When Convene asked respondents to the latest COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard Survey if they were satisfied with tech solutions for digital meetings, more than half — 61 percent — said yes.
Of those who said they were satisfied in the Aug. 17-20 survey, the overwhelming majority reported combining at least two or more platforms to produce online events. Respondents are using more than two dozen event technology platforms — a large portion are using Zoom as one of the components. Some reported deliberately keeping it simple by using a familiar webinar platform, while others reported using as many as five platforms.
Finding one platform with the ability to perform all of the functions that planners are looking for was one of the most common reasons given by the 39 percent who said they were not satisfied with event technology. “We are still in the beginning phases of planning our larger event,” wrote one, “but [are] finding that there isn’t one platform that really checks all the boxes for us.” Both groups expressed the need for a more seamless experience in the form of a one-stop solution. “There needs to be a virtual event platform that integrates —not links out — to other platforms besides Zoom,” one wrote.
Price was another often-mentioned factor, with some speculating that the current demand was driving costs upwards. The cost of the platform “is still driving what is possible,” wrote one respondent. “Good ones are too expensive for my clients so, as such, they agree to accept a poorer virtual event.” “I haven’t found a platform with integrated streaming that’s anywhere near affordable,” another wrote, continuing: “There are plenty of apps that have web platforms, but streaming isn’t integrated yet. The price goes from a few thousand for those apps up to $20K or more for integration. There’s a hole in the market for $6K to $10k solutions.”
Many planners reported that their expectations for event technology, both in areas of functionality and customer support, were not currently being met. “There’s not enough customizability in the off-the-shelf platform we have,” one wrote. “We need better functionality to host multi-session, half-day events with many speakers and panelists.” It’s time for a more seamless experience and higher quality, wrote one. “We are now all past the newness and need better solutions.”
One need multiple respondents expressed is improvements in ways that allow connections between event participants, as well as between attendees and exhibitors, to be made. Sample comments include: “The networking option in tools today is very basic.” “We haven’t been able to replace the social aspect of our in-person events in a virtual format.” “Want match-making technology on a budget.”
One respondent added the caveat that the technology was as yet untested: “We are still in the planning process and not executing for a few more months.” Finding a platform, the respondent added, “has been the most difficult [part of planning].”
More Planner Comments
- “No platform offers everything. Each one is missing an element for our clients.”
- “Platforms are too busy/overloaded.”
- “Zoom is good for our current events, but seeking something more for future larger events. May also be seeking a hybrid option.”
- “[Need] straightforward pricing — it’s becoming a major impediment to selecting a partner.”
- “New to the hybrid option, so looking for a platform.”
- “[Need] cost-effective tool for offering a virtual component for smaller meetings (collaborative instead of speakers).”