Today, events prove to be an inborn segment of the entertainment industry as well as the corporate culture. It is valued at billions of dollars. The mayhem caused by the novel Coronavirus made the economy face the brunt of this menace and obviously the event industry couldn’t be a stranger to this trend. As the lockdown was announced, outdoor gatherings came to an absolute standstill. Though organizing events on the ground required a different skillset altogether, going online also has its own perks. There are ideas that are costly to implement outdoors but are cheaper online with the help of animation. It has become essential for everyone working in event industry to brush up their skills and acquire new expertise to keep up with the ever changing world. This article completely revolves around online event management and how successful it has become today.
Hundreds of events have been cancelled all over the world due to the outbreak of the pandemic. Waking up to the news of cancellations or postponements have become the new normal. If there is one such thing that is becoming a point of discussion among event planners and organizers today, it has to be disruption. The global landscape changed enormously in matter of few weeks. In this situation, event organizers need to reconsider their options. They are required to rethink of ways which can balance two of their main priorities. On one hand, it is crucial to maintain health and safety of staff, sponsors, and attendees; and on the other hand, it is necessary to meet financial obligations (at least to the extent that minimize the losses caused by disruption).
Before the pandemic broke out, the event management industry in India was expected to cross Rs10,000 crore mark by 2021. Unfortunately, it has suffered 75% loss this year.
It is well said, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” Likewise, the event sector has numerous innovative ideas in store which involves hosting events which viewers can get to enjoy right from the comfort of their homes. According to an analysis presented by Ernst and Young (EY), 94% brands aim to explore the sector of digital IPs to improve consumer attraction and retention in the new normal. Further, around 85% of these companies are taking active interest in developing the digital IPs, while 90% have identified alliances which will help them provide the same.
Keeping these figures in mind, it should be noted that the dynamic sphere of events will not always have a digital orientation. According to experts, a gradual transition will be observed. It will entail three primary phases – phase 1 is the initial 3-5 months boasting about online events, phase 2 is for the next 6 months which marks for slow as well as contained start of physical experience with limited attendees, and finally the phase 3 will be followed in another 6 months to a year, wherein the entire industry will be bouncing back stronger and better. Phase 3 completely prioritize on aspects such as consumer safety and personal hygiene amongst other facets.
Keeping in view the current scenario, these unprecedented times gave birth to some solutions which the industry is driving home the new normal. These include:
- Virtual events
Multiple technological disruptions enabled the seamless online conduction of events, seminars, conclaves, meetings and conferences by involving a large number of participants. There are several platforms which are used for hosting activities along with features such as live as well as pre-recorded content, simultaneous running of varied breakout sessions, space for sponsors to showcase their products and services amongst others. Providing the access to recordings even after the event is over, tends to be a great delight for the audience. Such events deliver a very realistic experience to the viewer due to the strong user interface.
- Increased personalisation
The conventional events are characterised by hundreds of people, a large arena and a stage where the artist performs. However, while surveying numerous individuals mentioned that they could not enjoy to the fullest as they felt disconnected or uncomfortable by the overcrowding of the venue. The events which are being organised today successfully overcome all these flaws and provide consumers with the opportunity to enjoy the show from the comfort of their very homes. In addition to this, many instances have been noted wherein the artists have honoured the requests made by the viewers. Personalisation is further increased as this arrangement provides an actual glimpse into the life of one’s favourite performer.
- Modern advertising techniques
The corona era has noted a rise in the advertising methods which are highly consumer-centric, dynamic and engaging. Social media usage by consumers has increased as they are restricted within the confines of their homes. In the wake of this trend, several organisations have resorted to online platforms to generate awareness, drive traffic, promotion of upcoming virtual events as well as enhancement of viewer participation.
- Global presence
The biggest change that the new normal has brought with itself is the re-establishment of the world as a global village. However, this time it is a virtual village that connects everyone sitting at their respective places waiting for these hours to pass. Virtual events are a sigh of relief as they overcome geographical barriers. With this transition, individuals across the globe get to experience the performance of their beloved artists from the comfort of their homes.
- Improved physical experiences
As the event industry knocks the door for a complete restart in the absence of a suitable vaccine, organisers and planners need to work on consumer safety on priority basis. It is a well-recognized fact that the virus has instilled fear in the minds of millions and people are afraid to be present at places where they might have to face a crowd. Hence, in the post Covid era, only those will succeed who are able to make their audience feel safe. This can be ensured by using active communication channels and empowering the customers with policies such as easy cancellation of bookings.
It is safe to assume that companies are no longer money-making entities, but giant empires that are trying to fulfill the smallest needs of their customers by providing them a comfortable atmosphere. Finally, companies should aspire, both digitally as well as physically, to build communities. These groups promote enhanced cross-selling, enhanced loyalty and increased testing of new goods.
Going digital isn’t as easy as setting up a webcam and video feed. You cannot expect an online event to run exactly the same way you would have an offline event.
The event industry is built to encourage social interaction. With lockdowns and quarantines globally reshaping the way we communicate and socialise, it has become necessary for the event sector to reconsider what networking needs. As we search for innovative ways to remain linked in this unparalleled time of social alienation, there is seen a sector-wide move into digital solutions: from large-scale annual events such as Microsoft Create and [email protected] 2020 to smaller, casual events such as virtual marriage solemnization. Event planners and companies still struggle to carry their typical offline events online.
Digital events will stay with us for a while now. And, even if we find our way back to physical events, online events will remain important. Digital conferences seem to be a part of physical conferences in the future. This new trend of trial-by-fire of online events would give rise to an ecosystem of hybrid events. In few years, one might also experience activities where physical spectators and digital participants exploit technologies to blend, which will be facilitated by Digital Elevation Models.