By John D’Adamo, Head of Sales, USA
On Thursday, August 26th, as part of our ‘To Hybrid and Beyond: North America Edition’ virtual event, VenuIQ had the pleasure of bringing industry experts from various perspectives to continue our thought leadership panel series that we started in June with Hybrid Event Essentials. This time, joining myself and Oliver Rowe, co-founder of VenuIQ, we had Erika Lohmar, President & Chief Creative Officer, and Barbara Moore, Account Coordinator at Big Head Cartoon and Entertainment, sharing their perspectives from the event production and activation world respectively. Here are just seven of the many takeaways during the session.
- “Be proactive to react instead of reactive.” Erika, who runs event production company akire productions, spoke to us about having an upfront conversation with your client in the beginning on what are your objectives and expectations. Our objectives have changed the last year and a half, our learning styles have changed, how we want/when we want to have education has changed. “What we did in 2018 and 2019 is not the same now.” For in-person, what protocols do we want to put in place and how we shift to them. What is our plan? If we need to shift, how do we make those next steps easily to be proactive to react instead of reactive. Erika then goes on to discuss her experience as executive producer of BizBash / Connect Tampa.
- Delta has created continued uncertainty and change. From our survey, 72.7% of planners are planning virtual, hybrid, and face-to-face events. 0% are planning face-to-face events only.We are helping many planners including Jesse Peterkin, Head of Events at Founders Forum who had to quickly turn to a hybrid event. Traditionally they used VenuIQ’s mobile app, but due to the restrictions in the UK at the time they turned to hybrid. Oliver uncovered a third type of attendee where the attendees used the mobile app to watch the content happening indoors.
- Embrace the fact that virtual is going to be different. The temptation is to mimic a live event, but virtual isn’t the same as a live event. So invest in creating a special experience for your virtual attendees.
- Choose your partners carefully. “We have to meet people where they’re at.” Choose vendors whom are prepared to handle virtual, hybrid, face-to-face, and all of the above. Have a preferred vendor list, work with solid event producers. As vendors we should become a more well-rounded resource to help event professionals.
- Hybrid comes in various forms. We discussed events we thought had done a great job of going hybrid, including the SEARCH Foundation closing reception, BizBash’s events, the Academy Awards, and Fan Controlled Football.
- Internal communication has forever transformed. The panel discussed how majorly connected we are – including recruiting happening virtually, Zoom meetings, and even Discord, traditionally more of a video game / voice chat technology, being used for connectivity at the workplace. It’s pretty clear at this point that the future of work will be more of a mix of virtual day-to-day and some select face to face gatherings moving forward.
- Be upfront about what you can/can’t do. The onus is on the vendors to create strong partnerships and be clear about what our strengths and weaknesses are. For example, with VenuIQ, we’re great for education/conferences but for a 100,000 person festival, there might be better options.