Coronavirus – The coming out party for virtual conferences

Thankfully most people affected by coronavirus will make a full recovery within weeks or are just struggling to get their hands on hand sanitiser, face masks or loo roll.

The same can’t be said for businesses around the world who are already being hit hard by event cancellations.

Our account director Ollie works with businesses who are facing this reality and explains what this means for the events industry.

You’re a huge international company with people based all over the world.

The biggest event in your annual calendar may have to be pulled to keep delegates and your own people safe. What now?

This Top 200 conference – which was scheduled to take place this summer takes months and months of planning and is a vital part of your business growth strategy.

That conference is the best opportunity for everyone to come together, network, and share what works and what doesn’t. It’s a really valuable time for your business.

But if you have to pull the plug it means that even long after coronavirus packs up and gives us a rest, that Top 200 conference that everyone loves so much will never be the same again.

Here’s why…

Health

This pesky virus has shown how easily harmful things spread, and what better breeding ground than a room with your 200 most important people in it.

Think about it. How often do you get home after attending an event like this, and you feel a little under the weather? A tickly cough, or a sniffly nose. It’s not a disaster, but you’ve got something.

What coronavirus has shown is one person can infect many, so putting all these people in a room for three days doesn’t seem that wise anymore.

Money

Plus, that conference ain’t cheap.

All that production, with the staging, the lights, the sound. Plus, you have to fly your top people in (probably in business class) from every corner of the globe.

The costs add up.

And then you think, you’re spending all this money just to make everyone ill! That sounds like madness! Well maybe it is. What if there was another way?

Technology

That’s right, there is. It’s called virtual conferencing.

It’s when you broadcast all that amazing content you have to every corner of the globe, for much less money.

But what about the interaction? What about the networking? What about people logging on and then not actually watching?

Well, let’s be honest… The ones that aren’t watching online aren’t exactly sitting at the front eagerly writing notes in the live event are they? No, they’re probably sitting at the back checking their emails, or Reddit.

As for the interaction, I could argue virtual conferences are better for this. People can have their say seamlessly, without having to put up their hand or put their name to a question. Plus, when planned properly, your delegates should be interacting before the start and after the event’s ended.

The one thing missing here is the networking, but you can’t have it all – plus that’s exactly the thing we’re trying to avoid in the first place… Human to human contact.

So what do you do now?

This new reality is easier than it sounds. And, if done right it, can mean that you actually get a greater return on investment as well as improving your green credentials at the same time.

That’s it, the new reality.

That top 200 conference you love has changed forever. You can blame coronavirus if you want, but it won’t get you anywhere.

Instead, get with the programme. Put your virtual conference hat on, and start embracing the technology – now you’re a 2020 Event Planner.

When you’ve done all that – and only after you’ve done ALL that – give us a call, and we can start planning your next virtual conference. Of course, as we are now virtual, drop us an email too – hello@cwa.co.uk

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Written by
Oliver Lee
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