual audiences could view the agenda, interact through the chat function and ask questions that would be fed back to the panellists via a moderator. This gave both our audiences the same level of engagement and a feeling of connection, bringing delegates together to achieve a cohesive hybrid experience.
TXF – TXF Global Export & Project Finance
TXF Global Export & Project Finance was a membership-led hybrid event that married the best of what conference organisers learned during the pandemic with the best of what conference attendees missed during it. Its success is reflected in its financial performance, attendee engagement and qualitative feedback, and underpinned by an acknowledgement that event organisers cannot create the same experience for virtual and physical delegates, so should focus on an equal experience instead.
Through investment in high-quality AV equipment and streaming solutions and moving seamlessly between physical and virtual speakers and audience members, the hybrid format had a special feel that overcame “Zoom fatigue”. Moreover, all sessions were automatically transferred from “conference agenda” to “membership content”, bridging the gap between delegate and subscriber and adumbrating potential new business models for our sector.
Finally, in welcoming in virtual format those who were keen to participate but could not attend physically, TXF Global utilised the hybrid format to push an important agenda of inclusivity and accessibility. The organisers are confident that this presents a template for all of us who are keen to champion events as being a driver for the democratisation of industry information.