Insight: Issue 31 (10th February)
No such thing as a snow day when you WFH. . .
In today’s non-weather news, we’ve got: results from the latest events industry survey (brace yourselves); the launch of a free-of-charge initiative called Hybrid Events Solution UK; plans by start-up company You Check to test its health passport in live music venues; how to craft an exciting event programme; how to make virtual events more accessible; and 22 KPIs to prove your event was a smash hit. Because of course it was.
UK events industry survey paints bleak picture
Right, we’re gonna get this one out of the way first, because it’s not pretty.
The events industry has been desperately trying to estimate a recovery timeline for about 10 months now, but it’s been consistently been pushed back as the pandemic rages on. Though the outlook for 2021 has been largely positive so far—thanks to the vaccines—a recent report by the Meetings Industry Association paints a very different picture, claiming that “business meetings and events organisations will only be viable for another 7.5 months”. Yikes.
That said, the report assumes that restrictions, venue bookings, and government support will remain at their current levels for the next 6-12 months—and we’re tentatively hopeful that won’t be the case. Because…what else have we got, if not hope?
Introducing the Hybrid Events Solution UK
Take note, Scotland! The English Core Cities have joined forces to support the struggling events industry with the launch of Hybrid Events Solution UK (HESUK)—a free-of-charge initiative open to all businesses across the country, providing solutions for delivering national hybrid events in COVID-secure venues.
HESUK will allow delegates to attend the same national event at different venues, across different regions—with live-streaming technology linking everything up. This will make it possible for people to network and meet others within their field, whilst remaining in line with government guidelines. Plus, those who can’t attend in-person will still be able to experience the event in a virtual way.
We’re definitely keen to kickstart something similar north of the border. If any of our Scotland-based pals are interested, give the Cameron Live crew a shout.
Venues to trial You Check health passports
In a bid to safely reopen the UK’s music venues, start-up company You Check will test its new health passport with live audiences in partnership with the Music Venue Trust.
Launched in mid-2019, the You Check app was initially designed as a ticketing system to fend off touts. When COVID hit, they quickly adapted the app’s notification system to integrate COVID test results and help with track and trace. The You Check system could be a game-changer—verifying an attendee’s name, ticket, and negative test result; all in one place, with a quick scan on the door.
Pencilled in for the 100 Club in London and Bristol’s 250-capacity Exchange, the first test events can’t come soon enough. Watch this space.
How to craft an exciting event programme
Whether you’re planning a virtual gathering, a hybrid meet-up, or (dare to dream) an actual in-person event, you’re going to need a narrative. Events need an editorial structure and a clear programme to attract attendees and keep them engaged—and this is especially true online. Lucky for you, Event Planner has some tips:
- Choose *just one* core topic. And make sure it aligns with the interests and needs of your target audience. The more niche, the better!
- Then use the prism technique. In other words, take your core topic and examine it from different angles, helping you to tease out ideas for keynotes and roundtables.
- Collaborate with your speakers. In most cases, your speakers will have a tonne of great ideas. They may even provide perspectives you never would have considered.
- Mix up your activities. Alternate longer speeches with short group discussions to keep up the pace—and don’t forget regular coffee breaks, or your delegates may riot!
Are virtual events really more inclusive?
There’s one advantage of going digital that even the most hardcore virtual-event-haters can’t argue with—and that’s improved accessibility. Moving events online has eliminated a lot of barriers to entry; they tend to be more affordable and don’t require any travel. But, sadly, they often still exclude people with disabilities—though this can be mitigated with proper planning and the right tech.
With that in mind, Event Manager Blog has suggested 4 strategies for ensuring your virtual events are accessible to all:
- Include live captioning & real-time ASL translations. These are the bare minimum in terms of making an event inclusive, so get on it ASAP.
- Ask about accommodations during registration. Because it’s much easier to make an event accessible from the start, rather than trying to retrofit it at the last minute.
- Send out presentations in advance. Sharing materials in advance will improve the event experience for blind attendees (and make sure the slides themselves are accessible too, of course).
- Make networking as accessible as possible. Consider more inclusive features, like Zoom’s recently released live transcription service—it provides automatic captions for everything being said during a meeting. It’s far from perfect…but it’s a start.
22 KPIs for measuring event success
Okay, you’ve got a programme to die for, you’ve made sure your virtual event is accessible to everyone, and it all went smoothly—now what?…Well, now you need to prove it.
Event KPIs (key performance indicators) are the best way to track your event’s success and determine whether you’ve achieved that all-important ROI (return on investment). To help you figure out which stats are most meaningful for your unique goals, the Bizzabo Blog has listed 22 crucial KPIs to measure success. To name a few:
- Event check-ins. This lets you compare the number of check-ins with the total number of registrations—to make sure people aren’t just signing up, but turning up too.
- Session analytics. Drill down into each session to find out which ones were a success. How many people attended each session, and how long did they stay for?
- Social media mentions. Make sure your event handle and hashtag are simple, unique, and shareable—then keep track of mentions to gauge how your event fared online.
And there’s more where that came from! Check out the full list here.
That’s all from us, folks!