With the World Health Organization characterising the Coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic, alternative event delivery methods are top of our minds to ensure that meetings and conferences that require real-time engagement continue without interruption.
In this interview, Church House’s Audio-Visual Manager, Bradley Hill, explains how the venue is utilising event technology to ensure that events can continue to take place, virtually…
Q: What kind of impact on events have you seen in the last two weeks?
A: At Church House, we’ve seen event organisers carefully weigh up the impact of a possible cancellation or postponement. These crucial in-person face-to-face events are important. Organisers don’t need to cancel or postpone events. Instead, we have suggested that meetings and conferences are moved online. As a virtual events venue, our expert guidance and industry-leading event technology allow events to continue to take place using a digital solution.
Q: What suggestions have you offered to these event organisers?
A: Whilst re-imagining meetings in the current climate, face-to-face interaction remains critical. So, it’s about ensuring real-time engagement (interactive two-way conversations) with audiences. We use WebEx Meetings which does exactly that, and with this application, we can host virtual events from two up to 10,000 people. It’s a versatile application which allows event organisers to incorporate many elements of an in-person event and more, for example
- With our professional video design and production services, we can either live stream the virtual event or record it. The latter then enables the organiser to make it available post-event on-demand as gated or ungated content, which is great for lead generation. Or, add it to your YouTube channel or Facebook, which will extend the reach of the event long after the livestream.
- We can add multiple and concurrent breakout sessions for smaller forums to support a large conference
- Our virtual meetings facilitate online networking and virtual socialising
- It also incorporates chat forums, Q+As, and polling buttons to increase audience engagement
- We are giving clients an opportunity to tell their unique story visually with a compelling message, as the screens move seamlessly from the speaker to presentations
Q: What are the benefits of virtual events?
A: For event organisers, provided it is done right, the pros are multi-fold.
- The opportunity to grow your audience with virtual events and reach new and relevant audiences at a fraction of the price.
- Better ROI on events. Lead generation is amplified as event organisers can track leads, from sign-ups to those who attend the webcast.
- Greater attendee engagement. Organisers can leverage the interactive nature of the event experience, which will allow content to come alive virtually.
- It is good for the environment, hosting a virtual event as opposed to an in-person event cuts down on CO2 emissions, and lowers your company’s carbon footprint, which promotes sustainability.
Q: What are your top tips for getting the best out of online events?
Firstly, decide on your goals for the event. From this flows the type of technology to be used and what data sets are to be collected and measured. Choose from a completely virtual event or adding a virtual element to the event. The format should emphasise and enhance the delegate experience.
Secondly, choose the right environment. Here at Church House we have 19 versatile event spaces set up and ready for virtual events to take place throughout the day at a moment’s notice. The rooms are bright and airy, and equipped with all the latest event technology organisers would need to host a virtual event. Flexible half-day hire, and full-day hire rates are available at really short notice, and our in-house AV team is on hand to plan and coordinate every detail of the event.
Thirdly, the technology is continuously evolving and is set to increase in popularity. Companies that will benefit most from this technology will be the early adopters, keen to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Q: What feedback have you had from event organisers using this technology?
Organisers have been quick to realise that the sky is the limit for virtual events if they allow themselves to think outside the box. No longer will the organiser be limited in terms of speakers or audiences. Organisers can now consider remote presenters and various locations and a translation option for languages to provide real value to audiences.