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Analysis: Hubilo

Welcome to the Virtual Event Platform Review Series where we take a look at a major product on the market and share what there is to like, what is not so great and why it might be right for you (or not). Each platform is given a rating in four categories:

  1. Organizer Experience,
  2. Attendee Experience,
  3. Speaker Experience and
  4. Sponsor Experience.

The final score is the average of the ratings, plus our thoughts on what types of events the platform could be a good fit for.

In this article, we review the pros and cons of one of the larger players in the virtual event market: Hubilo.

Organizer Experience

Pros: Hubilo has worked with diverse clientele to host virtual events, so the company’s event team is knowledgeable about how to leverage the platform for various target audiences. Most recently in the tech community, PyCon 2021 was hosted using Hubilo.

In addition to hosting reputable brands from across the globe, Hubilo has an extensive feature set ranging from:

  • event registration and ticketing integration,
  • numerous engagement tools,
  • breakout rooms and lounges,
  • virtual booths and
  • themes that can be customized and branded.

These features allow for a variety of engagement opportunities with attendees, speakers and sponsors. Like vFairs, gamification features can also be added to encourage engagement and interaction at the event. This interaction should encourage attendees to start conversations, check out sponsor booths, join a breakout session and ask questions to the speakers.

Cons: For event organizers looking to get a feel for the market, Hubilo’s pricing model is behind lock-and-key. To check out the platform and evaluate costs, organizers must schedule a demo with Hubilo’s representatives. Additionally, if an event organizer needs to share information about the platform to attendees, speakers or sponsors, they would either need to schedule a conversation with their Hubilo representative or describe the platform using publicly available screenshots (there are not many).

While the platform and selected features are being set up, the event organizer is not able to see how the event will look until the event goes live to everyone. Organizers must completely depend on the Hubilo representative to understand their vision and set up the event to match their expectations. Also, once the event is set up and branded, the platform is not mobile friendly.

Rating: 2.5/5

Attendee Experience

Pros: Hubilo was built for large-scale events and networking, so one-on-one and one-to-many interaction tools are a must have. In addition to being able to chat directly with other attendees via Jitsi, there is a full directory of everyone in attendance where people can add information (including photos) to identify themselves.

When attendees aren’t talking to each other, they can interact via a built-in chat for each talk (similar to a YouTube live stream chat box). Additionally, individual attendees can craft personal schedules with a list of the talks they find are most appealing.

Between sessions — or during a talk that isn’t of interest — sponsor booths are available for attendees to visit and chat with the designated sponsor representative. Hubilo’s interface is simple and easy to navigate, so attendees have a clear user journey going from one event specific feature to the next.

Cons: While attendees can craft their own schedule, if two talks happen to overlap at a certain time, attendees will need to choose one talk to attend. The platform doesn’t offer users the ability to rewind a live session. Additionally, while users are able to pause a talk, they must go through the video player library rather than the platform itself. This is not an intuitive way to navigate the sessions and may be difficult for attendees to figure out on their own. Another con is that all of the talk titles begin with “Session,” so unless an attendee is looking at their personal schedule, it’s nearly impossible to see what is coming up next.

In terms of attendee privacy and security, there are several bumps in the road. To join the Lounges, attendees are immediately prompted for permission to access their computer’s camera and microphone, even before seeing what rooms are available and who is in each room. This happens every time an attendee switches sessions which becomes tiresome — especially for a multi-day, multi-track event. Hubilo also stumbles on the onboarding experience as each time an attendee logs in, they must wait for a code to be emailed to them before accessing the platform.

Considering that Hubilo’s target audience is generally tech savvy, many of those attendees would prefer not to share their personal information by default.

Rating: 2.5/5

Speaker Experience

Pros: There are numerous ways to interact with speakers throughout an event — whether they are presenting live or they send in a prerecorded video. Through the platform, speakers can choose to connect to attendees through:

  • Rooms,
  • Lounges,
  • Chat Panels,
  • Q&A Sessions during live presentations,
  • live contests and/or
  • an official leaderboard.

These networking features encourage engagement and interaction with the content and the speaker can see the value in presenting on their topic.

To present, speakers use a familiar interface: Zoom. Like LoudSwarm by Six Feet Up, the Zoom meeting is streamed into the Hubilo platform with the assistance of an event moderator. The moderators can help ease speakers’ concerns and ensure they look their best when their session is live.

It is also easy for an event organizer to add additional session resources into the platform to support the talk (e.g., PDFs of worksheets, a slidedeck, documents to review and more). Attendees can review these documents in real-time with the speaker to further the impact of a session.

Cons: During a live session, a speaker cannot see the chat box that participants are interacting with and asking questions through in the same window. If speakers would like to answer questions in real-time, they must rely on the moderator to funnel the questions to them or have the chat box pulled up on another screen which requires the speaker to juggle between two windows.

Once a speaker is done presenting, their permissions are not any different than that of a regular attendee. There are no speaker-exclusive areas incorporated into the event experience unless the event organizers take that initiative upon themselves.

Additionally, the gamification aspect of the platform can take away from genuine interest in a speaker’s talk (e.g., attendees may listen and participate in sessions merely to collect points and climb the leaderboard), similar to how vFairs’ leaderboard system works.

Rating: 4/5

Sponsor Experience

Pros: Hubilo is a standout platform for a cohesive sponsor experience. Using built-in booths and numerous interaction and engagement tools, the ability to connect attendees to sponsors are front and center.

Hubilo also offers sponsors a variety of branding opportunities and high exposure points which can accommodate a wide range of sponsor levels and tiers. Plus, on the branded booths, sponsors have a lot of flexibility in terms of their branding and how they want to interact with attendees. For example, sponsors can choose to chat freely with attendees or book one-on-one meetings held using the platform.

Cons: While there are no shortage of branding opportunities and booth options available to sponsors, attendees must navigate away from the live sessions to interact with sponsor booths. Because the content cannot be rewound once it has begun, it’s very difficult to visit a sponsor booth and catch up to a talk later.

Rating: 3/5

Our Opinion

Hubilo is a virtual event platform that features a wide range of networking and sponsor tools to promote an interactive online event experience. However, the platform has several features that could be refined to improve its ease of use and engagement opportunities.

Key takeaways:

  • There are countless branding opportunities for sponsors, but not a clear plan to ensure attendees interact and visit those sections.
  • Attendees can only pause — not rewind — a talk which requires a major time commitment for attendees wanting to skip over certain sections.
  • Without working with a representative, there is little public visibility into the platform, setup, demos, pricing, etc.

Hubilo is a good fit for…
Event Size: 1,000+ attendees
Event Type(s): Tech conferences, Workshops, Events with a tech-savvy audience


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