RoundtableInsights (also referred to as RTI) community hosts corporate networking events such as round tables, conferences, and other events around the year focused on creating insights through conversations with global industry practitioners and exchange of knowledge between global peers.
Based in Amsterdam, they started in 2019 and have hosted several public events on globally relevant topics to connect their audiences and raise awareness. Their topics mainly focus on business strategies, personal and professional development, HR, entrepreneurship, new-age digital technology, innovation, and other future-defining aspects with people at its centre. In addition, they create a unique expert panel for every event topic and build valuable, actionable insights for their attendees.
‘Insightism’ is their monthly digital e-Magazine platform that shares new insights and is published alongside events hosted so that attendees can read their thought-provoking articles after attending an event. Ms Devyani Sen, the Co-Founder and CEO at RTI, is highly experienced in event management and business development. She shared her experience about their event on Airmeet.
Transitioning from physical to virtual events
Before the pandemic, RTI hosted in-person members-only roundtables every alternate month with 20 members to discuss globally trending topics with an expert panel and a moderate number of attendees. The events were planned a year in advance. They stuck to a couple of venues to start with but were forced to go digital just after a year in 2020.
Without the in-person events, they had to develop a digital solution that would appeal to a global audience.
When asked what the major challenges they faced were, Devyani said, “We had always conducted zoom call meetings. So, we stuck to the same platform and tried to host an event with 30 members. With Zoom meetings, conferences were not possible as it would be a closed meeting with zero audience/viewer interaction. Plus, if you run zoom as a webinar, you can’t have breakout sessions, and hosting a meeting with 100 people would not make sense either.”
All in all, they knew they had to find a more life-like virtual platform. Simeon Radev, Event Producer & Consultant at RTI, mentioned, “We were looking at what was available in the market, all kinds of platforms, pricing, and functions, but we stopped at Airmeet’s social webinar plan because it best fit our format.”
Challenges (And Solutions)
Challenge : Finding a platform that allowed comprehensive planning & options for dry runs
When Devyani and the team planned in-person events, the process started from creating at least a couple of layouts for the event. They researched globally trending topics and interviewed their members for curating the topics. They would then socialize and discuss the various themes internally before deciding which topics to put forward as event themes.
The RTI management would then reach out to speakers and panelists best suited for the topics. When they finally had the event planned out, they executed multiple dry runs at the venues to check its efficacy and made necessary modifications.
After the pandemic, they needed a platform that could closely replicate the same strategy for planning online events without spending a fortune. And Airmeet came to their rescue with the following advantage:
Product Demos: Airmeet is one of the few, if not the only virtual event platforms that offer full-fledged demos and walk-throughs of all the features one can utilize to create a life-like engagement experience during an event. The RTI team got thorough demos until they were satisfied with the platform’s ease of usability and interactive functions. These demos worked like rehearsals for visualizing their upcoming events before they invested in the platform.
Challenge: Seamless networking experience & audience engagement for day-long events
The essence of conducting roundtables was to offer a space for open networking. The member attendees of every RoundtableInsights event cherished this opportunity to connect and enhance their knowledge of trending topics with some of the top industry experts.
RTI wanted to host day-long virtual events going on from 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM (CET). The events would start with Devyani’s address and an hour-long roundtable. After the attendees had gotten comfortable and engrossed in the topics, the event went on for 7-8 sessions that included Speaker sessions of 30-40 minutes each as well as a 60-90 minute Workshop and another Roundtable at the end of the day. The breakout sessions were strategically placed between the discussions to allow some refreshing chats and small talk.
But their initial experience with virtual events failed to achieve the essential aspects of a successful event, which, according to Devyani, were:
- Smooth conversations without any glitches and interruptions
- A “visual” interaction between the speakers and attendees
- A “visual” interaction among the attendees
- Being able to have breakout sessions where attendees can group up
- Being able to go live on other social platforms
Airmeet, however, passed these criteria with flying colours through its following functionalities:
Unparalleled video quality: Users throughout the world appreciate the video quality of Airmeet. The seamless video processing on Airmeet allowed live viewing of hundreds of screens with minimal delay and next to no glitches. It significantly helped RTI during deep-diving panel discussions, which were the highlight of their events.
Live stage: The live stage set-up recreated a live hosting experience as good as a real-life event, allowing attendees to focus on individual speakers as they presented. As speakers could also call attendees on the stage, it maintained the excitement and attention among the attendees during long sessions. Simeon specifically appreciated the ability to present a PDF within a discussion in the stage area.
Social Tables: The most beneficial and loved aspect of Airmeet in the RTI community was the social lounge. It seamlessly replicated their roundtable event with labelled private virtual tables. All the attendees could easily jump in and out of conversations and share their opinions through video chat or private text chat. Apart from roundtables, the social lounge was also active during breakout sessions, when attendees grouped up for exchanging their perspectives on recent sessions. Devyani shared her observation on the tables, saying, “It really helped in building up the interactions. And since we’re focusing on building a community, it helps a lot for that as well.”
Live streaming: RTI live-streamed their events on YouTube to allow its members to view the event from their platform of choice. Though most members attended the event through Airmeet, this flexibility allowed them to view the event even if they weren’t able to join.
Challenge: Quick support to ensure a glitch-free experience for the audience
On-demand support was as crucial a factor for Devyani as the video quality. Primarily because the events were paid and were conducted for high profile professionals in their industry. Though potential technical issues are inevitable, having a quick-action team would reduce the stress to a great extent.
Support Lounge: Airmeet outperforms every other competitor in the support aspect by offering a live full-time support team during every event at the support lounge. As a result, Simeon could easily hop into a support table and get his queries resolved without any wait in the event.
He even mentioned an account of such an incident when one of the events started with a technical glitch 7 minutes before going live, which was a browser error. But the support team responded quickly and got the issue fixed. “I addressed the issue of the server error (to the support lounge), and everything was fine in five minutes, which was a minute before the event,” Simeon said, explaining his interaction with the support team.
They highly commended the fact that the support team just did not give up until a solution was found. Simeon continued, “It’s not just one person looking at an issue; they keep adding members to look at an issue from different perspectives and get it solved, which is great.”
RTI now knows how to engage their attendees through Airmeet and have hosted several successful events. The best event they had was when the people stuck around for more than four sessions out of 7, which was more than half a day.
RTI has an event coming up in October which is a day-long event. Other than these they are planning on running smaller 2-hour roundtables in August and September.
Devyani explained that roundtables traditionally work best when the members meet in person. The sole purpose of their business strategy was to bring like-minded people together to a place where they could discuss and develop valuable insights. But when asked how she would prefer conducting their events post COVID, Devyani said, “ I would not do away with the virtual format for sure. I will continue doing the day-long conferences online. And I would prefer doing physical events for localized networking.”
Airmeet has transformed her perspective towards conducting productive virtual events in the future. Want to experience this transformation for yourself? Book your demo oday and get a thorough walkthrough of our virtual platform and its many use cases