Our most popular articles of 2021: Expo fan favs!

We do our best to bring you the most up-to-date news, predictions, and happenings in the event world. 

But our favorite way to find out what’s going on with events is looking at which Expo articles people are reading the most! This year in-person and hybrid topics took up the top spots, along with ways to make virtual more fun. This tells that people can’t wait to go back to hybrid and in-person and that everyone wants to make their Zoom more interesting. That does sound like 2021 in a nutshell, doesn’t it? 

Keep reading for our most popular articles of 2021. All the Expo fan favs!

A woman on zoom being brodcast to an event stage where the host sits listening.

1) Hybrid is happening here’s what works

Our top article in 2021 was a brief rundown of our event: How to Hybrid: The Mysteries Unraveled

Not only did our panelists get us pumped about the future of hybrid events, all of their points turned out to be even more prescient now, almost a year later. From event production to sales to technology – our panelists saw how to make the most hybrid right from the start. 

One big idea that everyone touched on was that hybrid events are so much more than a combination of in-person and virtual. As Andréa Lyons – CEO and Executive Producer – All About Presentation put it, hybrid events are a “massive opportunity to expand your brand, to expand your engagement, to expand well beyond […] pre corona impact.”

We couldn’t agree more. Hybrid lets you think big in every way. You have the opportunity to connect with literally anyone in the world, all while providing a top-notch in-person experience. 

A good example of this was at C2 in Montreal, where keynotes speakers and attendees could appear virtually on stage, opposite the interviewer (pictured above). This format illustrated how easy it can be for anyone to participate in a hybrid event from anywhere in the world. We think this is a gamechanger for booking, marketing, and every part of event planning. 

For more tips from our amazing panelists, including Shakiera Helenic – Dual Director of Sales & Marketing – Sonesta Suites Scottsdale Gainey Ranch, Debra Mategrano – Regional Sales Director – Encore, and Lyndon Stewart – Managing Director – Catalyst Ranch, check out: Hybrid is happening: Here’s what works.

The New Yorker Festival GIF poster with a subway train moving, cars driving, a person playing the trumpet, a person playing chess, and a person reading. Blue, green, and red buildings are around the border.

2) Getting people excited about in-person events

Live events looked a little different this year. There were safety checks and smaller crowds, but we also saw tons of new ways to meet and have fun in person again. 

One thing that got people really excited about in-person was outdoor events. Not only is the outdoors the safest place to meet, but it also pulls people away from screens and computers, which is a huge draw these days.  

The New Yorker Festival, which had a mix of outdoor and virtual components, had its 2nd most profitable year ever. They fell just short of 2019, their in-person 20th-anniversary event. 

We also found “Fun” to be a good motivator for getting together in person. Mythic Quest, the Apple TV show about a fictional video game company, used their first day back in the office for a blowout LARPing party (Live Action Role Play).

The employees dressed up ready for a medieval battle and got plenty of that pent-up quarantine emotion out. It also showed that events don’t need to be about getting back to work just yet. They can be about having fun (since we missed out on some of that). 

Virtually networking is a good stepping stone for meeting in person. We are much more comfortable on Zoom and meeting in the virtual world. Organizers can tap into this and create virtual meet and greets so that everyone has some new friends before walking into the event.
For more, check out: Getting people excited about in-person events.

GIF showing how to use the Mmhmm app that allows you to be present next to your virtual presentations

3) One up your next virtual presentation

The era of simple PowerPoint is gone. Virtual presentations can now include live graphics, animation breaks, green screens, and even special guests if you need a boost. 

Mmhmm is a new app that helps you take center stage alongside your slides. You can stand next to pictures and graphs, point to them, mix up the backgrounds, and share it all on Zoom, Cisco Webex, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams.

Inkfactory (who we worked with for our hybrid event webinar), can draw your ideas as you say them. The process literally brings your ideas to life and can distill even the most complex ideas in images for visual learners to understand immediately. 

There’s also an app to turn your presentation into top-notch animations. Vyond can create characters that lip-sync to your voice, interact with each other, and do anything you need to tell your story. 

Another thing to consider is that a presentation app or tool is just one part of your presentation. The best way to stand out right now is to have big ideas. Everything changed in the last two years. Bold ideas will keep people listening and inspired about the future. 
For more, check out: Fun tech tools to one-up your next virtual presentation!

Circular photo of Hippocrates on a white and green background with the text: "Walking is human's best medicine" as well as the SPOT logo.

4) How to beat Zoom fatigue at your virtual and hybrid event

Zoom fatigue is real. We all know this. Luckily, Expo is here with a whole list of things you can do that are more productive and more fun than being in Zoom. 

Hands down, the best way to deal with Zoom fatigue is to go for a walk. And what do you know? There’s even an app to help you work while walking. 

Spot is a voice-only meeting app that lets you walk and talk, all while it takes written notes of your meeting. It has a simple interface that keeps track of calls, notes, and helps you link up with people who were on the call. 

Sometimes it’s also a good idea to inspire attendees to go out and make content on their own. Ireland did this for their virtual 2021 St. Patrick’s Day and created an entire event’s worth of content from Irelanders outside enjoying the day. 

Special guests can be another way to wake people from a Zoom sleep. Michelle Obama and Jimmy Fallon popped up on people’s screens to say hello during a random meeting. If you feel your virtual events may be dragging, book a fun cameo, people will love it! 

For more, check out: How to beat Zoom fatigue at your virtual and hybrid event

Gif of people hugging at an event, using the CLEAR pass at an airport, and walking out onto a sports field.

5) Top 6 tips for hosting an in-person event right now.

A bit more planning goes into in-person events right now. Travel can be tough, safety is huge, and hybrid can sound more complicated than it really is. These are our top tips for planning in-person events right now. 

Location is everything. If you want people to be there in person, you have to make it easy to get there. Try to pick a location where people will travel the least. Also, each city has different rules for events, so you’ll want to pick a place that works with your event’s health and safety guidelines. 

Use an app like Clear Health Pass that can safely and securely track everyone’s vaccine and covid testing information. Clear is the choice of stadiums, concert venues, and resorts around the country. It is one of the best tools for working large events. 

Do a practice run. You might be working with new technology, attendees may be rusty on the process, people might hang out and chat too long in line because they haven’t seen each other. It’s a lot of variables and you want to be ready for all of them. 

For more, check out: Top 6 tips for hosting an in-person event right now.

Gif of Sheldon from "the Big Bang Theory" wearing VR goggles and flinching and ripping them off his face.

6)  Hybrid is here! Here’s everything we’ve written about hybrid events.

Rounding out our top 6 articles this year was a breakdown of all our other hybrid articles. It’s a bit meta, but it makes sense given how much hybrid has changed the event scene.

It’s important to note that there isn’t one way to go hybrid. Hybrid just means a mix of virtual and in-person components. They don’t have to overlap. They don’t have to be on screens or in VR or super high tech.

Voice calls, podcasts, photo contests, art contests – these are all examples of hybrid components. It’s really all about creating ways for people to participate from anywhere.

For more, check out: Hybrid is here! Here’s everything we’ve written about hybrid events.

Our readers know what’s up. 

If there’s one thing we learned from looking through our most-read articles, it’s that our readers have a good eye for event trends. 

Hybrid was a big topic this year, and rightly so considering all of its potential. Getting back to In-person events was at the top of our minds and our readers’ as well. And most everyone is looking for less Zoom. We couldn’t agree more! 

Thanks for all the reads–see everyone in 2022!

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