Insight: Issue 18 (28th October)
It’s 3 days until Halloween. . .but is there anything scarier than the news right now?
In today’s briefing: we’re checking in with our fellow event profs to see how they’re doing; we’re spreading the news about the One Industry One Voice campaign expanding after only 2 weeks; we’ve got everything you need to know for running incentive events during a pandemic (yes, it’s possible); plus 7 ways to drive virtual engagement through gamification; key questions to ask for COVID-proof live events; and some musings on the future of our industry, if you’re brave enough…
First up, how is everyone doing?
Team Cameron are big believers in positive thinking. We try to keep these briefings as optimistic as possible, and we’ll inject a bit of fun wherever we can. That said, there’s no getting around the fact that the pressure on event profs over the last 7 months has been enormous, and it’s getting harder and harder to see light at the end of the tunnel.
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by it all, take a look at this article from Velvet Chainsaw; an honest discussion about the fact that we are not all fine, and it’s okay not to be okay.
One Industry One Voice is expanding
In our briefing a fortnight ago, we shared the news of #WeMakeEvents teaming up with 2 other awesome campaigns—#WeMakeExperiences and #LetTheMusicPlay—to form One Industry One Voice; an alliance of event profs fighting for awareness and financial support for the entire industry. In just 2 weeks, they’ve added even more allies to the cause: #SaveNightLife, #SaveLiveComedy, and #WhatAboutWeddings.
If you think there’s an area of our industry that is not yet represented, they’re encouraging folk to get in touch. They’ve also set up a weekly task-force, where representatives from key campaigns and organisations will convene to coordinate plans and comms. You can find all the details on their brand new website, and you should absolutely follow them on social media, too.
Incentives are still a thing during a pandemic
Now, if you’ll indulge us for a moment, think back to February 2020…annual meetings and incentive trips were planned years in advance; people flew in metal tubes for hours at a time to get to their destination; and, when they arrived, they’d probably shake hands with other delegates (*gasp*). Though many of these things are now unthinkable, the need for these kinds of events hasn’t gone away. Arguably, the importance of incentivising and rewarding top performers at your company—those who are digging deep to keep the business going through the pandemic—is greater than ever.
Smart Meetings spoke to 2 event planners about how to incentivise during a pandemic, and there are plenty of outside-the-box ideas in there to spark your creativity. For one virtual event, a bespoke box of bar equipment was sent to attendees in advance of a mixology masterclass. This was in addition to a mysterious selection of ingredients that led to a ‘make your own spa scrub’ tutorial (the organiser commented, “watching people smear scrub across their forehead on a Zoom call was everything I could have hoped for”…we can only imagine).
Another virtual incentive took place in an Art-Deco-inspired interactive lobby, filled with hidden prizes and luxury freebies. This event also had a celebrity host, James Corden, and a very random cameo by Snoop Dogg… If that eclectic mix doesn’t pique your interest, we don’t know what will.
7 ways to drive engagement with gamification
For those of us who can’t afford James Corden, there are other ways to jazz up your virtual event and boost engagement. Take gamification, for example. This is a much more achievable way of adding value to your event, and creating an exciting and immersive experience.
The Bizzabo Blog suggests using digital awards to engage your attendees. Whilst many gamified events opt for a leaderboard set-up, this may encourage delegates to focus all their efforts on ‘gaming the system’, so they’re not really engaging with the content of your event at all. Using a points-to-rewards strategy, where delegates receive points for reaching thresholds and taking specific actions, is generally more entertaining and satisfying. And if you can make these actions align with your KPIs, you’re onto a winner:
- Award points for registering early.
- Award points for arriving promptly (e.g. the first 100 attendees to log on).
- Award points for watching a keynote.
- Award points for visiting exhibitor & sponsor booths.
- Award points for taking part in a networking session.
Key questions for planning safe in-person events
The logistics of planning COVID-proof live events are a minefield (*understatement alert*). That’s why BCD Meetings & Events put together a task-force to evaluate the many, many issues faced by on-site meeting managers—from site inspections, to health and safety measures, to contact tracing. The group led a MeetingsNet webinar earlier this month to share their findings and on-the-ground experience. These were some of the key questions on event profs’ minds:
- How do you handle multiple speakers on stage at the same time?
- What is the current thinking behind using reusable vs. single-use products?
- Have venues restructured their pricing model as groups now need more space for fewer attendees?
- How has your site inspection checklist changed?
- Is it the venue’s responsibility to facilitate safety measures (e.g. sanitiser stations, medical area, etc.) or the event organiser’s?
- How important is air flow and filtration in meeting rooms?
- What are your suggestions for printing badges and certificates (as these are often high-touch)?
- How do you enforce a ‘health screening questionnaire’—through pre-event checks or online?
- Do you have a protocol for isolating event staff who have been in close contact with someone reporting COVID symptoms?
Food for thought as we look ahead to 2021. . .
And while we’re asking some big events-related questions, we might as well pose the biggest one: what is the future of our industry? With the US, the UK, and the rest of Europe experiencing massive resurgences in COVID cases, and a devastating reintroduction of restrictions, it feels like we are moving back to square one—a position the events industry *never managed to escape in the first place*.
Throughout October and November, Event Manager Blog is hoping to craft a plan of attack for 2021—collating all the feedback, research, and comments they’ve collected over the past few months. In the meantime, they’ve posed 20 questions facing the events industry in the year ahead. If you think you can handle it, you’ll find them here.
But, there’s one question we definitely know the answer to…
Do you want 2020 to be over?. . .YES.