Latest News: COVID-19 and the events industry (02 April)
Serious question. . .what would we do without the internet?
In one way or another, we’ve all been relying on virtual meetings to get us through these bizarre few weeks. Whether that’s a virtual happy hour with friends on a Friday night, a mid-week Zoom pub quiz, or just a good old-fashioned FaceTime with the family—each providing a much-needed distraction.
So—in tribute to our friend, the internet—today’s briefing is about all things virtual. We’ve got tips on creating virtual and hybrid events; a virtual success story, which saw a live event go digital; and rounding off with news of a global relief fund for live music crews that you can donate to…you guessed it…ONLINE.
2020 = Year of the Virtual Event
Now that we’re settling into life on lockdown (ish), and with no end to social distancing in sight, the reality is really starting to sink in…we won’t be out of the woods for a while yet. So we might as well celebrate the fact that 2020 is, well and truly, the Year of the Virtual Event. After all, what’s not to like? They’re cost-effective, easy to run, and—most importantly right now—they won’t be cancelled due to circumstances outwith your control.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to familiarise yourself with how virtual events work, and how you can be using them to your advantage. Our last briefing mentioned what *not* to do in a virtual meeting (always good to know)—but what about the things you *should definitely* be doing? To get you started, Event Industry News has some good tips, such as gems like this…
“Teach a man to host an event, he’ll host one every year.
Teach a man to host a virtual event, he’ll host one every day”.
…That’s deep, guys.
The hybrid halfway house
Eventually, as lockdown restrictions are eased, we may be able to move from solely virtual meetings to hybrid events—a combination of live-streaming and face-to-face interaction. This transition brings with it a whole new set of challenges, but nothing a bit of forward-thinking and a savvy technical crew can’t handle.
MeetingsNet has you covered with advice on hosting hybrid events—from the gear you’ll need for a live-stream and the sheer amount of testing you’ll need to do (spoiler alert…it’s a lot); to tips on keeping attendees engaged, both during and after the event. Plus, they stress the importance of choosing the right professional partner (*ahem*…you know where to find us).
Looking beyond lockdown
Though we’ll be on lockdown for the foreseeable future, there’s no harm in thinking ahead to a time when we can freely leave our homes and, dare we say it, gather in groups of more than 2! If you’re planning an event for Q4 of 2020, why not use this time to start crafting the experience? Because the value of these live event experiences will be felt even more keenly after months in isolation.
When this is over, we’ll value face-to-face interaction all the more.
MeetingsNet strikes again with some critical considerations when designing the meeting experience. This covers all the basics—from setting your event’s objectives, picking a venue and planning your itinerary; to envisaging the look & feel and adding those all-important creative flourishes. AKA, all the ingredients for an extra-special experience.
A virtual success story
While we eagerly await the day when live events resume, how about some good news?
When disruption hits, event profs have no choice but to be flexible. Luckily, that’s one of our strengths. Back in March, the world’s largest annual travel trade show—ITB Berlin—was one of the first exhibition casualties of the coronavirus outbreak. More than 130,000 people were due to arrive in Berlin for the biggest event in the global tourism calendar—which, at its core, is designed to “build up the strongest business and customer relations through face-to-face encounter”.
With new travel restrictions in place, and the first cases of COVID-19 appearing in Germany, the event was thrown into doubt. So within the space of 2 days, ITB had adapted their platform to allow meetings to take place online instead—with up to 500 virtual meetings occurring after the event’s cancellation. The moral of the story? At a time when we can’t meet in person, technology and open minds can keep bringing us together.
Let’s hear it for the crew
Last for today, Live Nation has announced the launch of Crew Nation—a $10m global relief fund to support live music crews during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement, the company said:
“Live music inspires millions around the world, but the concerts we all enjoy wouldn’t be possible without the countless crew members working behind the scenes. As COVID-19 puts concerts on pause, we want to extend a helping hand to the touring and venue crews who depend on shows to make a living.”
Live Nation will initially contribute $5m to help support concert crews around the world. They will then match the next $5m given by artists, fans, and employees dollar for dollar. You can donate here.
Stay home. Stay positive.