The COVID-19 crisis sent the event industry reeling and caused event organizers around the world to ask: "What will happen?"
Hire Space decided to take charge and offer event organizers a lifeboat in these turbulent times by hosting an event to inform all organizers of the relevant information: "How COVID-19 Will Affect The Events Industry".
Inviting knowledgeable speakers from all across the industry, they brought the community together to discuss how Coronavirus will affect their events and what they can do to stop it.
And, more importantly, to show other event organizers that it is possible hold a quality virtual event, they held it 100% online.
Hire Space works with corporate event planners and venues to help them manage successful events by ensuring they can develop their expertise and help them refine their processes.
However, they found a need for actionable and relevant content to help develop the expertise of the industry. So, they created EventLAB, which serves as their content and media hub, hosting informative events throughout the year.
The team behind EventLAB at Hire Space created an event, titled "How The Events World Is Responding To COVID-19", which sought to bring relevant information to event organizers at a time when they dealt with uncertainty around the global pandemic and the future of events.
The challenge faced by the Hire Space team was one common to nearly all event organizers pivoting to virtual: how exactly did one host a virtual event?
Undaunted, the team got to work researching other virtual events, webinars and more to understand the basics:
- How they presented their content
- How they marketed their virtual event
- How they organized their live stream
They also invested into a virtual event platform to ensure that their event could have a quality base for attendees to view from.
The team at Hire Space knew that their content was relevant, as their event would launch at the height of uncertainty around live events, but they were unsure of the reaction from their participants.
Would their delegates understand how to join and participate in a virtual event?
To combat any hesitancy, the team focused on educating their audience on how to complete the basics of a virtual event, like creating a profile, joining the event, and engaging with other attendees virtually.
A large part of that was great networking opportunities, as Felicity Cator commented about the relevance of networking, especially at a time like this.
"[Networking is] so integral to our industry. We are an industry that is inherently sociable and built on the need for people to meet and do business with one another. And I think any way in which you can do that in a way that's both easy to engage with and not overwhelming, it has the power to really unite our industry, particularly at a time when we can't physically be together."
The relevance of the content was apparent as there were a high number of sign ups early - something every event organizer likes to see. However, as their inaugural virtual event, there was some understandable apprehension within the team as the event day drew nearer.
How would their attendees engage with the event? Would everything work?
They would soon find out.
Despite the high number of quick signups, Cator was hesitant to declare the event a success until they saw how many sign ups showed up.
However, Cator and the rest of the Hire Space team were thrilled to discover that their event was not only relevant, it was engaging.
"We saw very few dropoffs during the event itself. Our attendees were engaged for almost the event's entirety in very large numbers. We were at capacity the whole time."
What was more impressive, however, was the uplifting feedback from the audience.
"The responses we had were overwhelmingly positive. People told us that it lifted them out of feeling quite anxious about their day ahead, to feeling quite positive about what they're doing, and what the industry's doing to support them. We're all banding together during a unique and difficult time, and it was great to hear."
This period of uncertainty has struck a nerve with organizers worldwide, as they struggle to make sense of the changing industry and the necessary skills and tools needed to survive. Many organizers, including Hire Space, had to make the quick switch to technology to ensure their event could happen.
However, as Cator says, it wasn't so bad.
"None of us consider ourselves tech experts when we're running events, but whether you realize it or not, you're dealing with so many backend platforms and occasionally customer facing tech that you bring in for your event experience as well.
"You're absorbing a lot of information about the user experience or the data input or analysis of information in ways that you don't realize. So it's a confidence thing. People seem to take to the online experience of ours quite well.
"And the Brella team were so great at guiding us through that journey, with the confidence and knowledge in how to set up a virtual event. The team was great at getting us on the phone, bouncing ideas off one another, trialing things, seeing what works for our unique event comparative to other events they've held, and that hand-holding was really welcome for us."
To view all of Hire Space's relevant content, visit their blog.