Where will innovation take virtual events?

Can virtual be more effective than live at a time when audiences desire greater interaction, asks JTB Europe's Svetlana Bezrodnaya.

Svetlana Bezrodnaya is vice president and head of MICE and business development at JTB Europe

There is no shying away from the fact that the coronavirus has dramatically shifted the landscape for the MICE industry. Event organisers have seen months and years of planning overturned.

There has never been a more crucial time for companies to connect with audiences and ensure that their employees remain motivated.

So at this point, while asking the important question of how offline events can be replaced virtually, organisers must remind themselves of the value and benefits of these events.

A shift towards integration

The need for face-to-face interaction still exists, and the capabilities of video platforms enable corporates to get as close to this as possible.

Traditional components such as gala dinners, hosting a live performance or DJ can all still be achieved remotely, and their benefits can even be more significant than offline events as audiences desire greater levels of interaction, more unique experiences and points of differentiation.

JTB Europe has developed new online solutions that incorporate components of offline conferences such as Q&As, games, live commentary and chat feeds to allow businesses to engage with their audiences. Ingenuity, resolve and creativity have a significant role to play for any response to be effective.

Streaming platforms such as YouTube or Zoom are great tools for sharing video content with a mass audience and have expectedly risen in popularity during the pandemic. However, to truly replicate an offline conference experience, organisers must consider integrated platforms which combine video streaming with activities such as online games or guest speakers.

While many of these technologies will have existed before the outbreak, what we’re observing now is a shift towards greater integration of technologies within conferences to provide a tailored and personalised experience for audiences.

To achieve this, the industry must be agile and think outside the box to meet the needs of their audiences virtually. Knowing your audience will be a key factor for success.

The road ahead

It is important to remember that these measures are temporary and after a certain period, offline events will be able to continue as normal. That being said, it will be interesting to observe whether companies will be able to harness some of the creative and technological solutions used during this period to deliver hybrid events that make the most of offline and virtual conferences.

The conference and events industry will remain resilient during this time and through the application of innovation and creativity, can be more relevant than ever before.

We have an opportunity to ask ourselves what can be achieved through innovation, rather than focusing on the limiting factors that the pandemic has presented.

Svetlana Bezrodnaya is vice president and head of MICE and business development at JTB Europe. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of C&IT Magazine.

For more features and breaking news sign up to C&IT Magazine's daily Newstracker.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in

How coronavirus will affect financing in the hospitality sector

How coronavirus will affect financing in the hospitality sector

The best course of action for any borrower is to find out what flexibility there is, says legal expert James Stripe.

LIVE UPDATES: Uruguay's Carrasco airport becomes drive-in cinema

LIVE UPDATES: Uruguay's Carrasco airport becomes drive-in cinema

Find out which countries are on partial or national lockdown, what travel restrictions are in place and what size gatherings are allowed.

Listen to C&IT's new podcast RSVP

Listen to C&IT's new podcast RSVP

Guests reveal their best experiences and react to anonymous industry confessions in our first-ever podcast for event and travel professionals.

Why Copenhagen is the perfect destination post-pandemic

Denmark's capital is walkable, clean, sustainable – and most importantly, happy

Can biosecurity teams save events?

Can biosecurity teams save events?

The industry will need a range of biosecurity measures if physical events are to return soon, says Smyle's Matt Holliday.

'We miss exhausted grins, red-eye flights and bad coffee': 15 love letters to events

'We miss exhausted grins, red-eye flights and bad coffee': 15 love letters to events

Industry insiders share what they miss most about live events while they are stuck at home.

Hong Kong Convention Centre holds first event since lockdown

Hong Kong Convention Centre holds first event since lockdown

The venue put stringent hygiene measures and body temperature screening in place to hold a three-day exhibition.

One day left to enter the C&IT Awards Americas

One day left to enter the C&IT Awards Americas

As C&IT expands its reach globally, we've launched the C&IT Awards Americas to recognise the best in US events.

5 ways events are adapting to coronavirus restrictions

5 ways events are adapting to coronavirus restrictions

Marketing budgets remain intact for 75% of companies, finds research by event agency Pico.

Trio of agencies to run events at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Trio of agencies to run events at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

DRPG, TBA and Outdoor Places Unusual Spaces among the companies running creative services for the international event.