As everybody knows, 2020 created a dramatic shift in how we think about events. Except for a select few, such as elite sport, COVID-19 restrictions in the UK and around the world meant that planned Live Events had to be cancelled. For us at Giggabox, and thousands of companies around the world, 2020 became the year of Virtual Events.
The Growth of Digital
Although 2020 accelerated these changes, don’t expect Virtual Events to go away as the effects of the pandemic ease. These unfortunate circumstances have demonstrated to companies, both small and large, the true benefits of utilising digital platforms to deliver spectacular events. From virtual corporate events and awards nights to networking opportunities and virtual exhibitions, we anticipate that companies will continue to organise frequent Virtual Events and incorporate digital elements into their Live Events beyond 2021 and coronavirus restrictions.
The ‘Next Normal’
With the costs of venue hire on an upwards trajectory, Virtual Events are increasingly becoming an exceptionally attractive option for companies in all industries and of all sizes. With many people’s eyes opened to Hybrid Events for the first time over the past year, it can be expected that many organisations will seek to arrange ‘micro-live’ Events with digital components. With this, smaller venues can be booked to host a reduced number of guests, but with the overall attendee capacity limitless via the use of an online event platform. Utilising smaller venues along with decreased catering, travel, and accommodation costs, Hybrid Events are going to provide engaging experiences for an endless number of attendees at reduced costs.
For Cars, the Future is Electric…but for Events, the Future is Hybrid
One of the very few benefits observed in 2020 was the easing of the effects of climate change to our planet. With more and more people working from home, fewer have been commuting to and from their office every day. This behaviour is not only impacting on face-to-face meetings, but the much larger planned events and exhibitions too. With sustainability increasingly at the forefront of our minds, we expect most future events to embrace virtual elements to reduce their impact on the environment.
Improved Engagement and Tailored Experiences
Some of the initial apprehensions companies used to have when planning their upcoming Virtual or Hybrid Events early in 2020 was the question of keeping attendees engaged throughout the entire event. A lot of effort often goes into organising such events, with speakers to book, participants to invite, and schedules to coordinate. Because of this, there is nothing worse than getting halfway through a session and having people start to become disinterested or even leave. Luckily, many organisations have become increasingly creative in finding ways to sustain interest throughout their online Virtual Events. We have our own article going into greater detail with this issue, but here are some main take-home points for how utilising online platforms can be advantageous in 2021. Firstly, with the digitisation of events, gamification is not just possible, but super easy to implement. With this, the audience have the opportunity to engage directly with the speaker, and vice versa. This can be through live polls, real-time quizzes, and even virtual Q&As with the use of Breakout rooms. These various features all enable a much-improved flow of communication between participants, as if they were in the same meeting room as each other.
The worry that an online event can’t be branded or can easily incorporate sponsorship and ads to bring in some extra revenue is also dwindling. This may be true for some free online platforms, but by using a production company like Giggabox, you can have a tailored event experience involving the implementation of a bespoke graphics package without the need to invite participants to a Live Event. These services enabling such functionalities for our Virtual and Hybrid Events are growing at an enormous rate, hence the reason for the growth of our own team here at Giggabox, with the recruitment of additional motion graphics & video editors.
A Summer of Live & Hybrid Events…We Hope
With government restrictions on face-to-face interactions eventually scaling down as more and more people become vaccinated, we can hope that people can make the most of the gorgeous summer weather this year. Because of this, we may be fortunate enough to experience some more Live and Hybrid Events. With the current COVID precautions, indoor events seem unlikely. Because of this, we expect outdoor events to be a primary focus for many organisers. As shown by some of the few small-sized events that happened last summer, outdoor venues are a great way to involve audiences of even a few hundred people, all socially distanced, with a digital stream accompanying it. Because of this, we look forward to the opportunities that may arise here and hope to be working out and about in the second half of 2021.
Get in touch with Giggabox
If you require a production company for your event or would like any information regarding virtual events and the options available to you, contact Giggabox today
firstname.lastname@example.org | 01280 735050 | www.giggabox.co.uk
Post written by Philip Barnes – Marketing Assistant at Giggabox