Insight: Issue 02 (8th July)
Us when someone mentions post-lockdown live events. . .
Okay, tantrum over. Moving on.
Today we’re sharing news of: venues bending over backwards to create a safe environment for post-lockdown events (we’d expect nothing less); Hamburg easing its restrictions around meetings and events (we’re not jealous at all); 7 must-know virtual event benchmarks; why the future is hybrid (we could talk about that all day); plus some cool event trends to watch out for, because we all need something to look forward to.
Venues adopt new hygiene standards. . .
Unsurprisingly, venues have been bending over backwards to create a safe environment for when meetings and events resume after lockdown.
According to the Meetings Industry Association (MIA), they’ve been swamped with applications for their new AIM Secure accreditation; a national quality certification which was recently revised to include vital infection prevention and control measures. This forms part of the MIA’s support package to help the events sector with their reopening preparations—and 50 venues have already signed up for, and passed, the rigorous accreditation process in the first week alone.
This public certification will act as a ‘green light’, helping to reassure event profs that the venues they’ve booked are operating safely, whilst also reassuring the venues themselves that they’re doing everything in their power to protect their customers and their staff. You can find out more about the AIM Secure accreditation here.
. . .and prepare for the safe return of events
ACC Liverpool is one of the many venues taking all the necessary reopening precautions—and then some. Following the government’s announcement that conference and exhibition centres must remain closed for now, the venue has stepped up their lobbying efforts and issued new COVID-19 operational guidelines. In their own words, this is as part of their commitment to “get events back up and running as soon as government restrictions are lifted”.
After 3 months of the venue operating as a food and PPE distribution centre, social distancing protocols are already second nature to their top team (not to mention, this takes their reputation as a ‘multi-purpose’ venue to a whole new level). On top of this, their operational guide—called ‘Rediscover Events’—outlines the extensive safety measures they’re putting in place. This includes a tailored, COVID-secure delegate journey; one-way delegate movement systems; adapted food and drink experiences; virtual and hybrid content solutions; virtual venue tours to ease the planning process; and lots of other measures designed to bring back organised events and reunite large numbers of delegates.
If you want to see for yourself just how much work they’ve done behind the scenes, you can find out more about their reopening plans here.
Meeting & event restrictions eased in Hamburg
Whilst event profs in the UK eagerly await the return of in-person events, we can at least live vicariously through our German colleagues. On 1 July, it was announced that the restrictions around business meetings and events in Hamburg are being relaxed. The new rules are:
- Indoor events with fixed seating—max. 650 people.
- Indoor events without fixed seating—max. 100 people (max. 50 people if alcohol is served…probably a good call).
- Outdoor events with fixed seating—max. 1,000 people.
- Outdoor events without fixed seating—max. 200 people (max. 100 people if alcohol is served…again, a wise move).
- As per existing regulations in Germany, the min. distance of 1.5 metres between any 2 people at an event still applies.
- Large-scale events with 1,000 or more attendees are prohibited until 31 October 2020.
Florian Gerdes, Marketing Manager from the Hamburg Convention Bureau, commented: “The easing of restrictions around meetings and events is a real boost to the business events sector. It’s a clear sign to the rest of the business world that carefully planned and managed business events can be successfully and safely carried out.”
7 must-know virtual event benchmarks
Following the outbreak of COVID-19 at the start of the year, businesses and event profs all over the world turned to virtual events. And one of the many (many) benefits of pivoting to virtual is, of course, the glorious data they produce.
With that in mind, the Bizzabo Blog decided to make the most of this data-rich virtual era we’re living in. Their team analysed data from 799 sessions across 210 virtual events that took place between 15 March and 22 June 2020 on their own platform. The outcome was a comprehensive list of virtual event benchmarks—covering registration, engagement, and programming. Behold, their key findings:
- 80% of virtual event registrations are free.
- The average price for a paid virtual event in June 2020 was $254 USD.
- Over half of virtual event registrants convert to virtual event attendees.
- The average attendee watches 68% of a virtual session.
- The average number of sessions per virtual event is 12.
- 58% of virtual sessions are smaller and more interactive.
- 62% of virtual events are a single-day event.
If you still have your doubts about going virtual, these results might change your mind. Because the bottom line is, virtual events are breaking down barriers by offering a digital meeting place for anyone, anywhere—regardless of what’s going on in the world. And that’s a pretty solid proposition, if you ask us. You can read their full report here.
The future is hybrid (we’re a broken record)
We’ve long said that hybrid events are the future—and, according to Event Manager Blog, 62% of event planners agree with us. That might be because these past few months will undoubtedly change the way we consume events. Many businesses have now experienced first-hand the benefits of going virtual, so they may well reevaluate the necessity of live events after lockdown. Not to mention, corporate travel won’t be making a comeback any time soon, eliminating a large percentage of target audiences for business events. So yeah, hybrid = the future.
That said, there are still a lot of question marks around how post-COVID hybrid events will work—but Event Manager Blog has served up a few predictions for us:
- Reinventing the conference format—something like: live speakers in a TV set-up, a limited live audience due to reductions in venue capacity, and a strong tech infrastructure to make it all possible.
- Reinventing content, too—short, snappy, ultra-engaging sessions will be the order of the day. Attention spans are short online, after all.
- New high-tech ‘venues’—basically, incredibly fast internet speed will be non-negotiable.
- Live event tech will be key—things like event apps, which allow online audiences to interact with delegates attending in person.
- Moderators will make or break your hybrid event—guaranteeing there’s no bias towards the live audience, whilst keeping up the pace of the event.
You can peruse the full article here.
25 event trends to watch
Last for today, who doesn’t love a bit of trend-spotting? Special Events spoke to some of the biggest brands in the world of DMCs (AKA, travel experts with access to some of the best destinations on earth) and they each weighed in on the trends to watch as live events return with a vengeance. From a renewed thirst for incentive events, to the importance of experiential elements, to championing sustainability and giving back to local communities—there’s plenty to look forward to.
Your friendly neighbourhood Cameron