Insight: Issue 50 (23rd June)
Welcome to the only non-football news you’ll read today!
We’ve got: a closer look at the UK government’s pilot events and COVID-safety measures; an exclusive interview with the tourism minister saying business events will play a ‘vital role’ in the reopening of the economy (damn straight); a new study that suggests event profs are overwhelmed with the sheer amount of data produced by virtual events (not a bad problem to have, if you ask us); virtual event platforms are merging left right and centre in a race to provide the best end-to-end event solution; and some creative ideas for hybrid networking, for good measure.
A closer look at the UK govt’s pilot events
The dust has settled after the launch of the government’s Events Research Programme and the pilot events in Liverpool – and while we wait for the actual results, there’s plenty we can learn already. Phil Hayes, CEO of Ticketsellers and Eventree, suggests that the following is the best course of action, based on what we know right now:
- Anyone who has had at least 1 vaccine dose should be okay to attend a festival. Vaccine status can be shown using the NHS app and backed up with photo ID.
- Anyone under 18 could be admitted without any checks. These people are mostly at schools or colleges with plenty of mingling already taking place.
- Anyone who doesn’t fall into these 2 categories could take a lateral flow test 24 hours before arriving at the festival. Proof could be captured in a number of ways (e.g. taking a selfie while holding the test kit, making sure the QR code is shown).
He says that while this won’t completely eliminate the risk of COVID transmission at a festival, it will significantly reduce it. Plus, none of these measures would place much (if any) financial burden on festival organisers or attendees – but it *would* mean events could take place over the summer, and it *would* allow for the events industry to begin the slow recovery from the devastation of 2020.
And that sounds pretty good to us.
Business events to play ‘vital role’ in reopening
In an exclusive interview with Conference News, tourism minister Nigel Huddleston has said that business events will play a vital role in the reopening of the economy – with the government’s new Tourism Recovery Plan encouraging greater domestic event attendance.
A core aim of the plan is to recover domestic tourism overnight trip volume and spend to 2019 levels by the end of 2022, and inbound visitor numbers and spend by the end of 2023 – and business events will, of course, be a big draw. Huddleston added that he knows the events industry is desperate to get back to business, once and for all:
“There is genuinely a vested interest on all sides to make sure that we get this sector, which adds billions of pounds to the UK economy every year, up and running again. So, we want to do that as soon as possible.”
If you’re looking for a detailed rundown on what the plan says about business events, you’ll find it here.
Is there such a thing as too much data?
New research has shown that 1 in 2 event profs are struggling with the sheer volume of data collected from virtual events – with the majority collecting more data today than ever before. If you ask us, this is a bit of a ‘champagne problem’…but good data practices will nevertheless be crucial for ensuring the smooth running of virtual and hybrid events in the coming months. In fact, the study found data management to be high on the priority list for 94% of event organisers, with 73% of planners currently taking steps to improve their data strategy in 2021-2022.
The study, which is titled ‘The Changing Role of Event Data – New Challenges & Opportunities’, was conducted by Eventsforce in May 2021 and recorded the views of 200+ event profs in the US and the UK. If you’re curious, you can download the report in full here.
Can one virtual meeting platform rule them all?
In light of this data overload, it seems consolidation may be key. Virtual event platforms are now bending over backwards to offer one-size-fits-all, end-to-end solutions for event profs seeking to streamline their online events – and they’re acquiring lots of smaller businesses in the process.
Last week, virtual streaming giant Hopin announced it was purchasing the physical event services business Boomset (which came hot off the heels of LinkedIn’s massive investment in the company). Cisco has bought Socio, after just closing a deal on Slido last month. Wireless service provider Verizon also recently purchased the video conferencing provider BlueJeans, in order to provide unified communications across the board. And these are just a few examples.
The bottom line is, the big companies are getting bigger – but time will tell whether they can deliver the easy, off-the-shelf solution that many are promising.
8 creative ideas for networking at hybrid events
And last for today, what’s the one aspect of virtual and hybrid events that no online platform has cracked yet?…Yep, it’s networking.
That’s why BizBash has corralled event and meeting profs from around the world to share how they’re getting creative and connecting virtual and in-person audiences. From meticulous planning and all-inclusive platforms, to gamification and good-old group chats – there’s lots on the list to inform and inspire.
Okay, okay. You can go back to the footie now.