We will agree COVID-19 is forcing planners to put virtual events in practice. Whilst many are still discussing whether virtual is the next step forward instead of cancellation as a mean of mitigating loss, early adopters are already kicking off their marketing events through Webinars, Live-streaming, webcast and an accumulation of various form of events many term “Virtual”. When we asked some of our fortune 500 clients, why would they take their event virtual? Here’s my favourite response, “Business must go on as customers are waiting, bored & tired of the business in-activity”.
With huge effort on hygienic regulations & biblical-thick SOPs from major international hotels, resorts, convention centers and off-site venues, the array of options and best of all ‘flexibility’ for business events are aplenty. But, you may ask the most important question in this current time – should I take my event fully virtual, hybrid or wait it out for physical live event to be back?
Physical Live Events
No humans should ever doubt that we are social species that rely on cooperation to survive & thrive – the very reason why global events is valued at USD1.1 trillion in 2018 (figures by Allied Market Research). But the larger question is not with corporate clients not wanting to host the event, but if attendees would show up to the event and if they do, what if one attendee is asymptomatic to COVID-19? Corporate would not want their name to be at the front page, at least not for this reason, I reckoned. Naturally this leads us to a virtual event option – and then comes the question – Fully Virtual or Hybrid? Before I continue here’s a quick idea of the differences:
Physical / Live Event – All attendees are physically present in one location
Virtual Event – People attend the event entirely online
Virtual Live Event – People attend the event entirely online and the event is stream to audience LIVE!
Hybrid – Some people attend in person while others online
Virtual Live Events
Virtual live event is ideal because it allows you to engage and interact with participants even without having them to be in the same room, and vice versa. Speakers can acknowledge participants as they join or enter a session, which provides authenticity to the speaking engagement. We yearn for live events and delivering any keynote on a green screen in our studio—yet still be able to see everyone from a preview monitor whilst having the opportunity to interact live at any given moment is the exhilarating.
But there are certain scenarios where Hybrid events comes in handy because they are the best of both worlds. Some of the participants especially those who have been complaining of business in-activity, are able to attend face-to-face while others are “admitting into the event virtually”, thus adding to the benefit of the overall interaction. Hybrid events can also be used as a method for cost reduction since you don’t have time and travel expenses for the entire attendee pool. Allowing attendees to experience the event from wherever they sit in the world, either in-person or online, gives flexibility and convenience and allows you to expand your impact regardless of geography or locations. Besides, with only one third of the total participants, depending on venue’s capacity, it’s a great way to abide by social distancing and attendees can finally say “Finally, I can interact with my peers physically”.
Perhaps the new norm is about living side-by-side with COVID-19, much like other fatal diseases that have plagued the world - HIV, Ebola, SARS, and more commonly in South East Asia - Malaria (also term as an ancient disease). This will hold true until we lay hands on the elusive COVID-19 vaccine. Like our clients put it, life must go on and their clients are waiting, “bored & tired of the inactivity”.