Category: Industry Trends

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.

SIGN UP TO UPCOMING WEBINAR: COVID-19 – Use Your Event Data to Get Fit for the Future

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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Coronavirus – How Event Planners Can Use This Time to Stay Competitive

Coronavirus_how organisers can spend their time to stay competitive

COVID -19 has impacted event planners across the globe with many cancelling and postponing – and many more making the move to virtual events. The current situation is also changing the way organisers spend their time.  In fact, a new research study has found that 70% of event planners now have more time on their hands with many focusing on education and making improvements to their planning and marketing processes.

We have seen many organisations scale back activities in these uncertain times.  But this can also be a great opportunity for people to step back, re-evaluate strategies and do things even better once the crisis has moved on.

With that in mind, let us look at some of the things you can do with your time now to improve your events in the future:

1) Make Your Communications Crystal Clear         

This is the perfect time for you to re-evaluate your communications. Take this opportunity to refresh your marketing and messaging. Discover any gaps that need addressing. Look for new ways of getting your message across. Seek new channels to use.

It is important to keep an open line of communication with delegates and keep them engaged with email comms, your event website and by using the relevant social media channels. If you have an app for your event, use the app as an engagement tool. Even though your event may be cancelled or postponed, you can still push content through the app to keep the delegates interested and let them know of your future plans.

Engage audiences with content marketing. Don’t stop creating content. Use some of your historic content, create webinars and deliver other virtual events. But, above all, keep communicating and most of all, communicate content of value.

Related read: Coronavirus – How to manage delegate expectations

2) Review Your Data     

The research findings show that more than 1 in 3 event planners are currently spending their time making improvements to the way they collect, manage and use their event data. And this is something really important.

Event data is gold dust. The more you use it in the right way, the more value it can bring to your organisation.  Yet many organisers have typically not had enough time to manage it as well as they’d like.  They haven’t been able to get insights they need or do anything useful with it.

Taking this time to ‘get your data fit’ can bring enormous business opportunities for your virtual events or your live in-person events when things eventually pick up (and they will). Use the time now 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 work, where you made money from your events and more crucially, where you didn’t.

Event data is vital for helping you to make insightful informed decisions to develop your events strategy. Use this time to take a good long look at your data and work out what it is telling you so you can remain competitive and improve things in the future.

Related read: Coronavirus – How to manage delegate expectations

3) Segment Your Audiences  

Once the crisis has ended there will be a huge amount of competition as event planners scramble to make up for lost time and lost income. But with even more competition taking place, you are going to need to stand out and attract people to your events like never before. What will help you, however, is having a clear idea on who you will be targeting and how. And the time to start looking at that is now.

Who do you target as buyers? Are they the right buyers for your events? Is the category of buyers too wide? Should you segment them further? It’s usually a good idea to do so. For example, if you target associations and have segmented them from corporates then that is a good first step but it doesn’t go far enough.

There are hundreds of associations – so which segment are you after? Maybe it is medical associations, maybe it’s event associations or maybe it’s a completely different sector. It doesn’t matter as long as you know why you are targeting the sector. The more specific you are, the better. It will help you focus and come up with new products and services for them.  It will make event personalisation a lot easier too.

4) Evaluate Your Event Technology   

Technology is another area that organisers are currently focusing on with 37% of organisers using this time to evaluate the systems they use (or want to use) around their events

If you do happen to have more time on your hands because of everything that’s going on, then it makes sense to do this now. If you rely on event management software or any other tech solution you use around your events, you’ll know how important it is to do your due diligence and keep things in check.

For example, if investment was made to save you time and money, then you need to make sure that it’s still delivering on that promise today.  If it was meant to create a better experience for attendees, then you should have a good idea on how effective it is in doing that.  And if your management team asks if the technology is helping meet business goals set around your events, then you also need to have an answer. A good one. Otherwise, where’s the ROI?

Related read: 6 signs your event tech is NOT working for you

Whilst you should be periodically reviewing your technology, having an enforced period due to the crisis, means there is no excuse not to re-evaluate your tech. Perhaps you can now undertake those tech integrations, that you didn’t have time for previously, so you can do things even better next year.

Talk to your tech provider and get the training/tutorial on aspects of the solution that you don’t use as much as you’d like because you never had the time. Learn new ways of using the tech so that you can improve efficiency.  Maybe see what other options there are in the market or evaluate new tech you’d like to use but never had time to think about before. For example, you may have always wanted an event app, well this could be a good time to really look at making that a reality.

5) Map Out Your Event Planning Processes    

When you are super busy running events, your goal is always on making them as good as they can be.  And as everything moves at high speed, there is little choice to do anything other than complete the tasks and tick them off.

If you have more time on your hands as a result of everything that is going on, then it is the perfect opportunity for you to sit down and review your event planning processes. Why? Because events have become more sophisticated and delegates have become more demanding. And this will only become more so the case when things go back to normal. More is expected which means you cannot be running your events in the way you would have done a few years ago.  For example, think of the new health and safety guidelines you’ll need to implement at your events when things go back to normal.  Or whether you’ll always have to have a virtual element for all your events in the future.

You need to ensure that your event planning processes take into account the ‘delegate journey’ of today and beyond. What’s coming next that you can factor in now?

6) Test Your Data Management Protocols    

You could be forgiven for thinking that as businesses have closed and people have been told to stay at home, (other than for essential journeys) that other important issues have gone away or been forgotten about. However, that is far from the truth and in fact more emphasis needs to be placed on keeping those ‘invisible’ issues front of mind.

Take for example, the issue of ‘data security’ and protection. The requirements of the GDPR (in place since May 2018) have not gone away because of the coronavirus. In fact, if anything, you need to be checking just how secure the data you hold actually is. Can you still depend on the companies you were using prior to the outbreak, have any gone bust and do you need to source alternative providers?

As well as checking providers, it’s also a good time to ‘test’ your protocols. Do they need adjusting? If you received a Subject Access Request, what would you do, where would you go? How would you deal with it? Now is a good time to look at how securely you are managing your data.

Related read: 8 bad data security habits event planners should quit

7) Invest in Your Own Personal Development    

Personal development should always be on your radar of things to be done. Often it can be easily overlooked with only the minimum of compulsory training being undertaken. But now there is no excuse. Make the most of this time and ensure that you are keeping your professional development on course.

There is no single route to education, as everyone learns things in their own way. You should find the most effective way for you to acquire new knowledge and skills – some people prefer reading articles and eBooks, some prefer watching videos and listening to podcasts or webinars, while others opt for more interactive learning experiences where they can discuss new trends with other like-minded people.  The event associations offer an array of industry knowledge and qualifications to look at. If you don’t want to do that, maybe adding new tech and language skills to your CV could be useful too.

Have a look at your journey so far. What have you achieved, what skills do you have and what do you need for the next chapter of your career? Once you have made your decision, buy the book or sign up for the course, there is no time to lose.

Watch webinar: How to become a tech-savvy event planner

8) Research New Ideas    

What can you be developing right now that will improve the lives of your stakeholders? Are there new initiatives that will help them right now? If not, what will they need when the crisis is over? It’s a hard question to answer, but the reality is that life will probably never go completely back to how it was before.

Delegates, speakers and suppliers are likely to be cautious for a while at least. With much of the world in lockdown, once the crisis is over and face to face events are back in prominence, how different will the experience be? You could reduce their risk. You could look at self-service check-in to reduce queues and close contact. You could decrease the number of communal touch pads or go cashless at your events. Or you could continue to have hand sanitisers dotted around the conference rooms.

Beyond that, maybe you automatically include virtual events as part of your offering. Get in touch with past delegates and find out what they would want in the future. Call a meeting with your colleagues and brainstorm all that you are learning from the crisis. What new opportunities are there? Research new ideas and start developing them. Once the crisis has ended there will be huge competition for business and you will want to be ahead of the curve and not behind it.

Conclusion – Time for a Reboot     

Your focus right now will be on carrying out those essential tasks. Once that is done, you have a golden opportunity to crack on with those things that you never had time for and as we have shown, there is a lot of work you can do.

We are in unchartered waters, even when the global financial crisis was at its height, physical events still went ahead. You will be forced to reinvent, redefine and revitalise many things. But remember, every organisation is going through this. The ones that emerge in a strong position, will be those that use this precious time to its maximum to get ahead. There has never been a better time to thoroughly appraise your organisation and give it the re-boot needed for future success.


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.

Event Security: How to Keep Your Delegates Safe

Event Security: How to Keep Your Delegates Safe

As an event planner, planning and executing a memorable event is far from your only responsibility. You also have a duty to keep every guest, attendee, and volunteer out of harm’s way and to ensure they are cared for if something disastrous happens. But what does that involve, exactly? 

Keeping everyone safe at an event is actually one of the most important responsibilities the event planner has on their hands. The current situation around COVID-19 will probably put this even more on the forefront in terms of new safety practices around delegate health and hygiene.  But for now, let’s focus on safety in the context of providing physical security around your events.

You want to do everything in your power to ensure your events are as safe and secure as possible.  Should an injury of any kind happen and it comes out that you didn’t take every reasonable precaution to prevent it, there will be trouble. You could even end up dealing with a lawsuit, perhaps even criminal charges – never mind the damage this could cause to your reputation.

So let’s take a look at some of the most important things you need to do to keep your events safe:

Hire Certified Security Contractors

There exists a dizzying amount of security agencies that will gladly protect your equipment and attendees. These agencies are not all created equal, however. Just as with any vendor, you need to practice due diligence in order to avoid hiring a bad contractor.

Here are a few things to look for in a security contractor.

  • Relevant certifications, such as The Security Institute’s Advanced Certificate in Event Security and Safety.
  • Client-first communication. Your contractor should be completely transparent about scheduling and logistics. They should also be willing to give you access to their scheduling system.
  • Minimal points of contact.  A good contractor will put the client first. That includes ensuring they know exactly who to contact for their needs, and don’t have to jump through multiple hoops based on what they’re calling about.
  • A high standard of excellence and a good reputation. When a security contractor is professional, efficient, and knowledgeable, it shows. People will speak well of them online. Pay attention to that and look for an agency that has good online reviews.
  • An understanding of your industry. It is best to hire an experienced contractor that knows what they’re doing as far as processes and procedures are concerned.

Related reading: 10 essential tips to reduce event risk

Plan for the Worst

Believe it or not, a big part of successful event planning lies in knowing how to mitigate and manage risk. It’s therefore critical that for each event, you work with your team to device an extensive crisis management and incident response plan.

This plan should, in broad strokes, cover a few things.

  • The types of emergencies that are likely to happen at the event. A tornado is not, for example, a likely scenario if you’re hosting an event in south Texas, but it is a possibility for an event hosted in Missouri.
  • How to recognize a potentially dangerous scenario and metrics for determining the level of risk a scenario poses. What sort of impact will it have on attendees? Staff? Is a security response or full-scale evacuation necessary?
  • Who is responsible for managing each incident? A first-aid certified volunteer can probably respond to a heart attack, but they are not equipped to deal with a dangerous person.
  • An evacuation plan. Attendees must be able to leave your event quickly and easily, with minimal risk.
  • A chain of command. Who can a volunteer contact if they notice something dangerous? Who is responsible for coordinating a security response?

Beyond that, you must also consider your event’s layout.  Entrances and exits must be controlled, but they should also be arranged with efficiency in mind. Your vendor booths should be positioned in such a way that they don’t impede movement. Finally, you must be cognizant of your venue’s capacity – never try to oversell.

Related reading: How to handle a big crisis at your event

Planning aside, you’ll also need liability insurance for both event staff and attendees. In the case of the latter, you’ll want to submit a liability insurance certificate to your venue before your event, taking care to cover any of the major risks for which you’ll need coverage.

Work with Venues for Greater Safety

As noted in a recent keynote at International Confex, the UK’s leading event industry conference, complacency must be avoided at all costs. And it’s not just on the shoulders of event managers to protect people – but venues too.

The keynote, helmed by former Metropolitan Police chief superintendent Nick Aldworth and Figen Murray, who lost her son in the 2017 Ariana Grande bombings, covered something known as Martyn’s Law. Named for her son, Martyn, it is meant to act as a framework for safer events. It covers five key principles:

  • Public venues and spaces must have access to free advice and training on counter-terrorism techniques
  • Venues must be allowed to openly and accurately assess their vulnerability.
  • Where vulnerabilities are found, venues must do everything in their power to mitigate them
  • Venues must have a counter-terrorism plan in place.
  • Local authorities must plan for counter-terrorism.

While your event is unlikely to suffer from a terrorist attack, it’s still imperative that you follow Martyn’s Law to the letter. It covers more than just terrorist attacks. It can feasibly refer to any act of violence and can ultimately be summed up with a single statement by Figen: “Don’t ever assume at any venue that security is a given. You take your own life into your hands when you attend these places.” 

Speak to Your Vendors

Last but certainly not least, speak to the vendors you’re coordinating with to make your event a reality. Ensure they all have valid insurance certificates, and that their products are both well made and failure proofed. Again, due diligence is your friend here.

A comprehensive security plan is meaningless if your vendors aren’t briefed on it. Make sure everyone you work with, from the people who provide your equipment to guests selling their wares on the show floor, understand what you’re doing to keep your event safe and what role they play.

About the Guest Author:  Brad Wayland is the Chief Strategy Officer at BlueCotton, a site with high-quality, easy-to-design custom t-shirts.


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Infographic: The Impact of Coronavirus on Meetings and Events

 

Infographic: The Impact of Coronavirus on Meetings and Events

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation develops, our industry is facing an unprecedented time of risk and uncertainty.  Many organizations are postponing events.  Many are cancelling.  And many more are considering moving their events online.

But how are event planners making these critical decisions? What are some of the latest trends around virtual events? What other challenges are organizers facing as a result of the outbreak? And how are they spending their time working from home?

Related reading: What event planners need to know about Coronavirus

New Research Shows Majority of Events Cancelled or Postponed

A new research study has found that 72% of events have been cancelled or postponed – with many rescheduled to autumn/fall this year.

With feedback from more than 550+ event planners, the results also show 50% are moving their events online – with the majority opting for smaller-scale events with streamed sessions, virtual attendee engagement and networking.

The research study, titled ‘The Impact of Coronavirus on Meetings & Events’ was conducted by Eventsforce in April 2020 and is based on the views of 550+ event professionals based in the U.S. and the UK, representing corporates, associations, government and educational institutions, PCOs and event management agencies.

Other highlights include:

  • Almost half of organizers (45%) have postponed their events – while another 27% have cancelled

 

  • Only 5% of organizers postponing events have rescheduled to Summer 2020 – majority have rescheduled to the second half of the year

 

  • Top 3 challenges organizers currently face: Planning things in a fluid environment, deciding whether to cancel, postpone or shift to virtual and changing contracts terms with suppliers/sponsors/exhibitors

 

  • Nearly 1 in 3 (30%) are also having to deal with long-term financial loss and job cuts

 

  • 20% are NOT moving their events online – difficulties in replicating events to virtual models is top concern

 

  • Of those making the move to virtual, only 24% are moving the entire in-person event experience online.

 

  • Organizers now have more time on their hands – main focus on personal development and improving planning and marketing activities

For a more comprehensive look at the results, check out the infographic below:

New Research Finds Majority of 2020 Events Have Been Cancelled or Postponed


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New Research Finds Majority of Events Have Been Cancelled or Postponed

New Eventsforce Research Finds Majority of 2020 Events Have Been Cancelled or Postponed

London, UK – 22nd April 2020 – A new research study investigating the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on the events industry has found that most organizers are postponing their events to autumn/fall this year. The survey also shows that 50% are moving their events online, with the majority opting for smaller-scale events with streamed sessions, virtual attendee engagement and networking.

The research study, titled ‘The Impact of Coronavirus on Meetings & Events’ was conducted by Eventsforce in April 2020 and is based on the views of 550+ event professionals based in the U.S. and the UK, representing corporates, associations, government and educational institutions, PCOs and event management agencies.

The Impact on Meetings and Events

One of the main objectives of the study was to investigate the proportion of events that have been cancelled or postponed as a result of the outbreak, as well as when events are being rescheduled to. The findings show that 45% of organizers have postponed, 27% have cancelled and another 25% are searching for solutions to move their events online.

Most of the events that have been postponed have been rescheduled to the second half of the year, with 36% in the autumn/fall season and 11% in winter this year. Another 25% have moved their events to 2021, while 23% are still trying to decide.

“The results show that the Coronavirus outbreak has had a shocking impact on our industry with the cancellation of many major events this quarter. More than 50% have also postponed their events to later in the year – while others like Facebook and Microsoft won’t be hosting any large physical events until summer 2021,” said George Sirius, CEO of Eventsforce.

“Although we expect things to improve over time, it is likely we’ll see more organizations follow their lead and postpone their large events for the second half of next year and move their smaller ones online.”

The findings show that deciding whether to cancel, reschedule or go digital is one of the toughest challenges organizers currently face in the job.  Other challenges include difficulties in planning things given the fluidity of the current situation (66%), changing contract terms with suppliers, sponsors and exhibitors (34%), dealing with refunds and cash flow issues (28%) and making sure delegate comms and expectations are managed in the right way (25%). Nearly 30% are also having to deal with job cuts and long-term financial loss.

Productivity is another area that is impacting some event planners – with 17% having difficulties in keeping teams motivated, and another 14% finding remote work a challenge.

The Need for Virtual Events

The research study shows that the current situation has forced many organizations to take the leap into virtual events – 50% of organizers are now moving their events online and another 30% are considering it.

When asked what would stop their organizations from hosting virtual events, 43% said it would be difficult to replicate their events to a virtual model. Other key barriers include uncertainty on whether attendees will come on board and a lack of experience in running online events.  Organizers also voiced concerns that the technology may not work as well as it should, which would have a negative impact on the event itself.

The study also looked at how organizers are making the move to virtual. Only 24% of event planners are moving their entire in-person event experience online – with the majority opting to run a scaled-down version of their existing events (38%). Another 32% are choosing to host their sessions online with some attendee engagement and networking – while 29% are delivering event content through webinars alone.

“The survey results show that most organizers are looking at virtual events as an effective way of continuing support for their stakeholders and wider communities. By using tools like Eventsforce, event planners can easily stream all their content online via live or recorded sessions, while managing things much in the same way they would for their in-person events,” continued Sirius.

When investigating the kind of technology organizers are considering for their virtual events – online meeting software like Zoom topped the list with 75% of respondents.  More than 40% are looking at solutions that would support live streaming sessions, while another 25% are considering video sharing platforms like Vimeo for streaming pre-recorded content.  Only 13% are looking at live streaming sessions through social media tools like Facebook Live.

The Impact on Event Planners

The Eventsforce study also found that almost 70% of organizers now have a lot more time on their hands as a result of the ongoing situation.  Many are focusing on education and personal development (54%), while others are making improvements to their event planning processes (50%) and marketing activities (51%).  Technology is another key area with 37% of organizers taking steps to evaluate their event tech and another 36% making improvements to the way they collect, manage and secure their event data.

For a more comprehensive look at the results of the ‘The Impact of Coronavirus on Meetings & Events’ research study, please see infographic below:

New Research Finds Majority of 2020 Events Have Been Cancelled or Postponed

About Eventsforce

Eventsforce provides SaaS event management software that powers thousands of successful events each year. With offices in London (UK) and Denver (US), its customers span 14 different countries and represent some of the leading names in finance, education, government, associations, PCOs and publishing. Its highly customisable software provides a complete end-to-end management solution that addresses every aspect of the event lifecycle: from event planning, marketing and registration, to on-site check-in, mobile apps, abstracts and awards management, real-time analytics and reporting.

For more information about Eventsforce and how it can help with your in-person and online events, please visit: www.eventsforce.com

Media Contact:

Taline Jones, Head of Marketing

Tel: +44 (0)20 77856997

Email: taline.jones@eventsforce.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coronavirus: 6 Ways to Work Well from Home

Coronavirus: 6 Ways to Work Well from Home

The coronavirus public health crisis has severely impacted event planners across the globe in many ways. Many people are now having to work remotely to mitigate the spread of the disease – yet, findings from a new research study show that many event planners are finding it increasingly difficult to motivate teams and work from home.

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

The reality is that despite events being cancelled and postponed, the work hasn’t really stopped for a lot of planners. From dealing with crisis communications and managing delegate expectations to moving events online and planning for the future when the crisis is over – there is lots of work that can be done. Yet doing all this from home can bring about many challenges. And many opportunities too.

Let’s have a look at 6 key steps you can take to make the most of your time and ensure that working from home is as effective as it can be:

1. Define and Claim Your Space       

When you work from home you need to claim your space. You have to decide where you will work and if there are other household members living with you, you need to be in agreement with them.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have space for a home office. You are likely going to need to make some changes. Your space has to be suitable for you to work effectively. Sitting on a sofa typing on your laptop doesn’t mean you have found your workspace. It goes way beyond that. The space needs to allow you enough room for you to be able do your job with ease.

Is this space going to work for you, when you have to take phone calls and attend video conferencing? Or will you need to go somewhere else for those. This may depend on how strong your phone or internet signal is. There can be ‘dead’ zones in properties.  There may be young children in the picture too…

Printer cartridges, staples, envelopes etc. should be close to your space so that you can access them easily and quickly. It helps you be more productive too.

2. Get Connected     

Getting connected to the internet is vital. When you connect, be sure to attach to your network and not that of your neighbour. If you need to reboot your router because your internet has stopped working, make sure you know where it is located and how to turn it on.

You will need all your log-in details for all the systems you use around your work. In your office you may have been relying on a colleague to solve your technology challenges. But of course, that colleague can no longer be next to you so you need to become your own problem solver.

It’s important that you become familiar with the technology and how to use video and collaboration platforms. If you get stuck then you may need to talk your IT helpdesk or a helpful colleague. Be prepared to take screenshots to help them understand exactly what you are looking at and solve your problem.

Make sure you store all your logins and passwords in a safe place. Plus you will need to get into the habit of running a daily computer virus scan to keep your laptop clean. Unless it is a device that belongs to the organisation and is automatically scanned by them on a regular basis.

3. Decide How to Work

Deciding how you will work may seem obvious. Just get up, get dressed and start work. Yes, that’s how it works in an office environment and everyone adheres in the same way. But, when you work from home, things change.

For some people there may be a temptation to work in their pyjamas. After all, no one can see them. But avoid staying in your pyjamas if you can, not even on day one. You have to be ready and in the right mind-set to work. Wear what you feel best in, whether that is a suit or jeans and a casual shirt.

Taking phone calls and being on video conferencing, means you will need a degree of quiet.  Let your significant other, roommates and kids know when quiet is required.

Regardless of taking a phone or video call, it’s also important that you agree with other people living in your household, acceptable noise levels coming from the TV, radio or other activities.  Some people are ok with background noise whereas others absolutely hate it. Try listening to relaxing music on YouTube or other streaming platforms. Whatever works you, is the way to go.

4. Establish When to Work

Working from home is not the same as working from an office. For a start, your travel time has been eliminated which gives you time to play with.

You will have more distractions on you from family members and pets. When you were in the office, you would have been kept separate from them. So whilst, you have extra time you also have more distractions, especially if you are having to home-school your children.

It’s therefore vital that you establish times when you will work. Get into a rhythm. For example, you may decide that you want to start working as soon as you wake up. You can get a couple of hours done before the household has arisen. Or you may be a night owl and do some work after people have gone to bed. Or you may be really lucky and work all the way through the normal office day.

Energy levels will determine how quickly you get through your work. When working in your office you have no choice, you have to be there. There is no opportunity for you to take a rest for 30 minutes. But, when you work from home you may find that a rest will give you more energy to return to a task later that day or the following day.

There will be times when you will become distracted. Working from home especially if you are new to it can be something that seems amazing at the beginning. You are your own boss. No one looking other your shoulder, no colleague listening to everything you say on the phone or making comments as to how long you took for lunch. But pretty quickly the honeymoon period wears off. What seemed a good idea of watching a few episodes of your favourite box set now means that you are behind with your work and you still have deadlines to meet. If you like working with pressure it can be a good plan but right now there’s plenty of stress and uncertainty around, so why add to it?

Expectation management with your boss is super important. You can be more productive by working fewer hours if you are really focused and that has to be the aim. If you are being paid for an 8 hour day, make a plan that gets your hours in, without making you feel like you are at work 24/7.

5. Talk to Your Boss and Colleagues

When you work from home, communication with your office is critically important. There is work that needs to be done and expectations to be met. This is where understanding what is expected of you is something that needs to be clearly defined. It’s more important than ever as we work through a time of crisis as nothing is as familiar as it was a few weeks ago.

Flexibility will be needed on all sides. What is the work that needs to be done and when does it need to be delivered? If your boss is checking on your progress every few hours, neither of you will make much progress.  The same applies if you’re the boss and you’re managing teams remotely.

Ticking things off your to-do list can feel good because it gives you a sense of accomplishment.  But is it really the most productive way of doing things?  Apparently not. We regularly underestimate how long something will take us and we forget to factor this in.

Prioritise your tasks from most important to least important and for each task on your list, figure out exactly how much time you need to get it done. If you set a deadline for yourself, then this will help you avoid procrastination and ultimately work more effectively in the time that you have.

If you have been set unrealistic expectations with never-ending to-do lists from your boss you will need to have an honest discussion about what is possible. But don’t worry as they will likely be dealing with similar issues as they work from home.

Don’t forget to agree what’s acceptable for conference call times especially if you are dealing with countries that are half-way around the world.

Related reading: 8 time-wasting habits event planners should quit

6. Get in the Work Zone

Having worked through expectations with your boss and colleagues, now is the time to deliver it. Whilst you will be multi-tasking your life as you look after children, pets and your own wellbeing, you will need to be as focused as possible when you work. You really don’t want to be multi-tasking your work and here’s why.

Multi-tasking is a real productivity killer. According to research at Stanford University, multitasking has been proven to be less productive than doing a single thing at a time.  Why?  Because our brains lack the capacity to perform more than one task at a time successfully.  We may think we’re multi-taskers, but what we’re actually doing is shifting back and forth from one task to another, such as writing an email, then doing a conference call, then back to email and so on.   The research also found that people who multi-tasked, were actually worse at multi-tasking than those who liked to do a single thing at a time. It seems they had more trouble organising their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, they were also slower at switching from one task to another.

There may be some people that find themselves with not much to do immediately. It may be a good time to evaluate things, do some de-cluttering of papers, look at your event data, segment audiences, look at all those integration projects you wanted to do, research on new marketing ideas etc.  Now is the time, because once the crisis is over, you will need to be working at lightning speed to deal with the inevitable demand.

Conclusion – Remember the Key Differences     

Working from home is very different to working in an office. The work may well be the same, but everything else is different. The surroundings, the distractions and establishing your own schedule are the major challenges.

Some people really enjoy working from home, whilst others have a problem with it. During this time of the coronavirus public health crisis, many people have no choice but to work from home. And this could be for a long period of time. The sooner you can adapt to the new way of working, the better your life will become.

One of the keys is to appreciate that change is around and happening faster than ever. But, more than that, it’s to appreciate the people you work with and the people you live with. Get the expectations right with these important people and working from home will become a lot less stressful and you may find that you really enjoy it.


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