Hio Debuts New Virtual Networking Features, Offers 3 Free Months of Premium Access

April 8, 2020

Networking and events platform Hio (which stands for “hit it off”) has launched two new offerings to facilitate virtual networking and socialization — and is offering free Hio Premium access from April 1 – June 30.

Event planners can create, host and manage virtual events free of charge on the Hio platform. The Host-Moderated Virtual Event option works for webinars, speakers and individual networking sessions during an event, while the new Virtual Lounge format provides a formal opportunity for attendees to engage in one-on-one networking sessions. Network Now, a new Hio Premium feature, allows individuals to conduct seven-minute, one-on-one video chats on demand, mimicking live networking.

“With Virtual Lounge and Network Now, Hio hopes to allow event organizers to ... help users form meaningful relationships and grow their network in tough times,” says Jason Craparo, CEO and founder of Hio.

He adds, “Hio Premium allows event organizers to seamlessly take their events digital in the event of a cancellation. This reduces massive losses that can come with unplanned cancellations and also ensures that attendees benefit from planned events, giving them access to connect with other attendees from their mobile phones.”

Hio’s Host-Moderated Virtual Event offering uses Zoom as its broadcast platform. Content can be pre-recorded or recorded live for later use. While the event host and speakers need to install Zoom, attendees only need the Hio app if they want to join the event from their smartphones. The host can start the meeting from either Zoom or Hio.

“Once the host goes live, we overlay the Zoom experience onto the attendee’s screen right from Hio,” Craparo explains. “After the event, the guest list stays live so attendees can then access Hio’s follow-up features, such as sending a pre-written follow-up email or setting a reminder to reach out.”

Premium users also have the ability to send all of their new Hio connections to one of 30 CRMs with the click of a button.

For moderated events, the number of participants is limited only by the organizer’s Zoom account (usually 100 people and 40 minutes, if you’ve signed up for a free Zoom account; the length and the attendee number increase with paid Zoom subscriptions).

Virtual Lounge events include the seven-minute, one-on-one video chat functionality along with live group messaging and the option for social media integration. This format is unmoderated, allows unlimited capacity, and has no time limit — much like a social gathering.

Planners can also use Hio to schedule and host in-person events of any size, using their existing registration site or internal systems. The app also supports on-demand push notifications, allowing you to communicate important updates to your attendees in real-time — and to follow up with them post-event. 

“Hio can save a lot of money for organizations that frequently host field events because it combines an event tool with a networking tool that are both free,” says Craparo.

It’s also easy to measure the ROI of an event using Hio. The platform’s planner view includes a dashboard that summarizes attendee demographics, types of networking activities (i.e., what pieces of contact information were shared), attendees’ interests and more. The information is also available as a downloadable prospectus.

Hio’s event clients include EMRG Media’s Event Planner Expo, Global Training & Events Group LLC’s Tech Up for Women, Prysm Group’s B2B Marketing Expo and White Label Expo, Network After Work, Rockstar Connect, BOLD Networking and NY Tech Meetup.

Here’s a quick comparison guide showing the differences between Hio’s Host-Moderated Virtual Event and Virtual Lounge events. 

To learn more about Hio and try it for your own events, go hereDownload the Hio IOS app here and the Hio Android app here

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.