With lingering concerns about Covid and an increased level of comfort with Zoom meetings, it won’t surprise anyone if hybrid events become a huge part of the venues business.
That’s fine, of course – it can reduce costs for customers, cut travel time and provide convenience. Many venues are also deploying the new breed of conference room booking software to help keep the organisation seamless.
But when your venue clients are deciding whether to send delegates in person or virtually, there are 5 benefits of visiting the venue that virtual attendance just can’t match.
- Good networking
- Presenting ideas
- Finding solutions to problems
- Personal visibility
- Expanding knowledge
1. Good networking
This is incredibly valuable, but also tremendously difficult to achieve in a virtual forum.
As one attendee from a virtual four-day conference said: “I’d hoped to find like-minded people from other organisations so we could share experiences, but because we were online there was no opportunity for the sort of informal chat that creates the space for that to happen.”
It’s what companies used to call water-cooler moments – the chance meetings that spark interaction and begin collaboration.
Forbes commentator Nick Morgan argues that our unconscious minds crave emotional connection, and need the stimulation and emotional engagement that face to face contact creates.
2. Presenting ideas
You can share your Powerpoint presentation via your screen – but are you really sure people are paying attention?
Presenting in person at an event allows you to engage with the audience in a direct way that virtual meetings does not. And you can be sure that your attendees have not just turned off a camera and wandered off to make a coffee.
Powerful presenters also get the opportunity to shine on stage, and the best can build a reputation that will help spread the word about their ideas.
3. Finding solutions to problems
It’s hard to be spontaneous online, and it’s even harder to encounter those magical moments of serendipity when a problem and a solution collide. Only face to face can see you circulating in the same room as the person who holds the key to your issue.
4. Personal visibility
Conferences and events are a marvellous opportunity to meet people – even the most important. Look at the power of the annual World Economic Forum at Davos, for instance, that brings together movers and shakers from business, government, academia and science who might otherwise never move in the same circles.
You might be a global CEO – or you could be a new starter. But if you attend an event personally you might make a connection that will benefit your business, your organisation or even your own career.
People have done well using to collaboration platforms such as Teams and Zoom, but face to face interaction can create the most potent communication because it allows better non-verbal understanding to develop.
5. Expanding knowledge
This is the superpower of conferences, bringing together a world of knowledge and expertise for sharing, all in one room – and it’s where conference room booking software can really provide assistance when getting the right people together.
Meeting other experts is great for personal development, and a company who sends a delegate in person can be sure they will come back more informed and energised because of connections they make at the event.
How venue booking software is powering the hybrid event revolution.
There’s no doubt about it – hybrid events create complexities for venues that they’ve never had to deal with before.
How to seamlessly combine the in-person event with the virtual one, for instance – and how to make it equally valuable and interesting for everyone.
When you add into the mix the lingering concerns people have about Covid, and the change of behaviours a long year and a half of closure have created, venues have a mountain to climb. And each venue knows it needs to be even more attractive than previously to stay ahead of competitors.
Those with good venue booking software are already ahead of the game. Integrated with CRM, they make it easy for customers to book the space they need easily online, 24/7, and free up time for their salespeople to provide great customer service by automating routine admin.
Many have implemented conference room booking software to provide extra convenience for customers who have become increasingly digital-savvy during the pandemic period, and it can really pay off for the venue.
Every element of the event or meeting is better organised with the help of the conference room booking software, from accurate catering to providing completely reliable and timely billing.
Venue staff can access the status of each event in real-time online at any time – no more outdated spreadsheets – and the venue booking software ensures a highly satisfactory customer experience is provided.
As venues work hard to rethink their businesses for the post-Covid world, they are moving into new areas such as providing flexible meeting space for organisations who are downsizing their offices thanks to agile working. It’s another level of complexity that can also be made easier with conference room booking software.
No-one seems to doubt that delegates will return in person to conferences and events – the 5 good reasons above mean face to face participation will always provide a valuable experience.
But creating an environment where delegates can also enjoy the same event virtually broadens your venue’s reach enormously, helping to build the brand and increasing the venue’s appeal to a wider range of customers.
As they say, every cloud has a silver lining. And while venues are still reeling from the nightmarish Covid months the most forward-thinking are seeing that opportunity lies ahead. Supported by the right conference room booking software, they are poised to make the most of it.
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