The Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) has successfully produced its first hybrid event after being verified a Digital Event Center™ by the Virtual Edge Institute® (VEI). Dx3, an exposition for the digital marketing, advertising and retailing industries, took advantage of the single-source hybrid event package offered by the MTCC to launch its first hybrid event.
“We had talked about adding a hybrid component to our event last year, but we worried about the costs, and we didn’t really have the resources to plan and manage the whole process,” says Duncan Payne, president of Dx3. “But this package program made it all doable. There was very little effort on our part, and we’re pleased with the results.”
The Digital Event Center program was developed as a result of research that showed many event professionals are interested in adding hybrid extensions to their events, but are unsure how to proceed. “This program offers organizers a simple solution with a set price and agreed-upon features and scope,” explains VEI executive director, Michael Doyle. “The convention center does most of the heavy lifting.”
Dx3 had two primary goals for its one-day hybrid event: to encourage those in the Toronto area to visit the event physically on the second day; and to draw a remote audience from outside Toronto. The result? Forty-six percent of digital attendees were from outside Toronto (compared to five percent of the physical audience); and 12 percent of those who participated in the day one hybrid, visited the physical event at MTCC on day two.
“We became a Digital Event Center because we know hybrid events are a growing aspect of our industry,” says Barry Smith, president & CEO, Metro Toronto Convention Centre. “We want to be sure we have the technical infrastructure and expertise in-house to help our customers be successful. What this pilot event taught us is that virtual events are very different than physical, and they require a different set of skills to be successful, including pre-planning, strong communications and an attention to the digital engagement. Without the pilot, we would have underestimated these aspects.”