Insight: Issue 22 (25th November)
Well, 2020 is almost over.
And that means it’s time to look into the (cloudy) crystal ball that is 2021, and ask—what does the coming year hold for our industry? We’re also sharing news of a survey from the One Industry One Voice campaign; some dates for your diary, with Women in Events Week coming up at the start of December; how the promising vaccine news is continuing to boost the events industry; 4 virtual platforms to fight Zoom fatigue (the struggle is real); how to kit out your virtual event studio; and, as promised, a hazy glimpse into the future…
One Industry One Voice survey
Following the news of the rapid expansion of the One Industry One Voice alliance at the end of October, the campaign team have now launched a new events industry survey. Designed to support their efforts in getting event profs back to work safely and ASAP, the research will:
- Measure the impact of COVID-19 on the live events sector.
- Gather feedback on existing government support measures.
- And determine where further support is needed to ensure our industry survives.
A message from the organisers: *do not* underestimate the value of your time spent on the survey. Just 15 minutes spent answering these questions will go towards ensuring that, when the world emerges from this crisis, the events industry does too.
You have until Friday 27 November to fill in the survey. So hop to it here.
Women in Events Week: 7-10 December 2020
Next up, some dates for the diary: Monday 7 to Thursday 10 December 2020 is Women in Events Week; a week-long virtual experience designed to connect, acknowledge, and inspire women in event marketing.
With speed networking, professional development opportunities, executive thinking from some of the industry’s leading women, and some much-needed wellness and self-care sessions—it sounds like the perfect way to round off a very (very, very) stressful year.
If you’re interested in attending, you can have a nosy at the agenda and sign up here.
Vaccine news prompts event bookings in UK & US
In light of the promising news about vaccine trials from the last couple of weeks, there’s been a noticeable increase in meeting confirmations and bookings around the world, says company etc.venues. They noted the trend across both UK and US venues, which began immediately after the announcement of a potentially-soon-to-be-available vaccine.
Adam Simpson, Director of Marketing and US Sales, commented that several major events have now finalised dates for Q2 and Q3 of 2021, whilst at the same time there was an influx of Q1 enquiries and reservations:
“This clearly demonstrates that, given a reason to be more confident, event planners are ready to return to running live and hybrid events as soon as they feel safe to do so. It’s very encouraging.”
We’d have to agree, Adam!
4 virtual platforms to fight Zoom fatigue
We’re 8 months into our new virtual lives now, and we’re here to say—the struggle of Zoom fatigue is real. Smart Meetings has explored 4 alternatives to Zoom to give virtual attendees the variety they so desperately need. They’ve suggested:
- Hubb. Their philosophy revolves around the fact that human connection is what gives events their magic; so virtual events should be full of opportunities for people to connect. This platform’s got a full suite of event management tools, enabling planners to manage speakers, sponsors, and staff. Users can also create a virtual convention campus to fully brand the space.
- Shindig. They believe attendees crave the interaction and live immersion of first-person games. So their platform allows attendees to meet in private chats, hang out in a lounge, participate in Sli.do polls, play music—and it’s all integrated to stream on YouTube and Facebook Live. The platform is also customisable and can be made to look like a stadium, theatre, or whatever else your imagination can conjure up.
- Bizaboo. This all-in-one event software uses intelligent, personalised engagement to create event communities; connecting to LinkedIn, and offering one-on-one messaging and live polling. It can be integrated with 2,500 other platforms, including Salesforce and Slack. And FYI, it also recently won People’s Choice Award for the 5th time at the 2020 Event Technology Awards.
- Hopin. Their goal is to reimagine events from the ground up; making them so good that they become mainstream, and not simply a back-up option. With a focus on engagement over content, this platform facilitates live video chat for small audiences or groups in the thousands. A discovery tool pairs people in one-on-one video conversations for live breakouts, including a feature called ‘chat roulette’. Expo areas deliver a vendor-booth experience with either live or pre-recorded content. And the branded experience covers everything from registration, to ticket sales, to analytics.
If you’re feeling the need to shake things up, explore the platforms in more detail here.
Kitting our your virtual event studio
Another way to bulk up your virtual event toolkit is to get creative with virtual studio design. Because, for a while longer at least, speakers and moderators are no longer treading the boards of venue stages, but are instead gathering in safe, well-equipped studios where they can record and share their talks. In this sense, events have become a ‘media product’ that people can enjoy from the comfort of their own homes—and now that *literally everything* takes place online, you’ll want to differentiate your virtual event from a run-of-the-mill Zoom meeting.
Event Planner shared 16 studio design ideas for online events, with plenty of inspo to get the creative juices flowing. Some of these set-ups are very achievable, some are a little more aspirational—so if it’s a bit daunting, take a look at Event Manager Blog’s article on how to leverage virtual event studios. It covers the dangers of DIY event production (you’ve been warned), as well as best practice when using virtual event studios. Then, you’ll be all set to take over the virtual world.
A (cloudy) crystal ball for 2021
And lastly, we promised you a (cloudy) crystal ball. And that’s what you’ll get.
BCD Meetings & Events has published a forecast for 2021, with key takeaways around duty of care, stakeholder engagement, and hybrid events—AKA, it’s a glimpse into the future. The forecast has 3 main sections:
- A report from each global region—revealing an unsurprising uniformity to the outlook for North America, Latin America, the UK, and EMEA; with a focus on virtual and hybrid events for the foreseeable future. The Asia-Pacific region offers some interesting tidbits: with no attendance caps on events in China, business as usual in Taiwan, musicians touring in New Zealand, and a reopening of parts of Australia.
- The results of a client survey—with questions addressing meeting policy, formats, budgets, and the challenges presented by both virtual and in-person meetings. One of the highlights: 61% of respondents say they are in the process of creating a long-term virtual meeting strategy. We’re not out of the woods yet, folks.
- Analysis of 3 trending topics for the coming year—duty of care, stakeholder engagement, and hybrid event design; offering advice on how organisations can navigate potential challenges.
After the year we’ve had, the ability to stay ahead of the game and react quickly to changing needs is more crucial than ever. So you’d better take a look.
Also, it’s somehow 1 month until Christmas.
Don’t shoot the messenger.