While hybrid events provide much-needed flexibility in an uncertain world, they’ve also created a new challenge for event planners and organizers. Now that attendees have the option of enjoying events from the comfort of their homes, planners must work even harder to make in-person events attractive.
The cost of travel, changing COVID restrictions, and the potential risk that comes with exposure to large crowds have all combined to make large events in exotic locations far less appealing to both organizers and attendees. While large events are still possible currently, they come with a lot of complications. This has led forward-thinking planners to embrace smaller, more exclusive events and unique “micro-experiences.” The shift has been well-received, making it likely that micro-experiences are here to stay.
What is a Micro-Experience?
Before diving into the details of how to make this strategy work for you, it’s helpful to explain exactly what we mean by “micro-experience.” In simple terms, this is a small, intimate, and hyper-personalized event that is either a stand-alone affair or an offshoot of a larger event. Micro-experiences often have a luxury feel, taking the “boutique” events of the past to a whole new level.
The Benefits of Micro-Experiences
The general consensus is that holding smaller outdoor events is a key to reducing airborne transmission risks. This makes them more appealing to attendees who are hesitant to go out into larger crowds right now. However, it’s important to remember that managing fear is not the same as creating value.
While fewer attendees may mean fewer risks, many may worry that it also means fewer opportunities to network and create new business opportunities. To overcome this concern, planners must make lower attendance numbers a selling point rather than a drawback. Luckily, this is easy to do. Aside from the potential health and logistical benefits of restricting crowd size during a pandemic, there are many other advantages of incorporating micro-experiences into your events.
While lower attendance numbers may mean attendees make fewer connections, they also focus on quality rather than quantity. A more intimate environment fosters a greater engagement with both the brand and with each other. It also allows attendees to feel like an integral part of the event, rather than just a number.
Working on a much smaller scale allows you to create unique experiences that audiences otherwise could not access. In addition, customizing every possible aspect of your event gives you the ability to appeal to a particular niche audience, fostering deeper engagement and increasing brand loyalty.
3 Successful Types of Micro-Experiences
What type of micro-experiences are the most effective? Event organizers are currently finding incredible success with exclusive luxury experiences, personal development and team-building activities, and wellness excursions. Let’s take a closer look at each.
1. Exclusive Luxury Events
Offering exclusive, one-of-a-kind luxury experiences is one of the most effective ways to attract event attendees. From an open-air adventure on a private yacht to an event held “backstage” in an otherwise restricted area, the key to success lies in offering a truly unique and fully immersive experience.
Limiting an event to 100 or fewer participants and including perks like live musical performances and private catering increases the appeal, particularly for attendees who have been cooped up at home for the majority of the past two years. It’s also relatively simple to incorporate a virtual audience into this type of micro-experience, allowing you to keep the in-person event intimate while also selling more tickets and attracting potential sponsorships.
2. Personal Development and Teambuilding
With smaller crowds comes the ability to offer hands-on workshops, intimate team-building activities, and other opportunities to focus on personal development. When planning these types of micro-experiences, it’s important to give attendees the VIP treatment. For example, you can turn a series of outdoor team-building games into a truly memorable experience by following it with a catered dinner on the beach and a bonfire.
3. Wellness Getaways
Many corporate events are information-heavy, making it essential to provide opportunities to briefly step away without completely checking out. Incorporating micro-experiences designed to help attendees relax and unwind will help make the overall more enjoyable and memorable.
Incorporating activities like yoga and meditation sessions will give attendees the break they need so they can come back refreshed and ready to re-engage. Most venues can also easily set up the necessary equipment to record these sessions and broadcast them to your virtual audience as well.
Personalization is Key
Limiting the size of an event does not automatically turn it into a micro-experience. If you want to create something truly memorable, you must take personalization to a whole new level. Offering highly customized experiences will help you connect with your audience faster and more deeply by showing that you understand and care about their individual needs.
Throughout every element of the event, ask yourself how you can create more choices for attendees. This could be anything from using movable furniture to allow guests to make their own seating arrangements to giving attendees a wealth of session options to choose from throughout the day.
For hybrid events, it’s essential to customize the digital side as well. From choosing the way the text scrolls on the screen to offering a choice of uniquely branded cursors, there are many ways for virtual attendees to enjoy a highly personal experience. For both in-person and virtual attendees, look for ways to offer curated suggestions. Show them how they can customize the way they interact in the moment and provide personalized ideas for things they may enjoy doing between sessions.
Prepare for the Events of the Future
All signs point to it being the perfect time to take a step back from huge events and focus on creating highly personalized micro-experiences. While planning hybrid events, it’s also important to create an incredible in-person experience while providing an equally unique virtual experience. Doing so isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it.
eShow can show you how to create incredibly memorable micro-experiences that skyrocket your event engagement. From a full-featured virtual event management platform to gamification and travel management, we offer a comprehensive solution for all of your event planning needs. Contact us today to schedule a free demo!