Category: Blog

New Social-Distancing Tools for In-Person Events and 6 Other Stories to Read

Social distancing tools

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This month’s round-up of top tech stories has a big focus on social-distancing and temperature screening tools organisers may need to look at when planning their in-person events in the near future.  Highlights include a new mapping system for room layouts and wearable devices that ensure attendees are following social distancing guidelines.  We’ve also got some interesting updates from the world of social media – including new audio tweet functionality from Twitter and an app from Facebook that drives engagement at live events.

Have a look at the top tech stories you don’t want to miss:

Event Industry News: New Social Distancing Tool Eases Transition to In-Person Events

What should ballrooms look like when we are all back to meeting again? Event planners no longer have to worry about figuring that out. A new event tech tool could smooth the return to meetings by making it easy to plan room layouts that take each region’s safety rules and recommendations into account.

Using algorithms based on local government restrictions, the new mapping tool from Allseated will allow meeting planners to set parameters and see what a space will look like, how new rules will affect capacity, room entry and food service—all while putting the safety of guests and staff first. Read more.

On-Demand Webinar: Choosing virtual event platforms – how to get it right!

TechCrunch: Twitter Begins Rolling Out Audio Tweets

Interesting news for event marketers – social media giant, Twitter, has announced that it is rolling out new ‘audio tweets’ which allow users to share thoughts in audio form inside their feeds.  The feature will only be available to some iOS users for now – no word on an Android or web roll-out yet.

In terms of how it works, users can write a new tweet as they normally might, but now, alongside options to attach a photo or video, there’s a new button where users can record a quick audio message. The platform limits these audio clips to 140 seconds – however, when the limit is reached, users aren’t cut off.  Instead, a new tweet will be threaded beneath the original, allowing opinions and thoughts to continue throughout.  Think about people using the tool around sessions – will it help drive engagement? One to keep an eye on. Read more.

NorthStar Meetings Group: Wearable Devices Could Help Attendees Keep Their Distance at Events

With live events slowly making a comeback – how can organisers ensure that attendees are following social-distancing restrictions?  It seems technology might have the answer. Phone apps and wearable devices that use Bluetooth technology to enforce social distancing, track COVID-19 symptoms and alert anyone who may have been exposed to the virus already are being used in offices and nursing homes. Sports stadiums are also looking to roll out wearable tracking devices that could help fill stadium seats, while ensuring guests maintain a safe distance. And it seems live events could be next.

This article highlights some of the new wearable tech that’s coming out that can help attendees keep their distance at events.  One example is a wearable wristband from Halo which vibrates within six feet of another band.  It can also be used for contact tracing, as they are designed to keep records of all interactions, including which other bands they came near, when and how many times. Another company has developed wireless, chargeable devices that can be worn around the neck or on the wrist. Those wearing the device can report their health status in real time. Read more.

Forbes: Facebook Launches ‘Venue’ to Focus More on Live Events

Facebook has released a new live event tool called “Venue” which improves the second screen experience for people watching live events. Available on both iOS and Android, the company aims to bring passionate fans and expert commentators together to experience live events in a new interactive way. The app provides interactive actions, while the live event is happening. It also provides interactive questions and polls – as well as the option of opening up short chats all around the specific moments of the live event.

It’s an interesting development because despite drawing large concurrent viewership, live broadcasts are still mostly a solo viewing experience. Passionate sporting fans, for example, are constantly looking for better ways to engage with other fans and experts around their favourite events. Facebook Venue aims to give fans an interactive second-screen experience, curated by experts and centred on the pivotal moments of their favourite events. Read more.

Corporate Meetings Network: Mobile Event Apps – How to Choose the Right One

Mobile event apps are almost expected today and will become even more important as face-to-face exhibitions resume. But with so many vendors offering similar features, how do you decide which is the best one?  While research shows cost is the biggest determining factor for organisers when selecting an event app, it shouldn’t be the only one.

This article looks at some of the key things planners should look at when investing in an event app – whether they’re running in-person, virtual or hybrid events.  Having good integration capabilities, for example, is key. Find out whether you can integrate your current event technologies with the app. This could (and should) include ticketing solutions, virtual event platforms, digital maps and interactivity tools for audience engagement. Your event app provider should be able to customise connections between their technology and your existing software to fit your event. Otherwise, your technology will be fragmented, resulting in a waste of time, energy and data. Read more.

EventMB: How to Screen Event Attendees for Covid-19 On-Site

As in-person events resume, many options for screening attendees for possible infection are emerging. Each has its pros and cons – and sorting out which is right for your event presents its own challenges. Many organisers are also wondering exactly how much protection do these screening methods offer, and how practical are they to implement? People seem understandably reluctant to invest in technologies that may offer only limited benefits, particularly when budgets are already strained under the pressure of economic recovery.

This article from the team at EventMB offers a useful breakdown of the different methods available in terms of cost, accuracy, and scalability. Thermal cameras, for example, have been growing in popularity because they allow a large number of people to be screened simultaneously. These devices typically range in price from $5,000 to $30,000 USD, but some of the more affordable models lack the accuracy required for medical applications.  Handheld contactless thermometers, on the other hand, provide a more precise way to measure fevers, and they are theoretically less expensive if you disregard the added labour costs.  Read more.

CNBC: Zoom Will Give End to end encryption to all users

Over the past few months, many of us have been relying heavily on video conferencing tools like Zoom to conduct meetings and events online.  But numerous reports on call hijacking or ‘Zoom bombing’ have raised serious security concerns with organisers relying on the platform for their virtual events.  So it’s no surprise that the company has now announced it will be offerings stronger end-to-end encryption for all its users (rather than just for certain paying users).

Industry eBook: The Event Planner’s Guide to Data Security

This is good news – especially for those running events with where security is key.  End-to-end encryption is technology that prevents anybody except the sender and recipient of a call from being able to access any of the information in the call.  The features will become available in beta this month. And hosts will be able to enable or disable it for each meeting or stream, and account admins will be able to the same for groups or individual accounts.  Read more.

 


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7 Key Skills for Running Successful Virtual Events

7 Key Skills for Running Successful Virtual Events

Managing virtual events requires a different set of skills from event planners – from filming and broadcasting to writing scripts and dealing with new tech. But according to a new poll from Eventsforce this month, 53% of event planners do not feel they have the necessary skills nor experience in running successful online events. This could be very worrying, especially as these events are going to be around for a while.

Is delivering successful virtual events just about having good broadcast production skills?  Is it more about IT or audience psychology? And is it as overwhelming as many seem to think?

The good news is that many of the skills needed by event planners have already been gained by delivering live events. So these can be easily transferred across to help deliver a virtual production. However, there are a number of other key traits and skills that would also help in running successful virtual events.  Let’s take a look.

NEW WEBINAR: Choosing Virtual Event Platforms – How to Get it Right!

1) TV Production Mindset  

Event planners need to transition their thinking. No longer are they effectively stage-managing live events, they are now producing a virtual one. The planner has become a producer, making a programme – not running an event.

This approach highlights some key differences that need to be addressed. For example, at a live event, delegates may not worry too much if the schedule slips and runs late. After all, there are other delegates they can talk to. However, that is not the case with virtual productions. When things don’t run on time, you risk the chance of delegates leaving.

The mindset trait for successful virtual events is that the planner has to be production focused. Watching a news programme or an online talk show enables you to see the techniques used to keep viewers. You can adopt some of their tricks and tips and replicate for your virtual event.

Read: 7 mistakes to avoid when using Facebook live at events

2) Listening and Data Analysis Skills      

Listening and analysing data skills have long been needed for live events, so using these for a virtual production should not present experienced planner with any issues. You always need to be looking at the analytics, listening to what your audience want and improving the ROI of your event.

In your fact finding: establish how long attendees are prepared to stay online, find out how they like content to be delivered and ascertain any nuances such as whether they really want to do group networking. There are numerous clues in how to produce a great virtual event when you take the time and trouble to understand what your audience and the data is telling you.

3) Visualising Skills

Visualising what an event will look like is a skill that event planners already have. And it’s this skill which then needs to be used for your virtual production. You will be a long way ahead of your competition just by understanding that not all content is capable of being delivered virtually. Some activities just do not work.

Let’s say you are going to produce a virtual conference and one of your speakers wants to deliver group team building. Your job as the virtual event producer is to decide whether the idea is practical or not and whether it will enhance the delegate experience. Only recently, a speaker was arguing with technology companies about the fact that they hadn’t come up with a solution he needed for his group exercise. Whilst his exercise works well in a physical format, it wasn’t going to work in the virtual world.

Being able to visualise how activities could work virtually is super important. If they are not going to work, then alternatives need to be found.

4) Design Skills     

Design is another key skill needed for your virtual production to be a success. You need to consider session length, maximising audience engagement tools and most importantly how your audience will benefit.  All of these skills are already known to event planners. However, the challenge that trips up a lot of people is the speed with which time evaporates with virtual events.

Once you have decided on the main elements of content, you need to drill into each specific session and design appropriately. For example, you have a 30-minute slot for a session. The session needs to include: an introduction from your host, time for the speaker to deliver their presentation, time for questions and polling and time for the host to close. Suddenly that 30-minute slot looks quite tight. This is when you need to decide whether to expand the time or re-design the session.

You need to design virtual events from the ground up. They are not something you can instantly throw together.

5) Attention to Detail      

Whilst event planners are pretty good at dealing with detail, this skill becomes accentuated to a whole new level when producing virtual events. There is a lot more testing to be done.

With virtual events you can never do too much testing. The user experience has to be checked on different devices, different web browsers and of course the right versions of any apps have to be interrogated. Web links and audience interaction software must also be thoroughly checked out. If you are not 100% comfortable with how the polling works, don’t expect your delegates to figure it out.

Whilst attention to detail is not the most glamorous element in the life of a virtual producer, it is absolutely essential. One of the easiest ways to work out whether you are providing a great experience for your delegates is to sit in their seat. Try it out before going live and make improvements. Your event will be a whole lot better for taking time and getting the detail right.

6) Speaker Management     

Directing speakers is a new skill for some, but a vital one for virtual productions. Usually at live events, a planner may allow speakers to do their thing, without much involvement. After all the speaker is the expert and that’s what the planner wants. The planner will have briefed the speaker and that’s the end of it. However, sometimes things can go wrong. For example, speakers run over time, ignore the audience or spend too long talking about themselves. For a virtual production, you cannot afford for any of those things to happen.

You need to direct your speakers. You need to produce thorough speaker briefing notes. You need your presenters to do rehearsals with you. There is a lot more to go through: checking their presentation capabilities, how they look on camera, if the sound quality is good and where they are positioned are just a few of the things that planners need to direct speakers on.

7) Responsiveness and Proactivity

Having a ‘Plan B’ is useful for any event but even more so for a virtual production. What will you do if one of the speakers can’t be seen or heard? What if they cannot turn up because they have a personal tragedy to deal with? You need a solution and you need it quickly. One of the answers is to have them send in their pre-recorded presentation in advance. If you engage the services of a ‘virtual host’ you can solve other issues as they crop up.

Getting ahead of potential issues is well advised. However, not everything can be predicted. At a live event you may have more time to consider and deal with issues. But, for a virtual production you have to be able to problem solve much quicker and in the moment. You need to be making decisive decisions or else your viewers will log off.  Don’t forget that TV production mind-set we talked about at the start.

Next Steps – Where to Find Skills and Resources  

Some of the skills and traits highlighted may feel overwhelming. Or you may already have them in abundance. But, whatever your situation, it’s a good idea to be honest about what you and your team members are good at.

There are many options for developing skills through learning programmes and courses developed by associations, film schools and other providers. Many of these are available on-line which means you can learn in your own time.

If you need to call in external expertise, then do so. It will be an invaluable investment especially if you are short on people and time. And at the same time, you can be taking courses to develop your own virtual credentials.

Whether your organisation should acquire the skills or outsource will be determined by many factors. But it’s worth bearing in mind that the answer to this depends on the overall production values needed for your event. If your stakeholders or clients are happy with a home-grown approach, you may be able to do without the need for extra help.

Conclusion

Running a virtual event requires a very particular set of skills. Many event planners will have some of these skills and some will need to be acquired. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 a lot of organisations have been willing to accept less than perfect virtual experiences, but as time goes on that will change and they will expect better and more polished virtual events that demonstrate a strong ROI.


Need help with your virtual events?   Eventsforce can help you deliver all your event content online and engage with remote audiences much in the same way you would for your in-person events. Click here for more information or get in touch for a chat.

8 Reasons Conferences Invest in Abstract Management Software

Why conferences and events invest in abstract management software

Whether you are running a multi-day virtual conference or making plans for your association’s annual meeting next year, you know how critical it is for you to find great topics and speakers. It can have a huge impact on registrations and an even bigger impact on how well your event is perceived.  However, managing speaker and abstract submissions for your conference is complicated enough when everything goes according to plan, let alone when it’s rushed, or hasn’t been carefully thought through.

This is where abstract management systems can help.

If you are not yet using an automated platform, here are 10 reasons why it’s good to invest in the software and increase your event engagement and ROI.

1. Increase the Volume of Submissions

If you want to increase abstract and speaker submissions for your virtual or in-person conference, then you need a system that makes it easier for people to submit content. If the process is complicated, then it’s only going to put people off. If you rely on handwritten notes or spreadsheets that quickly go out of date, it’s going to take more of your valuable time and resources and is unlikely to give you the results that you want.

If you use a dedicated abstract management system a lot of the pain goes away and opportunities start to appear. You can source great speakers and content for your programme with mobile-responsive tools that make it quick and easy for people to submit their abstracts online wherever they are.

For example, some systems like Eventsforce Abstracts allow you to send personalised invitations to engage audiences and encourage papers. Easy-to-navigate forms with clear submission guidelines simply the process for people – while allowing them to submit multiple abstracts at the same. They also have tools that simplify the process of making complex, scientific abstract submissions (images, tables and formulae). These are just some of the things you can do to increase the volume of submissions.

2. Improve the Quality of Your Event Content

The abstract process is important because it offers the opportunity to showcase new research in the event’s relevant field. By sourcing cutting-edge and diverse research, you’re more likely to attract the right attendees and get them to come again the following year.

By using abstract management software, you greatly increase the chances of attracting more submissions and then you can decide which are the best. After all, by using the software it’s easy for you to set your own abstract topics and submission parameters. You can also customise and capture information in the format you want. This makes comparing abstracts less time consuming. Employing consistency through use of the system will help improve the quality of the content too.

3. Engage More Abstract Reviewers  

To attract the right speakers, conference organisers typically ask members of their community to submit proposals to find the most interesting and relevant content for their event.  Once this call for abstracts (or papers) is sent out, the submissions are then reviewed by a team of reviewers whose aim is to select those presentations that promise to deliver a high-quality programme to attendees.

Reviewers are absolutely critical to your success. You can make sure that they are engaged and doing the best possible job for you by making their life easier through using an abstract management system. For example, you can assign topics and tracks they’re responsible for. You can give them a wide range of scoring tools.  You can also make it easy for them to review submissions securely online – anytime and on any device. Plus you can give your reviewers the flexibility to save their work and return to it at a later date.

4. Monitor Progress in Real-Time

Monitoring progress in real time is something that the software can help you with. You can stay on top of how many abstracts are coming in, which submissions are incomplete and which stream areas are doing better than others.  Having such a system will identify potential problem areas and help you assess the best way of addressing them. For example, too many submissions in one topic area (over others) may indicate that the topic description is too broad. Based on this information, you may decide to sub-categorise and create new sub-topics instead.

5. Save Time Managing Conference Programmes

Using abstract management software can greatly ease your time burden and make you more productive, by reducing your workload and making the process a lot easier to manage.

For example, with Eventsforce Abstracts, you can use an intelligent programme management tool to link selected abstracts to sessions and build your event’s agenda without the need for complex spreadsheets. You can make quick changes to abstracts, presentation time slots, speakers and room allocations and publish them automatically on event websites, registration forms and virtual event platforms. This provides you with peace of mind that the information attendees see is always accurate and up-to-date.

The same applies with publishing abstract books and posters.  The system will allow you to easily export all your data to your abstract book or poster publishers through an open API. This ensures that your publishers will always see the most up-to-date information. It gives you the flexibility to make changes as needed and from wherever you happen to be.

By automating important time-consuming tasks, the technology will help you focus your efforts on the more critical aspects such as calling for abstracts and briefing reviewers.

6. Improve Your Results by Analysing Data   

When data is so important to help you: learn what’s working, what appeals to delegates and what’s on topic, it is essential that you have software that helps you with your decision making. Data helps you refine and improve your future events.

Abstract management solutions allow you to build a central database across all your events so that you can get the insight you need for event success. You can discover more about popular topics, reviewers, speakers and attendees with reports on abstracts per topic, registrations, session selections, attendance, revenue and more.

Data can be monitored across multiple events or used for making year-on year comparisons so that you can easily track the growth of your events over time. These reporting tools can save organisers a lot of time too.

7. Meet GDPR Requirements  

Another business reason for investing in an abstract management solution is to ensure that you meet data protection requirements such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).The EU legislation came into effect in May 2018 and has since had a profound effect in the way organisations collect, process and look after peoples’ personal information.

Consequently, event organisers have become a lot more aware of what personal data they collect, where they store this data, what they use it for and more importantly, how this data is kept safe. All of this applies to the process of abstract management. After all, you are dealing with the personal details of submitters and reviewers. Using the right kind of solution can make a big difference to the security of your event data and provides you with the assurance that you are compliant with the requirements.

eBook: The Event Planner’s Guide to GDPR Compliance

8. It’s Not Just About the Tech

If the software you decide on is going to save you time and money, you need to make sure that it delivers on that promise. If your board members are asking if the system is helping you meet the objectives your organisation has set, you need to have an answer. Otherwise, where’s the ROI?  Remember, you don’t want technology to create more work for you. You want it to make things easier. You want it to cut admin work and save you time. You want it to be flexible enough to meet your changing needs – today and tomorrow.

But it’s not just about technology. It’s about people too. Whatever system you decide to use, it is important to choose a tech vendor that you are happy to work with. A vendor that, provides the consultancy and support you and your team need around your events. Having a technology ‘partner’ who understands your goals, listens to your feedback and works closely alongside you around all your events will also ensure you always get the most out of your technology investment.


Are you looking to integrate abstracts into your virtual conference programme?  Our solutions can simplify the whole process of submitting, reviewing and publishing abstracts and posters. Get in touch with the team and see how we can help.

 

 

How to Make Money from Your Virtual and Hybrid Events

how to make money from your virtual and hybrid events

The current situation around the COVID-19 outbreak is forcing many organisations to move their events online.  Some of these events are paid-for affairs but the majority remain free to attend.  And this is partly because many organisers become a bit stuck when it comes to thinking how they can charge for virtual events. In fact, a new poll from Eventsforce this month found that 40% of event planners are concerned about charging people for their online events.

The reality is that virtual and hybrid events both present a perfect opportunity for event organisations to increase their revenue – whether it’s through ticket sales, bookable items, exhibitors or sponsorship.  And it doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think.

Let’s take a look at some of the proven ways organisers can make more money from their online events:

1) Highlight the Value

One of the key steps in generating revenue is to show value. Whether it is to encourage delegates to book tickets or whether you are looking for sponsors. You must demonstrate that they will gain value from their investment.

In the early days of the internet, all sorts of free content was created. Some was good, some was bad and some content was neither good nor bad. Since those days, people have become more used to paying for content on the web. Of course, many people still look for free content but the idea that because content is online means it’s free, is now no longer an argument.

You decide whether the online content for your virtual and hybrid events will deliver value that your delegates, sponsors and exhibitors will pay for. A series of sales pitches disguised as talks will fool no one. But content that is new and valuable is a completely different matter.

Related reading: Coronavirus – How event planners can use this time to stay competitive

2) Decide Your Pricing Strategy      

Strategy comes into your pricing deliberations. Just as with an in-person event, there are strategic decisions you need to make for your virtual and hybrid events. How much money do you want to make – or do you want to simply break even? Who will you charge? And when to charge are all key considerations.

Of these, when to charge, is something that some planners struggle with.

Putting on a virtual event takes as much care, consideration and production as an in-person event. Therefore the same care and deliberations over releasing of tickets is just as strategic. Don’t fall into the trap that because it’s online, you can throw everything together at the last minute.

When it comes to hybrid events, some planners wait until the venue has been sold out before releasing tickets for the virtual delegates. This is a mistake as it reduces the options that remote delegates could be offered. In the same way that in person delegates have all sorts of options so should your virtual delegates. Treat them the same.

Related reading: 7 pricing strategies to drive event ticket sales

3) Ticket Pricing Basics  

The basic techniques you use to price your live (in-person) events can be used for your virtual and hybrid events.

It’s important that there is consistency in your approach otherwise you may damage your brand. For example, your in-person events are a premium level offering which means you charge good money. But you decide to price your virtual event at a very low level. People that know your brand will question why there is a radical shift. They could fear that the virtual event quality will be sub-standard. You could easily confuse the very people you are seeking to attract. There is no reason why you cannot charge a premium level for your in-person and virtual events.

Back to basics also means that you have considerations of costs vs revenue to help fix your pricing.   You may be spending more on your speakers for a virtual event than you do for an in-person one. But you will not have the venue and catering costs to consider. Go through your virtual event budget line by line and then you have a start point for understanding how much profit or not, you want to make on top.

Once that calculation has been made you can think about the other options that you may be able to provide. For example, early bird discounts, association member rates etc. Remember you do not have to generate all income from ticket sales as you could use funding from sponsors and exhibitors as well. We look at that a little later on.

If you want to go into more detail on the different kind of pricing strategies you can use for your online events, we would highly recommend reading this article from the team at Event Manager Blog.

4) Ticket Pricing Decisions    

When it comes to generating income from tickets, you have lots of options available. And of course, you will need to decide what to charge for on-demand content.

Some event planners may not be used to charging for content, especially if they don’t capture it at their in-person events. Here are some decisions open to you:

  • Price for attendance as a virtual delegate at a virtual event
  • Price for attendance as a virtual (remote) delegate at a hybrid event
  • Price for on-demand content for attendees at a virtual event
  • Price for on-demand content for people that didn’t come to the virtual event
  • Price for on-demand content for in-person and remote delegates at a hybrid event
  • Price for on-demand content for people that didn’t come to the hybrid event

Some people will just not be able to attend your event due to travel, health or other reasons – and this is something we all need to bear in mind for the foreseeable future. But you can still offer them the on-demand content. This can be a major revenue generator for you.

Even if delegates have attended, some will still buy the on-demand content to refresh their memories and take a look at sessions they couldn’t get to.  You could charge for all the on-demand content as a bulk buy or you could price for specific sessions only. There really are many choices you can make.

There is no correct answer for any of this. These are pointers to ensure you maximise the ROI of your event and the on-demand content.

5) Additional Delegate Offers     

So far, we have looked at the pricing for the event and on-demand content.  This will include things like the opening plenary session, the break- out sessions and the closing of the event. The content is captured as the event unfolds. But you could also look at providing other content and opportunities for your delegates that will help you raise revenue.

For example, you could charge for master classes on a specialist topic area. These master classes could be provided either before, during or after the event. Similarly, pre-appointed buyer appointments could also be offered for a price. Some planners also provide Mastermind groups as another means of offering value to their delegates.  And you can also offer paid for exclusive VIP only activities and sessions.

Anything that has an extra value beyond the event content is worthy of consideration. Some things will appeal to you, some will not. But finding out what your delegates really want and then providing it for them would be a good way to look at this, especially if you are doing it for the first time.

6) Opportunities with Sponsors    

Sponsors offer another way of making money for your virtual and hybrid events. Sponsorship can be used instead of asking delegates to pay for tickets. Or you could charge delegates and have another revenue stream with sponsors.

How does it work? Who do you target and what do you charge?  Basically, it works in the same way as for your in-person event. You create an offer, discuss what analytics are going to be used so that sponsors can calculate their ROI and away you go.

Related reading: 7 key steps to successful event sponsorship

For virtual and hybrid events, the sponsorship process does not change. What does change is the fact that you have new elements for sponsorship.  At a virtual event, there will not be a need for lanyards to be sponsored or tea and coffee breaks etc. But there are different opportunities with online events and maybe the lanyard sponsor would be happy to sponsor one of the educational sessions.  At the same time, your tea and coffee sponsor could be interested in encouraging virtual delegates to check out their offering by means of a special discount code for their product – which is also part of a virtual goodie bag.

In other words, your traditional sponsors can sponsor your virtual and hybrid events and gain promotion. It just takes a little bit of creative thinking.

A key benefit you should emphasise for sponsors is that on-demand content is visible long after the event has ended. Therefore, the visibility for them goes way beyond the event duration. Sometimes this benefit can be overlooked by planners. But it is a big selling point and is worth money.

7) Opportunities with Exhibitors    

Revenue from exhibitors could also provide you with another source of income. The same rationale and comments made on sponsors’ revenue apply here.

Exhibitors pay for their virtual booths and you encourage your delegates to go and check them out. In addition, you could charge for providing a time slot in your programme for the exhibitor to take part in a Q&A session. And you could provide an opportunity for them to hold buyer appointments. Some virtual event platforms like Eventsforce allow for automatic lead capture (similar to a badge scan at a live event).  They also make it easy to set up live 1:1 or group video calls within the platform for enquiries, demos and meetings.

Again, you can be very creative with the offers you make. If there is added value for your delegates, then that is great as well.

Final Questions to Consider  

A few final questions for you to consider as you make your plans to earn revenue from your virtual and hybrid events. Remember, everything should be in aligned with your organisational goals.  Have a think about:

  • Who are your likely attendees?
  • Who do you want as sponsors?
  • What exhibitors do you want?
  • How competitive is your pricing?
  • Are you too cheap?
  • Are you too expensive?

Once you have the answers to this, you will know whether your strategy will work to earn revenue from your virtual events.


Considering a move to virtual events? Eventsforce can help you deliver your sessions online and engage with audiences in the same way you would for your in-person events. Click here for more information or get in touch for a chat.

New ‘Body Temperature’ Cameras for Live Events and 4 Other Tech Stories to Read

New ‘Body Temperature’ Cameras for Live Events and 4 Other Tech Stories Planners Should Read

Want the lowdown on all things event tech? In your inbox, every week

China has been one of the first countries to bring back live events since the pandemic took hold of the global economy – and many are watching closely to see what kind of new preventative measures future events will need to put in place to protect attendees and keep them safe.  One such measure is the use of body temperature scanners – which is one of the many interesting news stories we cover in our technology round-up this month.

We also look at some interesting new features from LinkedIn and Facebook that make it a lot easier for organisers to stream their event content online – and charge for it too!  Finally, we take an in-depth look into some of the key questions you need to be asking tech vendors when evaluating different platforms for your virtual events.

Have a look at the top event tech stories you don’t want to miss:

Event Industry News: New Thermal Camera Body Temperature Solution for Live Events

Wondering what live events might look like in the future?  One company has just launched an event-specific Thermal Camera Body Temperature solution for visitor and audience scanning, as part of new COVID-19 preventative measures.  Designed to be installed at key entry points to a venue or event location, up to 300 people can be measured per minute, with temperature monitoring achieved within 0.2 seconds, to an accuracy of +- 0.3°C. There is also a sound prompt to alert the security of abnormal temperature or no facemask detection.

It’s an interesting solution for many organisers out there as it can be hired as a basic, low-cost measure per event for venues or adapted and developed for more sophisticated larger events that have complex event registration requirements, such as pre-registered facial recognition with automated turnstile entry points.  Read more.

Exhibition World: LinkedIn Launches New Virtual Events Tool

LinkedIn has officially rolled out its Virtual Events feature that allows organisations to stay connected to their communities by bringing their events online. The new feature which works through a company profile page, allows you to target specific audiences and design a more personalised experience while making it easier to share and archive video content.

LinkedIn Virtual events is a merger of two products the company launched last year, the live video broadcasting tool, LinkedIn Live, and an offline, in-person networking tool, LinkedIn Events.  More than a simple integration, however, LinkedIn is working with industry leading third-part specialist broadcasters to meet user needs.  It looks pretty simple to use too. You generate a native landing page on LinkedIn, with a unique URL to promote your event.  You then stream the event using LinkedIn Live.  All your events are listed on your company LinkedIn page.  You can also stream up to four separate broadcasts into one LinkedIn Event for multi-session activations.  Read more.

Related reading: The Event Planner’s Guide to Free Social Media Live Streaming Tools

EventMB: The 20 Questions You Need to Ask at the Tech Demo of Your Virtual Event

New research investigating the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on the events industry shows that 50% of organisations are now running virtual events – and another 25% are searching for solutions to move their events online. For many, these are uncharted territories and finding the best virtual event tech is a challenge to say the least. This article from EventMB gives some good and practical advice on how to go about evaluating platforms for virtual events and what questions you should ask during a virtual event tech demo to ensure the product you’re looking for is the right one.

With feedback from event planners who have successful virtual pivots under their belts, the article highlights the important questions across key areas, including functionality, user experience, technical features, content delivery, data management, pricing and support.  Read more.

Watch On-Demand Webinar:  How Has Coronavirus Impacted Events?

The Verge: Facebook is Adding the Option to Charge for Access to Live Streams

As more businesses turn to live-streaming tools during the Coronavirus pandemic, Facebook has announced that it will be adding the option for people to charge for access to events with Facebook Live Streams. Details on the new feature are still limited – but the social media giant has promised that it will make the tool available in the coming weeks. The company is also adding the option for event creators to mark their events as ‘online only’- which makes sense given the ongoing social distancing protocols we are seeing around the world.

In case you missed it, Facebook also unveiled a new Zoom-like Messenger Rooms feature last month.  Available on both desktop and mobile, users can start a video chat Room that followers can discover via a new section above the news feed.  You can invite specific people or share a link that anyone can use.  For now, only 8 people can join but that limit will rise to 50 within weeks, making it a more viable alternative to Zoom.  More importantly, you’ll be able to create and discover Rooms through Instagram, WhatsApp and Portal – as well as join them from the web without an account.  Read more.

Related reading: 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Using Facebook Live for Events

EventPlanner: Adobe Sparks Brings New Social Media Marketing Tools for Your Events

With the ongoing impacts of the current pandemic, virtual communication and social media have only become increasingly powerful marketing tools for event professionals. And Adobe Spark’s social media templates and tools seem to be the perfect resources to turn to.

Event marketers can develop their brand collateral easily with this powerful app. From designing professional LinkedIn banners to stunning infographics for Pinterest, the options are endless.  It’s also quick and easy to use – no graphic design experience needed. Worth having a go if you’re looking at improving the look and feel of your event’s social media content – there are lots of templates in there to give you inspiration or you can create your own designs with a fantastic choice of colours, typography and stock images. Read more.


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Look at Your Event Data Now to Run Better Events in the Future

COVID 19 Look at Your Event Data Now to Run Better Events in the Future

There is no denying that COVID-19 has turned the world of events upside down.  Many event planners are facing the difficult decision to cancel or postpone their events.  And many are moving to uncharted territories like virtual events.

The current situation is also changing the way organisers spend their time.

A new research study conducted with more than 550 event planners last month found that a large majority of organisers are now spending more time researching new ideas and focusing on tasks that can help them become more competitive in the future.  As well as doing things like making improvements to their planning and marketing processes, the results showed that nearly 40% are spending this time to look at their event data.

Why?  Because event data is incredibly valuable. And using this time to ‘get your data fit’ can bring enormous business opportunities for your organisation – regardless of whether you’re running virtual, hybrid or live in-person events.

Why is Event Data So Important?

Event data is essential in helping planners and organisations understand exactly what happened at their events and how they can improve things in the future. Whether it’s measuring attendance or figuring out which sessions people found most engaging – event data can be incredibly valuable.

Despite its importance, however, many planners find it difficult to manage all the data they collect from events.  In fact, research shows that more than 8 in 10 event planners see data management a consistent and growing challenge.

This is not an issue that is going to go away for organisers either – especially when it comes to compliance, reporting and analytics and the abundant use of tech tools that help them collect an enormous amount of data on their events and attendees.

Understanding how to use event data strategically is also becoming an important skillset for event planners too – the latest ‘State of Event Technology Report’ from EventMB shows that more companies are now looking at data skills in senior event management positions.

And of course, we can’t ignore the importance of data in this current climate, especially for those running virtual events.  Having the ability to look at the data you’ve collected from your past events will be critical in understanding what your audiences want from your virtual events and making them a success.

Related read: How event planners can use this time to stay competitive

What Are the Benefits of Good Data Management?

Using this time to analyse your event data, improve processes and put together an effective data management strategy can bring enormous benefits to your organisation:

1) Measuring Success – Event data can provide organisers with the metrics they need to measure the performance of their events. From the feedback you get in surveys to registration numbers, attendance levels, app engagement and revenue.  Having the right processes in place to collect, manage and report this kind of data helps you figure out whether your events are meeting expectations and if they are in line with your organisation’s overall goals and objectives.

2) Engaging Attendees – Personalisation is driving a more data-driven approach to the way organisers plan events as attendees increasingly expect both the communication of the event and the live experience to be tailored to them in some way. Organisers can use the data collected from attendees to capture their views and opinions, build profiles and tailor their experiences to build engagement and loyalty.  This can also be an important competitive differentiator for events.

3) Making Improvements – Event data can be critical in identifying key lessons and take-aways to determine goals, activities and content for future events. Tracking attendance and engagement levels around sessions can help assess popular topics and speakers for next time. In the same way, understanding that networking was the main reason people attended the event may push you to introduce networking tools and meeting rooms to facilitate conversations with like-minded attendees.

4) Boost Marketing ROI – Event data is a goldmine for marketers. Did a particular session generate a lot of leads for you organisation? Are those people attending events the same ones who engage with your other marketing activities? By implementing the right tools and strategies on data collected around events, organisations can get a much bigger return on their event marketing investments.

5) Generate Sales/Membership – Sharing event data with your sales department or membership teams can bring monetary value to your organisation.  Knowing who showed up at an event, what sessions they attended and who they engaged with helps your stakeholders stay up to date with important customer/member/lead information.  It will also make it easier to assess what value event activities actually bring to the organisation.

6) Meet Compliance Requirements – The frequency of high-profile data security breaches is shaking up people’s trust in the way organisations manage their personal information. Organisations also need to meet stringent data protection regulations like the EU GDPR, which means organisers need to be savvier in what personal data they collect from events and how that data is used. With a clearly defined data management strategy, you can meet compliance requirements and show attendees you’re using their information responsibly.

Conclusion – Get Fit For the Future

Use this time to analyse past events.  Dive into the data held in your event management system and understand your delegates more.  Look at what worked, what didn’t.  Look at where you made money from your events and more crucially, where you didn’t.

Get your team involved and help them understand why data management should be an integral aspect of all event planning activities. Put time aside to assess your data needs at the beginning and end of each event. And make sure you get your tech providers involved – they’re always there to help.

Remember, following good data management practices can only be a good thing moving forwards.  It will offer you that golden opportunity to learn what people actually want from your events.  It will help you build trust and loyalty with your audiences.  And ultimately, it will help your organisation succeed and grow.

Want to use this time to get more value from your event data?  Not sure where to start? Join our webinar next week!

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COVID-19 and Event Insurance: What You Need to Know

COVID-19 and Event Insurance: What You Need to Know

Our industry is going through unprecedented times. The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted every aspect of our lives, and with the number of worldwide cases still rising, it looks like things will stay this way for the foreseeable future.

In fact, a new research study investigating the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on the events industry has found that the majority of 2020 events have now been cancelled or postponed with 47% of event planners moving them to the end of the year and another 21% to the following year.

Social distancing regulations put in place for our safety and well-being have meant that organisers all around the world are having to make difficult decisions in a constantly changing environment.  Many are also having to deal with the financial consequences of cancelling and rescheduling events – which adds another level of burden especially when it comes to dealing with insurance cover.

So what are some of the critical things organisers need to understand about event insurance in the current climate?  What should you realistically expect from your insurance provider if you’re cancelling an event and how can you prepare for the future?  We spoke to insurance expert, Kris Barnfather from Eggar Forrester Creative to find out.

Cancelled Events: What Can Your Insurance Do for You?

This Coronavirus pandemic has brought with it an extraordinary set of circumstances, there’s no disputing it. With the unprecedented size and spread of this outbreak, insurers are currently being faced with a dilemma. Generally speaking, pandemics of this nature would usually be excluded under normal event insurance policies. It would, however, be written under the optional ‘communicable disease’ extension which is made to cover event cancellations due to contagious diseases preventing the use of venues or the gathering of crowds.

Unfortunately, given the severity of the pandemic, events have now had to be cancelled en masse. The risks posed by the Coronavirus spread consequently means it’s unlikely for any insurer to be seen writing additional cover for event cancellation due to COVID-19, or any other strain of Coronavirus, at any point in the foreseeable future.

This means, for event insurance to cover cancellations due to Coronavirus, the initial policy and additional communicable disease extension would have to have been taken out prior to the current outbreak. A recent example of this is the Wimbledon Championships. The tournament unfortunately had to be cancelled this year due to Coronavirus, however, long before the outbreak, organisers had taken out the communicable diseases extension alongside their policy – effectively insuring them against this pandemic. Consequently, they were able to claim for the cancellation and are poised to earn a substantial pay-out as a result.

As it stands today, the general consensus amongst insurers is that they will continue to offer a communicable disease extension to their policies – however, this will likely come with stipulations. From now on, the communicable disease extensions would only cover a specific list of diseases – and COVID-19 or other Coronavirus strains are unlikely to be included.

Related read: 10 essential tips to reduce event risk

Force Majeure: What is It?

Given the information included above, the question is if there is anything at all in your insurance policy that can protect you from Coronavirus related cancellations. The term ‘force majeure’ may be familiar to some. Its literal translation means “superior force” and it is often used as a sort of get out clause in certain contracts. The term itself describes any event that happens outside of your reasonable control that goes on to disrupt your ability to fulfil a legal obligation.

To qualify as a force majeure, an occurrence must be unexpected, external and genuinely impossible to overcome. If proven, this clause will allow businesses to escape from contractual obligations without being penalised – which is why many event organisers may find themselves looking for this in their policies.

Force Majeure and Event Insurance

A ‘force majeure’ clause may cover a number of things, including natural disasters, civil unrest or even infectious diseases. However, it is not a failsafe option. Even though many see force majeure as a simple ‘get out of anything for free’ card, this is ultimately not the case. A force majeure event always has to be proven, which is a challenging feat in many cases. The unforeseeable event has to be clearly shown to make it impossible for you to carry out your obligations as stated in your contract – and this is often hard to prove.

More so, many find that if force majeure is used in the context of legal contracts or insurance policies, it is no longer done so in such general terms. In fact, it is entirely commonplace for contacts to be very specific when outlining the parameters of a force majeure. In other words, a force majeure can only really take on the meaning of whatever is specified in your contract.

With all this in mind, it may not spell out good news for event organisers who are currently being impacted by the Coronavirus spread. For force majeure to be of any legitimate protection for you during this time, your insurance policy would have to include communicable diseases and pandemics under its terms. The likelihood of this happening will vary case by case but is fairly uncommon. In fact, since insurance policies are created to be as accurate and specific as possible, it isn’t unheard of for epidemics of infectious diseases like SARS and Coronavirus to be explicitly excluded from the terms of coverage.

It is an unfortunate fact that insurance policies may not be of much value to many event organisers right now. There is good news, however, for the organisers who took out insurance and also chose to add a communicable disease extension on top before the COVID-19 outbreak. In these cases, policies should cover them for cancellations and other issues that have happened as a result of this pandemic.

Looking Ahead

This is the consensus as it stands right now. However, it is an ongoing situation that we are monitoring closely. It’s unknown how long Coronavirus will continue to affect event organisers, but what we do know is this: when the time comes for events to go ahead once more, it’s prudent to enlist the help of a specialist event insurance broker who can discuss and advise on the available options. And when dealing with specific notifiable diseases, it is important to remember that insurers will constantly update their cover.  Your insurance broker will highlight how cover can be sourced and what specifically cannot be covered.


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