Already a burgeoning industry, online real estate events truly came to the fore in 2020. What once served primarily global firms with employees and customers in far-flung countries has been, this past year, the only way for many companies to continue moving forward.
The result has been positive on the whole. Greater interest has enabled us to develop new solutions for a range of clients. Clients, many of whom feared the loss of face-to-face contact, have come to understand that digital events offer tools and advantages of their own, and can form part of their overall digital media strategy. In a world becoming ever more digital, and where many have learned it’s not a requirement to travel physically for every experience, we can now permanently incorporate these tools into our go-to-market strategies.
As with everything, however, there are good and bad ways to host real estate events online. We’ve all sat through a torturous conference with poor sound or a networking session that didn’t provide the opportunity for meaningful conversation. If you want to hold online real estate events with impact, here are three guiding principles as communicated to us by Matt Weihs, the Managing Director of Bench Events. His company has been a leader for over a decade in hosting and organising business conferences, and takes pride in hosting events that connect businesses to the right decision makers. Over the past year, their Bench Solutions division has really had a chance to shine, using high production standards and measurable digital marketing to transform physical networking events into digital ones.
Choose the right platform
An online event might not have the same objectives as a physical event. Before you begin, look at the tech available to you, and do the mental exercise of setting out priorities and goals. If you want to take an event online that has previously been offline, you won’t be able to cut and paste every element. As previously mentioned, digital offers a different experience and different tools.
Try to visualize participating. It will enable you to compartmentalise the experience and think about whether you want to focus on participant interaction, knowledge dissemination, or another objective. Once your goals are clear, you can look at the platforms available to you and choose the one that fits you best.
Deliver a native – and professional – digital experience
No matter how many offline events you have hosted, you shouldn’t assume you can deliver a digital experience of the same quality. Digital language is different from that of physical events, and you have to provide an experience that is native to the platform you are using. Expertise that you or your team may have in setting up conference rooms, lighting, preparing materials, or sound have totally different requirements in the digital sphere.
Moreover, customers’ and participants’ expectations have increased significantly this year. They are far less likely to tolerate real estate events that aren’t delivered to a high quality standard. If you can’t devote the time and you don’t have the required abilities in-house, find experienced professionals or a digital strategy consultant to help you.
Hybrids are here to stay
With the health crisis finally rounding a corner, we’re looking into this coming year with excitement. Many companies, with the expectation that at least some travel and physical contact can resume in the second half of 2021, are already planning face-to-face events.
But digital has really demonstrated its own advantages, and clients don’t want to lose these value-added experiences. As a result, online events are now becoming hybrid events in 2021. We will be able to leverage the power of physical connection while continuing to use digital tools. Creating online “productions”, in which you use studios and high-quality TV production to engage your audiences, can work both onsite and after. The creation of this digital content can enable your event to live far beyond the dates of the physical meet-up, and you can disseminate this content to a wider audience not able or not invited to attend your physical event. The possibilities in the world of real estate events have really opened up this year, adding a new suite of solutions to an already formidable offer. There is much to be learned from, even at a small scale, because the segmentation of digital audiences allows companies of every size to find platforms and tools that can work with their real estate innovation objectives.