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Are virtual events the new ‘thing’?

With a new model on the horizons, just how can we expect the Events industry to change in 2020?

As we get to grips with life on lockdown, it’s not just our personal lives that have changed, but our industries too. We’ve always got our ‘thinking caps’ on, thinking outside the box to ensure our business thrives during these uncertain times.

As a business, we run events all throughout the year (and attend quite a bit, too!) Whether we’re showcasing businesses at trade shows, organising award ceremonies or dinners, helping a client showcase their brand to the world or even throwing a party; we’ve always been at the forefront of Events in our region. The Events landscape has taken a significant hit in recent months, with social distancing measures meaning large gatherings are not permitted for the foreseeable future. The future looked bleak, but it’s not all ‘doom and gloom’ – as we start to see the events world moving to a new, virtual presence.

What will it look like?

The basics -

Of course, it always comes back to what you’re looking for and what you’d like your event to achieve. Not every event can be 100% virtual, and we know that. And that’s where this new, hybrid model surfaces. There are lots of ways in which we can still achieve successful results whilst adhering to the current Government guidelines and ensuring everyone involved keeps completely safe.

This model means you can continue with business and ensure your audience are keeping well connected in the current climate. Want to go ahead with your conference? You still can. By keeping a safe distance between you, there is opportunity for local delegates to carry on as intended; with further delegates tuned in online. 

Content –

We always say, ‘content is key’, but it really is. In fact, content is key -more now than ever! It’s important to keep your digital attendees engaged, so they don’t switch off -literally-. With the internet at their fingertips, give your attendees a reason to tune in to you and not another online event doing the same thing. Keep it consistent, engaging and give your attendees opportunity to collaborate – whether it’s via live Q&A’s, voting systems, product demonstrations or even networking; there’s plenty of tools available to help you stand out and your audience involved.

Flexibility –

You’ve probably had a tonne of reasons thrown at you as to why some of your attendees have been unable to make your event in the past. Time constraints, other appointments, geographical location? We’ve heard them all too. The beauty of going online means previous issues start to become non-existent. Events can be held any time of day, be broadcast to anyone of your choosing and no set location needs to be involved. This doesn’t just stop at your attendee list either – what about your guest speakers? Even if they’re the other side of the world, hosting your event virtually closes these gaps and allows for more accessibility.

There’s also plenty of opportunity to record your event and share it with your attendees. Ensure your audience doesn’t miss out and have access to re-watch your event whenever suits them.

Digital marketing –

This is a great opportunity to collect useful information on your attendees that will benefit for future events.

Why wait for the event to start before you talk to your guests? Your ticket purchases and ‘sign up’s will provide you with valuable data to reach out to your list both pre- and post-event. Data capture is a great way to keep your guests in communication with you and gives you the opportunity to follow-up with further news and invites in future. Don’t forget to use your database to collect feedback after your event too!

Revenue –

From a commercial aspect -some may argue it’s not viable to charge high ticket prices for events in the current climate. Cutting costs may mean a loss of income, and whilst there are many arguments for and against this, there are some points that need to be considered; -

  • Third party costs
    This will massively reduce – no catering costs to consider, parking charges, or flights & accommodation fees.
  • Audience reach
    Even though you may have to reduce your individual ticket costs for your event, your network is now global! Your attendee list isn’t restricted to the capacity of your venue hire, so why put a cap on your event list?
  • Sponsorship Opportunities
    Not only are there lots of digital marketing opportunities for you to get stuck in to, but there’s also an increased opportunity to gain global sponsors. Sponsorship deals can increase brand exposure to an even bigger audience and bring in advertising opportunities. Recent examples of brands taking on awesome sponsorship deals include ComparetheMarket sponsoring Coronation Street and M&S teaming up with Britain’s Got Talent.

There’s no doubt that for some, adapting to this landscape in 2020 can be daunting and truly the ‘unknown’. We’re confident the events industry will find its feet in this new virtual setting and we’re ready to embrace it. Our team are excited to take events online and share their ideas with the world.

Get in touch

If you’ve postponed or cancelled an event due to COVID-19 and interested in exploring these possibilities– please drop an email to [email protected]

We look forward to hearing from you and hope to see you (virtually) soon!

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