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Participant experience design — moving from the old to new event world

One of the presentations that highly inspired me to think differently about event design took place in 2019 at the MICE Forum at ITB Berlin (Organised by VDVO). Even after all these years, and a pandemic in between, these principles remain extremely important when we want to create a seamless attendee experience at events, be it live, virtual or hybrid, and put the human in the centre. I want to re-share this article that I wrote back in 2019 and was initially published on VDVO website, because the principles of event design remain the same, the human is in the centre of every experience that we want to design for our events and technology should enhance this experience, and not replace it.

In 2019 the ITB MICE Forum theme was ‘The Human Factor’. The conference programme was designed to highlight the importance of the individual who is the centre of every live event. In the connected world we live in today, the personal needs of each attendee have become even more important, and technology should enhance this experience, and not replace it. One of the talks that impressed me the most was ‘Participant experience design – how do we create meetings which move people more deeply?’ given by Felix Rundel, Co-founder, futurehain (at the time of the presentation Executive Director of Falling Walls).

Confident planning strategies for the return of incentive travel 

Incentives are the most exciting part of the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibition) business. The most vivid pre-COVID memories that I have of incentive trips are from experiencing destinations where I got to know their hidden gems, interact with locals and learn about their craft or their culture, and network with other participants. Memories and experiences that are created at a destination outlive any other type or event and experience; for me at least. 

The return of incentive travel has given clients the opportunity to book these trips with confidence. I had the pleasure of interviewing an industry leader who specialises in incentive travel and has a wide portfolio of national and international customers – Silvia Ganser, Director of Frankfurt-based 42 Incentives (which is part of the VOK DAMS Group). The past two years haven’t been easy for 42 Incentives and for many other companies in the events business. And now with live events returning and many companies rescheduling events which had been postponed in 2020, 2021 and 2022, and planning for 2023, this timely interview focuses on providing tips on how to plan an incentive trip with confidence, and with safety protocols built into it. The interview took place in Bern at Hotel Kreuz, and Silvia joined remotely from Frankfurt. 

Back to LIVE and the road ahead

Good news for the events industry – live events are back, as most countries no longer have strict COVID-19 restrictions. Event planners who have been out of work for two years can now be back on the road doing what they love and taking their creativity to the next level.

Two years of pandemic restrictions have taught the events industry that it’s resilient. Returning to live events in 2022 requires rethinking and adjusting old practices, and in this interview with Colja Dams, CEO and owner at VOK DAMS and Natasha Russell, Event Director at NR Events, I asked what’s different now and what companies should know and consider when returning to in person events, and whether there’s still room for virtual and hybrid event formats. 

Natasha and Colja are based in the UK and Germany respectively, and it was important to hear the different perspectives on how ready the markets are for live events. 

Actionable strategies to boost association membership 

During the pandemic, many associations have been able to attract new members and find novel ways to engage and retain them. The barriers to attending events, learning and networking have been lowered thanks to the virtual and hybrid event solutions available. With these new tools and knowledge base at their fingertips, association event planners can truly excel at delivering events in 2022 and beyond.

Secrets to Engaging and Retaining Members, a recent event by Hubilo, shared best practices with its industry associations attendees to help them increase member engagement and retention. Attendees heard from speakers from two major associations, the PCMA and National Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Association. The insights from this event will be summarised in this post. 

How to Increase Employee Engagement in a Hybrid World | SUBMERGE by HUBILO

The Great Resignation is a trend caused by the pandemic where employees are voluntarily leaving their employers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, four million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021. The reasons for the resignations vary, and include, according to a Harvard Business Review article, career stage, industry, work preference, lack of a DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion)-focused approach and burnout. 

The latest SUBMERGE event by Hubilo on 17 November 2021 provided key insights into topics (e.g., Diversity and Inclusivity in a Hybrid World and Elevating Employee Engagement in a Hybrid Workplace) that drive the great resignation, which companies should improve upon to retain employees. During this event, Hubilo included sign language translation and closed captions, setting an example for all virtual and hybrid events. The event was expertly moderated by Rachel Moore, Director of Community and Social Media at Hubilo.