The theme for this year’s IBTM World Barcelona is “New Business, New Tech, New World” and the event has been expertly designed to provide attendees with the insights and knowledge they need to recover and grow in 2022 and beyond. We caught up with Matthew Allen, Managing Director, CrowdComms, a hybrid and virtual events platform, to learn about the latest event technology trends and planner behaviour in the marketplace ahead of his presentation at IBTM World in Barcelona.

What are the top three technology trends you’ve seen emerging in the last two years that are impacting the world of events today?

We’ve all experienced the shockwave that hit the industry over the last two years which resulted in the huge shift from in-person to virtual and hybrid events. Adaptable tech solutions have reshaped themselves to the changing event landscape and evolved into multi-faceted and flexible products.

Engaging and well-planned content has always been the backbone of successful events and is even more important now that we are seeing a high percentage of virtual attendees. Alongside that, security, sustainability, and scalability are the three top recent developments.

A fully online event holds much more content and delegate information, which needs to be protected. Understandably, clients want to be reassured that their chosen platform meets the top security requirements. Similarly, due to the increased volume of online content and the numbers of attendees needing access, being able to cope with demands of scale is a must. Finally, we’ve seen a recognition of the benefits of a virtual or hybrid model in terms of sustainability. Not only are event organisers able to choose how they wish to deliver events but they can start to take environmental impact into account.

What have been some of the more requested tools and services by event organisers, that is gamification, livestreaming, polling, etcetera? Why do you think these have been in high demand in the post-pandemic world?

The emergence of chat to simulate more of what you would experience in a physical event capacity has been a high priority for attendees. In a remote scenario, people want to feel more connected and play a more active part in the streamed event, to make up for the lack of in-person interaction.

We all know the feeling of speaking to an audience in an online room and the hollow atmosphere that can arise through the absence of natural noise and feedback from attendees. A slick Q&A capability has become a core focus for all speakers, to allow dialogue to flow easily and create more of a buzz.

Networking has been one of the biggest challenges of virtual events. Thousands of attendees all attending alone. Lots of our clients have been looking to us to find a solution that can help them facilitate better networking and connection opportunities for attendees and sponsors. This has been an area of particular focus for our R&D team over the last 12 months and we’ll have some exciting news to share on this before the end of the year.

What are some of the tools/technologies you recommend to organisers when the goal is to increase pre, during and post event engagement?

Gamification has been a big focus across the lifecycle of virtual and hybrid events – we want to incentivise attendees to log in before the event, to complete their profiles, engage with sponsors, complete post-event surveys and more. The key is to ensure that gamification is closely tied to specific event objectives, ensuring every incentive has a purpose.

Pre-show, we advise sharing content ahead of the event, a video library for example. Give people teasers and a taste of what’s to come. It’s a great idea to open networking early and encourage people to start making connections.

During the event, the content must be at the forefront of everyone’s attention. It’s a balance between encouraging engagement and not letting it become a distraction.

Post-event tools are all about quantifying success. Using comprehensive analytics, speaker and attendee evaluations and surveys, you can gain the data needed to inform your next event. It’s always worthwhile to specify what you want the next action for your attendee to be; direct them towards on-demand content or get them excited about your next event. Whatever it may be, it needs to be purposeful and leave your attendees feeling included and valued.

To find out more about Matthew’s session, taking place on Wednesday, 1 December 2021, or to register, please click here.

CrowdComms is the official partner for this year’s IBTM World app, which attendees can download in advance to organise their diaries, navigate and curate their favourite education sessions, and get the most out of participating. Download the IBTM World 2021 app here.