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AIM Group International reveal six steps to planning successful virtual and hybrid events

Congress, events and communication specialists, AIM Group International, have released a new whitepaper entitled: Virtual and Hybrid Events: a guide to success.

The whitepaper has been put together by Annalisa Ponchia, director of innovation and customer experience at AIM Group International in response to the 90 digital events the group has already organised this year. 

The group recognised that during the pandemic, many corporate and association clients had their first experience of a fully virtual event, often planning it in very short time frames. While the digital pivot is a necessity, in unprecedented circumstances, the need to become digital sometimes can pave the way for virtual events with little or no strategy and design, lack of creativity and professionalism.

This is something the AIM Group is keen to avoid and therefore produced the whitepaper to guide the successful creation of non-live events.

“The organisation of a virtual and hybrid event requires a ‘DCO’. This is a digital conference organiser, a team with specific knowledge and competences and the ability to offer strategic guidance on planning events with full or partial digital components,” Ponchia said.

In short, the paper outlines six steps planners need to follow before embarking on a new virtual or hybrid event. These are:

  1. Content FIRST. Linking the content with the right communication format and style should come first, adapting the tone of voice, session formats and tools.
  2. The Digital Event Team: strategic mind-set and tech skills. From the Digital Event Strategist to the Content & Resource Manager or the Digital Tools expert, there are several specialist skillsets and profiles that are needed for this kind of event.
  3. Digital platform and the best user experience: how to choose the most suitable solution? Whether it is a fully virtual event, a hybrid or multi-hub digital event, you must assess your needs first and then choose the right technical equipment and tools.
  4. Digital Sponsorship opportunities and Virtual Exhibitions. It is important to consider and find new ways to generate sponsor value and not simply replicate the ones used for in-presence events.
  5. The importance of Communication. A focused effort on communication is needed to gain attention, reliability and trust from your target audience and engage users throughout their journey before, during and after the event.
  6. Sustainable actions and CSR initiatives for virtual events. Online events can be much more environmentally sustainable than physical events, we must feature this and also look for opportunities to add CSR initiatives to leave a legacy on the community.

“Virtual is here to stay: online and hybrid meetings are expected to become an integral part of corporate and association meeting strategies, even when large in-presence events resume,” AIM Group International vice president Patrizia Semprebene Buongiorno said.

“Planning a virtual or hybrid event is much more complex than you would imagine. Mastering virtual is the first step, but it is also crucial to leverage online event strategies to create memorable and engaging hybrid experiences. Our teams are consulting clients to embrace the innovation and are fully committed to explore the new possibilities and find new, creative solutions.”