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2021 and Beyond - The Future of: Corporate Events

Updated: Jun 10, 2021

62% of organisations affected by changes due to COVID-19 have stated that they will spend more on training in 2021.

We posted about this statistic found by Growth Engineering last week. Do you have upcoming training courses in 2021 that you are able to spend more on?

Such training might include your upcoming training events such as workshops, and/or your annual conference. Is your organisation altering its budget for such events? How is your events team bouncing back from the impact of COVID-19? Below, we discuss some changes to the corporate events landscape. This is to investigate why organisations are paying extra attention to their events this year.

Budget Changes

Your industry’s leading events, such as Annual Conferences, may not require in-person attendance anymore. Therefore, event budgets will no longer have to consider accommodation, refreshments, travel, or event signposting/decorations. This may either mean that your budget will be temporarily cut. Or, it may mean that in the long run you have more budget to spend on your event’s online aspect. This may include your online promotions (e.g. promotional videos, online advertisements, social media content building anticipation for your event), as well as broadcasting your event online via a recording or livestreaming team.

With this increased budget, there is no reason why your event should still be held on a free Zoom call. Companies are able to elevate their video production more and more. So, if your corporate event is still held on the same platform that your meetings and forums were on for all of 2020, it’ll just fatigue your audience. Use that spare chunk of your budget to get a higher picture quality.

Attendee Experience

Travelling to physically attend events is no longer necessary. Therefore, today’s attendees are much less likely to want to waste time in hotel lobbies, traffic or train stations just to attend your events. This is because they know how virtual events don’t require this. For this reason, corporate event organisers should be more mindful of the patience of attendees. If you are making people attend in person, ensure that the event feels worth that. You should also keep in mind that the safety and event experience of attendees are now in their hands. They will expect to be able to choose whether to attend your events in person or online.

Event Hybridity

The above point also means that you will have to ensure that your events have online and offline components (i.e. can be classified as a hybrid event). You must then give both your online and offline attendees an equal experience. To do this, your offline components must be of a high quality and not leave attendees feel like they are missing something by viewing from home. We recommend, then, opting to stream your events to a high quality rather than hosting one angle of your event to a Zoom stream.

Thanks to these online components of events, the success of such events is getting easier to measure. Platforms like Uscreen, Brightcove, JW Live, and even TikTok Live allow you to see the analytics of your live and on-demand videos. This allows live portions of your events to be easily monitored. For instance, you can analyse:

• The geographical locations of attendees – to determine how widespread your audience is and which time zones you should be catering towards.

• The devices they are viewing your event on – to determine which platform is best to broadcast and promote on.

• The time spent tuning into certain talks – to give you insight into which topics are the most relevant, or which speakers are more engaging, for your attendees.

• Which channels (e.g. social media, email, etc.) garnered the most registrations – to show you where to promote your next event.

While platforms like Wowza still have limited analytics tools, we see corporate events as going in the same direction as other corporate content, such as email marketing, i.e. catering more to allowing Event Professionals to measure the success of an event.

Therefore, again we do not advise the online aspects of your events to be simply held on Zoom. If you want to be able to check the success of your event, you should livestream it to a more sophisticated platform.

Overall, we see corporate events as definitely continuing to have virtual elements to them. We predict this to be the case even when restrictions on physical gatherings cease. Therefore, hybrid events are likely to be the future. Furthermore, event budget fluctuations will likely continue as organisations struggle to allocate budgets in new ways.

Do you find that your organisation is spending more on training in 2021? Comment below about how your event strategy is changing, and if you could do with livestreaming your next event to comply with event hybridity and allow for your events analytics to be measured.

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