Just because hospitality events have become mostly virtual doesn’t mean they have to be boring or hard to execute. On February 4th, we hosted our monthly Hospitality Talks webinar with Pilar Navarro Muñoz, Business Events Professor at EUROAULA. In this article, we will share Pilar’s tips on executing successful virtual events with technology. Watch the webinar replay to hear Pilar’s insights, or read the summary below for key information (only available in English).
First, we describe how to set event objectives, followed by KPIs. We then look at understanding your target group and pairing a platform with your hospitality event. Next, we explain how to choose the perfect host/master of ceremony, choose a venue and present your team to the audience. Lastly, we cover how to market, promote and monetise your virtual hospitality event.
Setting Event Objectives
Before planning your virtual event, it is crucial to set an objective, such as:
- Brand awareness: Are you looking to be known by all people in your audience or targeting a niche market?
- Content: which content do you want to share? How will you make yourself stand out for this type of content?
- Networking linked to leads: Do you want to gain email addresses to network with people after these events so that you can stay in touch with them?
Setting Event’s KPIs
Once you have determined your event objectives, you can set KPIs for them. These KPIs consist of:
- Engagement: How many people do you want to keep engaged during the event? Using live polls or quizzes through Mentimeter can be great for driving engagement. Another method is through giveaways that are tied to your hospitality event.
- Retention: How many people do you aim to keep online during the entire event?
- Net promoter score: How many attendees of the event promote it to their network? Ideally, you want this to be high, as customers rely on reviews.
- Attendees: The idea is to build loyalty among the attendees. If they attend once, how many will participate next time?
- Qualified leads: Which segment must show up to your events and bring you leads?
- Social media mentions: How many social media mentions are you targeting and on which platform(s)?
- Traffic to the website: How much traffic are you looking to generate to your website? Optimising your website with SEO can significantly help.
- Interaction: Are you letting people ask questions and answering their queries during/after the event? Interactions also drive engagement.
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6 Steps to Virtual Hospitality Events
Planning the event is easy with the following six steps:
1. Understand your target audience
The interests and consumption of a virtual audience differ from a live audience. Online, people are more interested in accumulating knowledge and learning something new. Hence, virtual events require other logistics i.e., ticketing, platform, and value creation. Surveys and discussion forums are great for collecting audience data.
2. Pair the format with the event
Each virtual event must be tied into an objective to stand out from competitors. A webinar where an industry expert shares their experience might do well with a screen sharing on Zoom. A virtual wine tasting event, however, will require a different format altogether. Hence, tying in your event to an objective is the best way to choose its format.
There is a choice galore with platforms like Periscope, Facebook Livestream, LinkedIn Live and YouTube Live. Getting comfortable with the platform before going live is recommended and paying for the full (enterprise) version. In general, a good platform should allow you to access and interact with a large audience simultaneously.
3. Choose a host/master of ceremony
Both a professional speaker or an in-house staff member can host your event. Ideally, they must be camera confident, renowned for that specific content, tech-savvy and relatable to the audience. They should also be a strong communicator and build a virtual rapport with the audience and deliver what you desire.
4. Market and promote
Instagram or Snapchat can be used to pique curiosity and market your event, and you can use your newsletter to email subscribers about the event link and details. LinkedIn, Twitter or TikTok also work well for promoting events all year round to drive engagement. Remember to promote on social media platforms based on your niche audience and use the right hashtags to attract them to your virtual hospitality event.
5. Choose a venue, time and date
The event’s location will significantly influence the lighting, sound and ambience of the event. Remember to focus on your speakers so that the audience sees them. Be mindful of seating arrangements, the lighting and décor. Carefully consider what time you intend to host this event to cater to different time zones.
6. Choose and introduce your team
Choose the team members to help you with the event and present them to the audience, especially those backstage that helped plan and execute the event. A slide with pictures and designations can do enough justice.
Monetising Your Virtual Hospitality Event
The idea behind each virtual event should be to create value in terms of payment for you as the organiser and event value for the customer. These two outcomes need to be simultaneous and can be done through:
- Sponsoring from brands: When you host a webinar for the hospitality industry, e.g., you can involve hotel brands for speaking at the event. By allowing them to speak about their brand through storytelling, branded waiting rooms or sponsor messages, they can create brand awareness for themselves. On the other hand, you, as an organiser, can monetise sponsoring packages to generate revenue.
- Ticketing for customers: A standard way of generating income through virtual events is through ticketing. The audience will pay for the value that you create through the event. Sponsoring and ticketing result in a cyclical method for revenue generation (see graph)
→ Feeling inspired to work in event management roles? Watch this exclusive interview with the InterContinental Geneva’s MICE & Events Sales Director, or apply to global jobs in event management through Hosco’s unique platform today!
Established in 1987, EUROAULA, University School, specializes in providing training in the Travel & Tourism industry. Since 1997, it has been affiliated with the University of Girona (UdG), with a recognized Bachelor’s degree in Tourism. In addition, it also offers a Master’s degree and postgraduate courses through the University of Girona Foundation, and its postgraduate courses in Tourism are fully recognized.
About Pilar Navarro Muñoz
Business Events Professor, EUROAULA
Pilar is a professional with more than 25 years in the sector dedicated to managing business projects. Specialized in market structuring, she develops her professional activity at Feria de Barcelona as Director of the Life Sciences and Chemistry Business Unit. Master’s in business management in the new knowledge society, graduated in audio-visual communication, advertising, public relations, international trade, tourism, and PDD from IESE.