CATEGORY: Hybrid Events
SERVICES: Events Management
IMAS is the leading investment association in Singapore and plays a pivotal role in shaping Singapore’s asset management industry. This year’s conference, which was graced Senior Minister and Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, was themed “Stewarding Capital Towards New Horizons: Investing for a Greener Future” and Now Comms Asia was appointed to support a hybrid experience for attendees – packed with insightful keynotes, panel discussions, fireside chat, and 18 sponsor booths.
Hosting a hybrid event of this scale had its challenges as it was held during a time when Singapore was in the midst of easing the safe distancing measures. Most of the event restrictions were still being enforced and we had to adhere to the guidelines for the physical aspect of the event. Despite challenges, we saw over 190 attendees at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
From a logistical standpoint, physical attendees had to be split into 3 zones while food and beverages could not be served while the sessions were ongoing.
In addition, we were presented with the unique challenge of finding suitable timings to allow all the virtual speakers from all over the world dialing in from different time zones to rehearse the show’s flow. To note, this was IMAS first event where they integrated virtual elements so naturally, this brought up other challenges including searching for ways to seamlessly accommodate our virtual panelists with the live speakers, and obtaining licensing rights to host the event from the relevant governing officials. We also had to find ways to address the concerns of the sponsors – as some of them were unsure of the effectiveness of having a virtual booth without having the opportunity to network with leads/event attendees in a meaningful way.
We wanted to ensure the physical and virtual speakers had identical viewing experiences . The key point was to make sure that the different entities across IMAS were equally engaged and willing to stay throughout the entire conference . So we made each session appealing to the masses – including thought leadership and training sessions to appeal to all the attendees . These were part of our effort in increasing attendance, help IMAS gain organic leads , and building awareness among the investment industry while driving membership registration . To further incentivise he audience’s decision to attend the conference and finish the entire show, members who attended the conference were able to use this as part of their requirement to qualify for a subsidy for their IBF Investment Financial Training course.
To enhance sponsorship drive and to meet the expectations of the sponsors of the event, staffs from sponsorship companies could attend to any questions online on our platform via our network lounges enhanced sponsorship drives to create a strong networking opportunity – members had full access to this function. Event attendees also had full access to the sponsors’ virtual booths, which contained information and documents for people to navigate at their own convenience after every session to view videos, download whitepapers, and find out sponsors’ services. These items were uploaded on our platform by the sponsors and were readily downloadable for attendees. In addition, we enhanced the event’s interactivity and engagement levels by including gamification functions and reminding attendees of the prizes through our virtual environment, allowing physical attendees to use our VUE platform to interact directly with panelists, along with the convenience of accessing private networking lounges.
During registration, attendees had the option to “business match” with other companies in the platform. Attendees who had selected the same fields or “common interests” were then highlighted in a section on the platform, to facilitate better networking opportunities. Keeping the key objectives in mind, the point system for prizes was also implemented to make it even more engaging for audiences, both live and virtual, and this gamification also served to provide an assurance to sponsors that audience will be engaging with their virtual booths. A key thought process of ours was to seamlessly integrate virtual panelists with the physical speakers – such that the audience would feel as though the speakers were all present together in one room. To achieve this, we made sure that our LED screens were positioned in such a way that the virtual speakers were featured in an adequately sized panel beside the live speakers’ panels.
Pre-Event – We appointed members of our team to be in charge of the Safe Distancing Ambassadors and ensure that the event was compliant with their regulations without interrupting the show flow . This would prove to be the right move as the show went on without hiccups and ended 10 minutes earlier than scheduled. Our team also used our platform, Vue, for live streaming as well as to host the virtual environment for virtual attendees to stream the event and interact with other attendees along with sponsors . We were also involved in creating confirmation, reminder and post -event “thank you” emails/eDMs, and sending them out.
During Event – To stay compliant with the safe distancing rules, we had to setup queue poles, posters reminding guests of the safe distancing measures, dissect people to zones, and increase our manpower to enforce them. Our emcee was also briefed to provide constant reminders to ensure everyone abided by the rules – especially since the ambassadors plus Minister Tharman were in attendance. The team ensured a dazzling start to this event – creating a full LED animated film with compelling music, sound effects, and lighting to improve the entire atmosphere and keep spectators engrossed throughout the event. Above this, the size of the LED screen was expanded and draperies were added to make the venue more sophisticated for the event. Ample time was allocated for our virtual attendees to network as we recognised the challenge of networking remotely.
The emcee would also constantly remind our virtual attendees that they could utilise Vue’s capabilities to connect with others in their profession. Our production team was stationed at the console of the physical location and ensured the visuals displayed on the LED screen were on cue and all information was correct for corresponding segments. They kept a tight eye on the program’s progress and had to be fast and vigilant to adjust to changes rapidly while managing several screens and taking cues from different people. Similarly, we had staff on walkie-talkies to ensure that the event was flowing along as smoothly as possible – with production and stage managers managing the speakers and making certain they were properly briefed on what to do on stage.
Post-Event – We provided our client with vital statistics to track the event’s success percentage. We were able to gather information on how many attendees attended the event and the number of interactions between virtual participants and our nine sponsors using data acquired from both on -site and virtual performance. This assisted our client and sponsors in generating leads for future collaborations. On top of this, we also had the sessions recorded and placed as video-on-demand (VOD) on our platform so that users who are still interested in what was shared during the event can enjoy all the content.
This hybrid event required astute planning to ensure our bases for both virtual and physical aspects of the event were covered; to this end, we can confidently say it was a resounding success and truly cemented the scalability of our VUE platform. We ushered in over 665 unique logins on our virtual platform to view the plenary sessions across 17 countries around the globe. Meanwhile over at the Ritz Carlton Hotel for our physical event, 200 attendees entered the doors of the grand ballroom to sit in for the entire show. Not to mention, 69.05% of the registered virtual participants attended the event – which means the attrition rate of our event was comfortably above the market average of 35-40% of drop out rates for virtual related events.
Above all, there were a total of 18 virtual sponsor booths setup to showcase their companies and their respective information – the booths were visited over 1,600 times by attendees and their assets or relevant documents were downloaded by users over 2,760 times. All this just proves that we managed to bring necessary awareness and eyeballs for the sponsors, while information that they deemed important were absorbed and received by the event attendees. Finally, we can also safely say that the audience were sufficiently pleased with the levels of interaction they witnessed during the event – with a total number of 391 reactions expressed throughout the event. Attendees’ survey indicated how the event was “very professionally run and insightful.” along with the hybrid experience being a hugely positive one. Some of the audience also mentioned how the event featured “interesting topics, excellent speakers and an organized program overall”