Forced to reinvent itself to survive, the event sector is going digital
This very special year is forcing us to reinvent ourselves and bring out new ideas and new uses. These ingenious solutions and new practices that have been created are bound to have a major influence on the "after".
Among the sectors hit hard by the pandemic, events are at the most severely hit. The large and small events that punctuate life and the economy have all been cancelled: festivals, trade fairs, forums... summer granted us a small truce but new regulations and winter have, once again, put an end to any gathering of people.
This situation of meetings without physical contact has been accelerating a noticeable movement in recent years: the digitalisation of events.
For some event professionals, the subject is not new (online registration, event application, etc.), but for many companies, the digitalisation of events quickly became the only possible solution during this complex period.
New opportunities to reinvent sharing
Far from being a downgraded version of a physical event, the digital version opens up new opportunities. Well thought out and designed, this virtual side is not a gadget but a real brick of the project. A digital event gives a similar and essential sensation to that of a successful physical event: contact, closeness, community. The focus should be on creating interaction, remote engagement, content and community.
Many interactive and immersive solutions can create real contacts between participants:
- Conference and round tables in live multiplex to bring together 2, 10, 100 or more people from all over the world
- Interactive conference to ask questions in live, react and intervene virtually, answer quizzes or questions
- Networking zone via virtual rooms dedicated to networking and e-business card exchanges. Certain features make it possible to allow searches among the participants, organise virtual coffee in order to make an appointment and have face-to-face exchanges with a specific person.
- Sending recommendations to participants to meet or content to discover, adapted to each profile.
- Photo Booth which offers filters in the colours of the event
- Guestbook that allows everyone to leave their mark or their opinion in a virtual and animated way
Benefits that suggest that the digital event will survive post-covid
A more flexible organisation
Digital events enable a completely different and complementary approach. Unlike physical event, where the number of places is often limited by the location, a digital event is adaptable to the needs. Depending on the registrations, it is possible to adjust the workshops / conferences and complete the program with interactive modules (questions, votes, quizzes, etc.). The 100% digital format also makes it possible to make the event last over time, in an approach of continuous exchange with audiences. Finally, the 'no-show' rate, which is so dreaded on physical events, no longer has an impact on a digital event.
A controlled budget
The organisation of a digital event requires fewer providers than a physical event, very little travel for the organisation but also a centralisation of costs allowing economies of scale. This enables the organiser to focus on the content and worry less about the logistics.
For participants, digital events have many cost and time advantages. They can attend an event anywhere in the world, at any time. The digital event makes it possible to overcome the geographic barriers and logistical constraints of a physical event.
A step for the environment
A digital event has the merit of limiting travel (plane, train), the printing of communication documents and reducing the individual carbon footprint. These events are part of a “green” approach to events.
The challenge of attention, a major issue
While digital events bring together more participants, at a lower cost, new issues arise: successfully capturing attention and retaining participants.
In the attention economy, content is king more than ever, let alone distance, where users can leave the event in one click!
Particular attention must therefore be paid to content, to make it as interactive and impactful as possible. More than ever, events require in-depth editorial work ahead of time, a meticulously organised event and enhanced content.
It's essential to focus on rich content: videos, audio podcasts and interactive content, allowing participants to ask questions directly to speakers.
The user experience, the centre of attention
The question of sociability is particularly significant, especially in this context in which, separated from others, everyone needs to share and feel included. The event must therefore be organised around people and relationships.
We must succeed in balancing strong content, on the one hand, to appeal to the greatest number, and on the other, allowing private bubbles of exchange.
This involves setting up networking spaces, “rooms” to discuss specific subjects, interactive Q&A, notifications to join conferences or discussion spaces.