Creating New Connections at TechCrunch Tokyo

Organizer:   TechCrunch Japan

Event type:   Conference

Event format:   In-Person # of attendees:   Not Disclosed

Event Format In-Person

# of attendees Not Disclosed

It was 2019 and it was once again time for TechCrunch Tokyo, this year held at Shibuya Hikarie from November 14-15.  They again chose EventHub to drive better engagement at their event.

Last year, they used the beta version of EventHub’s attendee networking tools called “CommunityHub”, and based on the positive feedback choose to adopt the latest version which had been integrated into the EventHub platform, which had been upgraded in both functionality and design.  As a result, the event was a great success with even more attendee breakout meetings than the previous year.

3 times more than last year! Over 1,000 attendee meet-ups were conducted during the conference.

Based on feedback and learnings from our customer’s use of the “CommunityHub”, we released the newest version of our product in July of this year. As a result, this year’s TechCrunch Tokyo achieved just about 3 times the number of meetups compared to last year.

Over the two-day event, a total of about 900 meetups (15-minute breakout sessions between attendees) were conducted. The five tables we had set aside for meetups on the first day were quickly filled, and four more tables were added on short notice, but they were not enough, so we had to extend the meetup time on the second day. The utilization rate far exceeded expectations.

While the number of attendees who utilized the networking tools was similar to the previous years, the attendee interactions increased significantly.

  • Attendee connection requests: 118% compared to last year
  • Attendee chat sessions: 175% of last year’s total
  • Number of attendee breakout sessions: 291% of last year’s total

The attendee’s interest to interact was already there, but the tools to make it happen were missing.

Why did the number of interactions increase as much as it did?

Since events have a specific theme, there is a high likelihood that people from the same industry and with the same interest will attend.  In addition, compared to standard business meetings, where you have to take the trouble to contact the other party, travel to see them, and find time in an already busy schedule, attendees are more inclined to make time to have meetings during the event.

We found that the response rate to connection and meeting requests on EventHub during events is significantly higher than the response rate to outbound emails and meeting-setting services.

Simplifying the steps needed to contact and set meetings with other attendees.  EventHub removed the barriers that can stifle interaction. 

In order to get people to think “I have 10 minutes to spare at the venue, why don’t I meet someone”, it is important to minimize the steps from “Let’s talk” to “Let’s meet” to “Where shall we meet”.

The beta version of the product released in 2018, was completely chat-based, following the model of other event platforms in the market. If you saw someone you wanted to talk to, you would chat with them and arrange a meeting. However, we found that this open-ended format didn’t always create the interactions hoped for by event organizers, as many people started conversations but did not end up meeting at the venue. 

If we left it to attendees to take the initiative to arrange a time and place to meet on their own through chat, it often didn’t lead to a meeting during the event.  The results also varied from event to event and location to location.

Although we found that the chat function was well utilized by attendees during the event, we decided that the experience could be improved in a way that led to more attendee meetings.

We added a meeting setup workflow that users could instinctively follow with a few simple clicks in the app.  When an attendee wants to meet another attendee that he has connected with over chat, they simply need to follow these steps.

(1) The attendee selects a preferred time from a list of available meeting times for the other attendee. (2)The other attendee is notified and they can accept, deny, or suggest another time.  (3) Once accepted they can select an available meeting location from within the app.

Through these enhancements, we found that attendees were more inclined to set multiple meetings during the event.  This led to the exceptionally high conversion rate of connections to meetings during the TechCrunch event. 

Select an time that is available for both parties.  The other party can simply [Accept] and the meeting is now arranged.

Running events that provide “breakout meeting” opportunities for attendees.

At TechCrunch Tokyo 2019, following last year’s format, part of the venue was set aside as a designated networking area.

Meetups were designated to last 15 minutes, with a 5-minute buffer between. Five meeting tables were set up.  In addition, TechCrunch announced the breakout meeting feature to attendees prior to the event on the event landing page.   

Tables filled up quickly at the start of Day 1. EventHub staff noticed this and contacted us with a request to add more tables mid-event if possible, as they felt that the demand was far exceeding capacity.  From a technical standpoint, this was easy to configure in the event platform and we worked with the on-site event organizers to arrange more physical meeting locations.  This led to over 900 breakout meetings taking place during the course of the 2-day event

Stimulate engagement. How to enhance attendees’ experiences at events

Due to the pre-announcement and explanation of the breakout meeting features on the vent website, users had no issues using the tools, and the breakout meeting area was a great success. Some of the feedback we heard from attendees:

  • “Thanks to EventHub, I met 30 people between yesterday and today!”
  • “I’m still working with someone I had a business meeting with last year thanks to EventHub!”
  • “I live in a rural area, so I’m glad that EventHub is here so that I can take full advantage of my time at the event! 

The purpose of attending events varies, and of course, some attendees just want to listen to the sessions and go home. However, as information becomes more and more open and the live-streaming of sessions becomes more prevalent in the event industry, there is a need to increase the value of the “face-to-face” experience and improve the real-world experience. For free events, of course, but even more so for paid events such as TechCrunch Tokyo, where attendees pay an admission fee to participate.

TechCrunch found it was valuable to designate a breakout-meeting space and opportunity. It creates a reason to come to the event and increases attendee satisfaction. In fact, a comparison of the time spent at an event by those who used EventHub’s networking features and those who did not showed that the former spent more time at the event.

We will continue to activate many more events like TechCrunch Tokyo, where EventHub can empower connections that matter, for attendees and sponsors alike and 

That’s it from TechCrunch this year!

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