Coronavirus – a Threat or Opportunity for the Events Industry?

In a matter of a few short weeks, as global lock downs have been decreed, Force Majeure clauses are being triggered like never before and events are cancelled and postponed to future dates and years. So at first glance, a Threat is surely the correct answer. But in this short period of time, many successful event companies have seen it as an Opportunity and have pivoted from traditional in-person conferences to virtual events to maintain and increase sponsorship revenue, deliver outstanding content to their client base and maintain market leadership.

The challenges of going virtual can be significant. Keeping participants focused when they are not onsite at a conference is exponentially more difficult as you compete with unread emails, social media, and during these times of lock-down, children and other family members just a short interruption away. It is therefore key, if your event is to deliver on its objectives, that you successfully engage with your audience. Here are 3 key factors that you need to follow to ensure success:

  1. Content is King – be sure to provide high value presentations and videos that are relevant to your event messaging. Make sure they take into account the context of our current circumstances and that presenters understand your audience and their unstated narratives
  2. Production Value – high quality broadcast style production is definitely going to help with engagement. Pay attention to good quality lighting; good microphones; animated transitions from one presenter to the next; varying camera shots. These techniques will make it feel like a live event and it makes it more enjoyable to watch
  3. Human connection – with social distancing now the norm, it is important that you include human connection in your virtual event. Whether it is as simple as chat, moderated Q&A, polling, networking events, breakout sessions, roundtables, or video meetings, make your participants feel like they are part of the event

Most of all, it is really important to make the best of this time, take the opportunity to incorporate some memorable moments that may not be available to you when you’re doing physical events. With savings on hotel bills, travel and catering, there may be some budget to spare so you can surprise your audience with special deliveries to their homes and fun games online that will create an unforgettable experience.

So going back to the question “Coronavirus – a Threat or Opportunity for the Events Industry?” we believe the opportunity can overtake the threat if you follow the key success factors. For information on how we can help email suzysclater@ems-ltd.org

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