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Attendees Will Pay for Good Content at Hybrid Events, Panel Says

Content is king for virtual and hybrid events, says an expert panel—so much so that attendees will pay for it.

Content is king for virtual and hybrid events, says an expert panel—so much so that attendees will pay for it. PCMA shared the secrets of success at hybrid events:

“When planning a hybrid and digital event, your content is the key to its success, panelists agreed during The Hague Convention Bureau’s first hybrid webinar. The panel members--a corporate planner, two association planners, a meeting-design expert, and a hotel executive — discussed the viability of hybrid events.

While the session covered a variety of areas, including the logistical challenges of conducting hybrid meetings and who should pay for health and safety costs at live venues, panelists often returned to a key point in their discussion--that content, how you conceive it, present it and collect data about it--will do the most to maximize attendance and revenue and to deliver ROI to attendees and sponsors.

“Audiences are willing to pay for quality content,” said Kim Myhre, CEO and managing partner at Experience Designed. “Up to this point, we’ve been lazy. We’ve had live events and we haven’t really had to learn these new skills and invest in these new technologies.” As organizers and associations “play catch-up,” he said, attendees are willing to forgive missteps “but that won’t last forever.”

Carin Smand, executive director of the European Hematology Association (EHA, who during the crisis had to transition the 25th EHA Congress into a digital event, said a lot of lessons have been learned over the past several months. As the pandemic continues, she said, so too do the challenges organizers face. The hybrid meeting model is the best way forward, she said, at least until attendee trust in traveling and meeting in person safely has been restored.

“The biggest lesson I’ve learned it that you need to be flexible,” she said. “You need to anticipate changing circumstances. Even if you plan a hybrid meeting, you need to make choices that will enable you to move to fully virtual event.”

The other big lesson she has learned is that virtual events reach a much larger audience than do live events, but she did have some advice for achieving that growth: Schedule smartly and limit the number of live sessions” …. PCMA

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