Four Things to Consider When Planning for Omnichannel Events

April 20, 2021

Dave Weuthrich

Dave Wuethrich, Chief Operating Officer at Convention Data Services, has more than 20 years of experience providing client services, registration management, data cultivation and integrated solutions for show managers.

It’s all the buzz lately – hybrid or omnichannel events. Programs and mindsets continuously shift as planners begin to weave together a hybrid event strategy and relaunch in-person experiences. Here are four things to consider as you map out your hybrid planning:

Review Your Registration Standards

As part of the advance registration process, consider updating your terms and conditions to educate all attendees as to what protocols and behaviors will be enforced on-site. It is best practice to review any of your anticipated procedures for enforcement with your own legal counsel to ensure compliance. Areas you might want to consider including in advance registration terms and conditions may include: following all posted rules surrounding social distancing mask-wearing or prohibition of handshakes, etc. Clarity and increased communication will set expectations for attendees, amp up their confidence if participating in-person and lead to a smoother onsite execution. There is no such thing as overcommunication!

Give Your Footprint a Facelift

On-site operation changes and new protocols, like physical distancing and health screenings, will likely impact previous floor plans. Evaluate how you want people to move about onsite before you create your new layouts. You can set the stage for their journey to help you control density in each area.

Some things to consider: Will you establish traffic flows? Stagger entry times? Will you not allow entry without a wellness check? Will you set up a testing area? Will you move registration away from the convention center and sprinkle it throughout the host city?

Offer contactless onsite registration options like digital badges, print-from-home and self-serve badge pickup. These allow attendees to skip a registration area altogether. 

Keep an Eye on your Exhibitors

Most exhibitors will showcase their brands virtually and in person, so make it easy on them.  Ensure that they have one login to set up their virtual booth, even if you are using multiple systems. Also ensure that their lead data is stored in one area, regardless of if the leads were captured virtually or in-person.

Also, consider equipping them with a contactless way to share their company and product literature onsite. Attendees can self-serve scan a QR code in an exhibitor’s booth to collect the information they came to the show to gather while keeping a safe distance from exhibiting staff. Remember, exhibitor ROI is an integral factor in their repeat attendance at your event, so keep your eye on this group.

Use Data to Acquire Key Attendees

Planning for hybrid will redefine how we look at our year-over-year event data. Here are a few data sets you will want to look at as you develop your event marketing strategy:

  • Review attendance by geography:  An increase in distance to your in-person event may correlate with a decrease in attendance. Focus on marketing to registrants within a two-hour drive time to your convention center. Your local attendees could be your most important group for the time being. Consider teaming up with your convention center or city to provide parking passes for those driving in.   
  • Get to know your alumni: Like most events, attendance comprises a mix of first-time attendees and returning attendees. It is crucial you study and understand your alumni’s habits as you will need the attendance and participation to reach your attendance goals. Try surveying your alumni to gauge who is planning to attend in-person and virtual. Consider a no-fault cancellation policy for your in-person program, allowing your alumni a level of comfort that will hopefully lead to an early registration commitment.
  • Track top companies: Corporate travel policies have changed since the pandemic began and will continue to adjust as vaccinations and treatments enter the picture. Look at where your top companies are headquartered and reach out to learn their travel policy. Having a close relationship with key people at your top companies is sure to benefit you. Consider giving these top companies a break on their registration fee to encourage greater attendance. Big buyers are who your exhibitors want to meet!


Don’t miss any event-related news: Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter HERE and engage with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram!

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Dallas already boasts 35,000 hotel rooms, award-winning global cuisine, and a walkable downtown. But we are just getting started. Visit Dallas is thrilled to announce that the city of Dallas is doubling down with a massive new convention center and entertainment district. Featuring 800,000 square feet of exhibit area, 260,000 square feet of meeting rooms, and 170,000 square feet of ballroom. The center will connect business travelers with dining and shopping options in the popular Cedars District means more places to get down to business, and even more ways to unwind. “Dallas is already a great meetings and conventions destination, with the accessibility of two major airports, affordable labor, and an outstanding hotel product,” said D. Bradley Kent, Visit Dallas senior vice president and chief sales officer. “The new center and Convention Center District will enhance Dallas’ competitive position and are exactly what our customers’ need and have been asking for." What’s New – AT&T Discovery District Located in the heart of Downtown Dallas, this new district on the AT&T corporate campus is tailor-made for groups of all sizes. It boasts a multi-sensory experience, including outdoor event space, the AT&T Theater, and multiple dining outlets including JAXON Beer Garden and The Exchange, a bustling food hall. Hotels Coming Soon Names like the JW Marriott (Downtown), lnterContinental Dallas (Uptown), and Hotel Swexan (Uptown) are adding luxury amenities and bountiful event spaces. The projects will debut in 2023 and beyond. JW Marriott This new, 15-story, 283-room hotel will open in the heart of the city’s downtown Arts District this year. The property features a 25,000-square-foot grand ballroom, as well as a spa, restaurant, lobby bar, fitness center, and a rooftop pool deck and bar. InterContinental Dallas  Located in Cityplace Tower in Uptown, InterContinental Dallas will feature sweeping panoramic views of the Dallas skyline. Guests will enjoy spacious, high-end rooms and amenities, including more than 21,000 square feet of event space.   Hotel Swexan Hotel Swexan, a new, 22-story luxury property, is rising in Uptown’s Harwood District and will make its mark on the Dallas skyline. Opening this year, it is a sculptural building with cantilevered upper floors, as well as a 75-foot rooftop infinity-edge swimming pool and a hidden underground lounge.