The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing the events industry to find innovative new ways to keep events going.

Sometimes, deciding to make the switch to virtual occurs at the last minute as a response to crises or events out of your control. If that’s the case, it may be tempting to mirror the original in-person event and use the exact same content, but a virtual event is not the same as an in-person one. Using the same content would likely result in a poorer overall event experience for your attendees. So, where do you begin?

 

Here are some basic questions to get you started:

  1. Why are we doing this event?
  2. Who is it for?
  3. What do we want to gain?
  4. What do we want our audience to learn?
  5. How will we measure success?

How to promote a virtual event:

  1. Brand your virtual event memorably
  2. Create a multi-faceted marketing plan (website, social media, email marketing, partnerships, paid media, and so on)
  3. Build a dedicated website or landing page for your event
  4. Send a save the date email for your event
  5. Create and launch a social media plan
  6. Announce your agenda or event programming
  7. Find your event ambassadors and leverage your speakers to promote your event
  8. Keep promoting even on the day of your event

Benefits:

Did you know there are a number of benefits to doing things this way!

    1. Save money – no need to book a venue or catering, and printing costs. For the most part no travel or accommodation either.
    2. Revenue opportunities – using Event Apps wisely you can generate incomes from sponsorship, push notifications and logos on your live stream videos.
    3. Save the planet – lower carbon footprint, no printed programs, not airplanes, no car fumes.
    4. Reach a more people – if you market it well you could have people joining from all over the world!
    5. Attendance and engagement – it’s easier to measure when you’ve gone digital.
    6. Longer life spans – the recording of the event can be re-purposed and re-used multiple times.

 

While we know that virtual events do not hold the same power of face-face interactions, circumstances may necessitate going virtual, sometimes on very short notice.

 

Copywright - https://www.cvent.com/

Headlines in mass media screamed of successive waves of new cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world. Big companies announced cancellations of major conferences. We see about the importance of listening to authorities regarding appropriate precautions to take during a health scare. “We need to listen to the real experts to understand what is actually happening,

Many started second-thinking travel plans in March, meeting professionals across the country scrambled to switch to a hybrid or virtual format for their gatherings. It’s difficult, We are humans, and we crave the ability to look other humans in the eye,” they say….

Group video meetings are one way to bring the “serendipitous hallway” back into the equation. Experts envisions exhibitors interacting through an app in virtual booths. Instead of having their badges scanned, attendees click into pages, where they can request information. Creating “office hours” can enable attendees to join exhibitors in a Zoom room from the convenience of their “sterile bunker.”

They don’t think purely virtual meetings will ever replace in-person meetings entirely however its estimated that if a meeting is already formatted into an app, 80 percent of the work has been done to convert it to virtual. Overall the thoughts are that using technology to have meetings and events is just a bridge to when coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdowns and travel bans are lifted again.

CEO of Africa Tourism Partners emphasized that the importance of the MICE industry is that it brings thousands of people and delegates to a destination which they would probably not otherwise have visited.

At the same time he cautioned that the industry should have a clear post Covid-19 strategy and not just "rush in" once the pandemic is over. In his view, it could take about a year for convention bureaus, for instance, to get operations fully running again, then another year to implement a post Covid-19 marketing strategy and then only to reap the benefits for the three to eight years after that.

Face to face meetings and events will still happen, but just with caution.

Copyright https://m.fin24.com/

Major events all over the world have been postponed, moved or cancelled altogether due to the Corona Virus outbreak.

The Coronavirus epidemic, 2019-nCov, has grown a lot as the number of cases confirmed in the laboratory in the last weeks, reaching 43,118 cases and 1,016 deaths at the time of writing (February 11). Beyond the numerous hoaxes circulating through social and traditional media, the main fear regards how one may get infected.

While researchers from all over the world are working hard to provide the best responses, travellers returning from Asian countries and destinations are being advised to avoid contact with other people if they show certain symptoms.

The list for Public Health England includes China, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea. Holiday companies and airlines are still taking people to these countries, while insurers say travel policies are unlikely to cover cancellations - except to China. 

How is the outbreak already affecting the meeting industry?

Recently, HQ’s Chinese managing director Vivian Xu had to cancel her attendance to AIME. Due to her history of travelling to China at the end of last year and her nationality, she faced the risk of being refused to enter Australia. 

According to the world’s largest network of business events strategists, PCMA, “the Coronavirus continues to roil global travel and trade, event strategists are delaying, canceling, or soldiering on with their plans”. They created a dedicated web page to help event professionals find reliable information and ensure they are prepared.

The future course of the outbreak is not clear, however it is predicted to last until the end of April.

Since there are currently no vaccines against coronaviruses, prevention is very important. As for face masks, they help prevent further spread of infection from those who are sick to others around them - but do not seem to be as effective in protecting those who are not infected.

Hand washing and disinfection is the key. Delegates travelling a lot, are encouraged to wash their hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Events organisers are recommended to pay special attention to the hygiene issue when planning their next event - by providing sanitisers and a good ventilation system, for instance. Alternatively to in person meetings, online conference calls are a proper choice.

 

Advise on the protocol, requirements and procedures to follow for events canceled due to COVID-19

 

Organizers

Issue refunds for canceled events - reach out to your attendees

Offering other resolutions, credit for future?

Transfer credit to another event

offer discount for future event

Offer gift certificate

Communication is key!

 

Attendees

view the event page and any communication from the organizer

Contact company directly

Be accommodating during this time

Open to the idea of a credit or voucher for future

If you are refunded please allow  sufficient time for funds to reflect

 

Wether organizers or attendees, its of utmost importance that we are accommodating and support each other during this time to the best of our ability

 

Copyright https://www.eventbrite.com/

Be it a fundraiser or a tradeshow, attendee engagement is what it takes to level-up your event. An engaged crowd is more likely to make purchases, join membership programs, donate money, and sign up for the next event. But getting attendees to engage can be very challenging.

As an event planner, you know that attendee experience is key to the success of your events. In addition to meeting business goals, your focus should be on ensuring attendees have the best experience possible. Engagement is one key indicator of attendee experience – so whether your event is an internal training or a user conference, those fully engaged attendees get more out of events than passive attendees.

Incorporating technology into an event is an increasingly popular method of achieving high levels of engagement. Adding event technology, like event apps, to your event strategy encourages increased interaction and engagement among attendees, and also gives your organization additional opportunities to engage your attendees. These benefits are true for small meetings and large conferences, alike.

If your events are not leveraging technology to engage, you’re missing out on opportunities to reach attendees on their favorite platform – mobile. Here are five ways to utilize technology to boost attendee engagement.

  1. Enable attendees to customize their experience
  2. In the past, agenda booklets featuring multiple tracks, rooms, and speakers left attendees flipping through pages on pages of their agendas to find and keep up with session times and locations. Undoubtedly, relying on highlighting or circling sessions in a large paper booklet can lead to missed sessions or distracted attendees.
  3. Enable attendees to customise their experience
  4. Gather instant feedback with polls and surveys
  5. Encourage social sharing and continue engagement following the event

 

Copyright https://guidebook.com/mobile-guides/boost-engagement-with-event-app/