Postone, Cancel or Go Virtual? Corporate Event Planning during the time of Covid-19
We believe that all events are most powerful when they are building personal and professional connections, whether they are face to face or virtual.
In our current environment, most businesses are asking this question: "Should we postpone the event, cancel it, or create a digital event?" Most people become attached to the event that they have been planning and designing, and the decision can become easily convoluted with emotions. Here is how we guide our corporate clients through making good informed business decisions:
Rightfully so, companies look immediately at financial impacts and safety concerns. Both for the company and attendees. Its not just Covid19 that plays a factor but travel, economics, and vulnerability all play a role in these decisions. If your event cannot go on due to state mandate, your planner can work with all vendors to find an acceptable postponement date and review all current contracts. Most vendors are eager to keep your business and are incentivized to find a date that works for all to do so, most without any additional fees or consequences and will transfer your deposits to the new event. Beware of damage fees when cancelling the event all together and be sure to get a cancellation agreement from all participating vendors if cancellation is the direction you must go.
What is your current business strategy and marketing plan? What purpose was this particular event serving to reach those goals? Are those goals at all flexible or even more important given our current climate? Can your company event mix become predominatly virtual over the next several months?
If you decide to take your event virtual, outline the benefits of a virtual event for both the company and the attendee. Some large benefits include, less expense in terms of travel, entertainment, food and beverage, and production costs, and maybe there is an oppurtunity to reduce ticket sales. When you go online, what was once limited capacity can now be opened for the whole team to see a speaker.
We all have to work hard at creating excitement during a virtual event. How will you create the possibility of networking and other business connection points? How do you drive attendence to the virtual event? How do you recognize sponsors & exhibitors?
Determine how to create content that is valuable, thoughtful, and that extends further then it had before. Your current conference probably had nothing to do with todays current situation. How can you incorporate it? People are craving social and emotional connection even more so now, Zoom and other virtual online platforms offer smaller break out groups to keep people engaged and communicating more openly.
You still want to be creative and deliver an amazing experience for your attendees, in that sense nothing has changed. Every business needs to create connections and drive brand awareness more than ever before. Lets embrace this current situation and keep folks socially distanced but emotionally connected. Its not the time to be sales pitchy but an oppurtunity for your company to be noticed for doing the right thing, prioritizing health, safety, and helping your community.