The pandemic had a huge impact on most industries in the world, but one of the most affected was the events industry. We had to learn to find a way to meet from afar, and many companies actually realized that this format could be more impactful and profitable long term. In fact, 93% plan to invest in virtual events moving forward. And with 76% of planners admitting they’ve never planned a hybrid event—now is your time to capitalize on that and become an expert they can rely on. So as an events business owner, how do you start pivoting your event business to the hybrid and virtual event space while still remaining profitable?
Today, we’re going to share a few tips and tricks for how to start. As we begin to look towards 2022, now is the perfect time to plan for your business!
Understand the Parallels
Let’s be honest, a lot of planners are Type A, love perfect organization, and we feel comfort knowing our tried and true planning timeline is in play. So, shifting your business to an entirely different world essentially can be insanely daunting.
Our number one tip is to get out of your own head before you get started.
Otherwise, you’re just going to end up getting in your own way.
Planning a virtual or hybrid event adopts the same exact principles as planning an in-person event. You need project management calendars—you have those. You’ll need a team in place you can trust—you’ve probably got that if you were operating in person.
Yes, your timelines may have to shift since virtual events tend to require a shorter planning timeline than in-person events. Yes, you’ll need to find a trustworthy tech guru who can be on your side while you learn the ins and outs of the virtual event space.
Oh, and an insider tip. Virtual and hybrid events can actually help save you staffing costs because you’re not paying for as many (or any) team member travel!
If you’re an established events business, you’ll likely have everything you need in place already. It’s just a matter of repurposing, educating yourself to apply your skills and expertise to a new format. But most of all, powering through the discomfort and unknown to become the virtual and events guru you know you can be!
Revise Your Services
Okay, now that the pep talk is through (mindset is EVERYTHING, guys!) it’s time to talk actionable tips and tricks.
The plus is as event professionals, we’re masters of pivoting—even before the pandemic. Our job is to find solutions to the seemingly impossible. This is exactly what you’re going to do when you transition your event business to serve hybrid and virtual event clients.
In-person events are coming back, so you can keep those options if you choose, but create another portfolio of services for planning virtual and hybrid events. You’ll want to have a virtual events service guide and a hybrid events service guide that break down the exact services you can help provide.
We recommend breaking it down into:
- Pre-event planning services
- Event execution
- Post-event follow-up support
This will show your clients that you’re able to fully support them throughout the entire event lifecycle. It could look something like this (But keep in mind this is just a high-level bullet point list to get you started with a few ideas. You can add, streamline, and beautify as you wish!):
Pre-Virtual Event Support
- Initial 60-minute consultation to determine event goals
- Sourcing virtual event platform that meets all requirements to achieve event goals
- Virtual event agenda development with virtual event speaker sourcing as required
- Virtual event speaker training
- Creation of full run-of-show document with responsibilities, timelines, etc.
- Pre-event video production for live streaming day-of-event
- Pre-virtual event tech check day
Virtual Event Execution
- Virtual support day-of-event or full moderation of the virtual event
- Logistics & audio-visual management
- Speaker presentation management
Post-Virtual Event Support
- Provide sponsors with relevant analytics for relationship building
- Post-event attendee and sponsor survey execution
- Lead post-mortem to level up future event strategies
Your hybrid offerings would be a combination of your existing in-person event services as well as the virtual services above. One thing to stress to your clients is you can help find them a venue that is set up seamlessly for hybrid event production, and you have the A/V team to make it happen seamlessly.
Reframe Your Marketing
If your website, your pitch deck, your services brochure are all focused on in-person events, you’re never going to land a virtual or hybrid client. You need to position yourself as an expert in the virtual and hybrid events space.
Come up with a catchy headline that speaks to your virtual expertise. Revise your website to speak to these new services. Then, hop on your social media platforms, wherever you have the most engagement, and start pivoting your event business by getting the word out. Marketing is enough for an entirely separate blog which we’ll tackle in the future!
Embrace Your Potential Growth & Get After It!
This is a simplified version of your new business plan to spark ideas and get you started. You’ve done this before; you built your in-person events business. Trust yourself, your capabilities, and know that you can do it again to serve virtual and hybrid event clients.
If you’re ready to put that passion and grit into your business to rise to the next level during this new era of events, we know you can do it!
If you want a little help pivoting your event business to the virtual and hybrid event space (from someone who has done it successfully), Alecia can help! Follow Alecia on Clubhouse at @aleciamay and join her for weekly chats on all things events. You’ll gain helpful insight and have the chance to connect with Alecia herself!