According to the Harvard Business Review, 86% of business leaders surveyed claimed that artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming “mainstream technology” in their company, a leap that has largely been pushed by the pandemic as industries and consumers have been forced to adapt and change how they live and work.
The event industry is not immune to this change. Although some organizers had already been taking advantage of similar technologies for years prior to the pandemic, those that have been slower to adapt can no longer afford to ignore the digital revolution that has occurred as a result of the pandemic, or they risk being left behind. Here’s why.
Increased Event Visibility
Throughout the pandemic, we saw a dramatic increase in the uptake of digital events platforms across many industries, as organizers looked to provide rich and engaging events despite their activations being delivered remotely. This digital revolution transformed event visibility, quite literally overnight, opening the floor to audiences across the globe.
Where talks, conferences and exhibitions were once best viewed in-person by those who could afford to travel and physically attend, they are now available to hundreds if not thousands more interested parties.
This is good news for both organizers and attendees. Organizers can sell tickets to a global audience and advertise to a wider range of potential attendees, and those looking for an event to attend no longer need to consider logistics such as travel and accommodation.
In failing to capitalize on the digital revolution, organizers would not only be limiting their event reach, but would also be missing out on ticket sales and profitability by continuing to run events that have limited capacity, no virtual alternative and fewer benefitting from the networking and guest speaking opportunities.
A Safer Event Environment
Advancements in digital technology have also provided a safer event environment, something that remains hugely important as we continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic and the emergence of new variants.
Specifically, virtual events, social distancing and smaller capacities have created gaps in the event experience that event technology providers have been trying to bridge.
The relationship between speaker and attendee, the delegate network and the togetherness of the events community all initially suffered at the beginning of the pandemic, but the rapid increase in the uptake of event technologies has provided a much-needed platform to stay connected, despite the many hurdles of COVID-19.
Thanks to these advanced technologies, the event industry has been able to operate effectively throughout the pandemic with little to no disruptions or difficulty. If organizers were to go back to their “old ways” and cease capitalizing on the digital revolution post-pandemic, the events space would be opened up to the ongoing uncertainty around COVID-19 and the potential for more event cancellations or postponements.
Broader Networking Opportunities
The pandemic and the emergence of hybrid and virtual event technology has presented organizers with the opportunity to innovate and broaden their events and networking opportunities. Borders have been removed and travel times eliminated, with the virtual element of events allowing speakers to engage with audiences from across the globe.
The pandemic has pushed this technology into the limelight as not just a “nice to have” but rather an essential for event organizations. Not only does it allow audiences to connect with speakers from anywhere in the world, but it also lifts the limitations of physical attendance, giving audiences the freedom to find events that are relevant to them and their businesses, regardless of their location, and increasing the quality and breadth of the networking opportunities on offer.
In an environment where many events may suffer from speakers and attendees forced to self-isolate or miss events due to illness or travel limitations, offering a virtual element is crucial in ensuring the event can go ahead with as much attendee engagement as possible and a huge virtual network of leaders and businesses that would not necessarily be afforded the chance to meet if the event was in-person only.
A Safety Net for Delegates
The acceleration of digitalization in the events industry has created vast improvements to the wider events landscape. Events are more accessible and safer, and this has led to a significant reduction in cancellations compared to if events were held strictly in person.
This “digital safety net” now surrounding events as seen with virtual conferences, interactive online Q&As and live on-screen sign language translators, to name a few, has been key in ensuring events are still profitable and has meant events are now harder to miss and easier to access.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
The digital revolution has afforded the events industry a way to stay in the conversation without sacrificing content, attendee numbers or engagement rates.
While a hybrid event offering may be the future as the need for fully virtual activations subsides, a reliance on strictly in-person activations is set to be a thing of the past with 71% of event organizers planning virtual or hybrid and 0% planning for face-to-face-only events, according to a VenuIQ poll.
Organizers who turn their backs on advancing technology now are likely to suffer from all the prior issues associated with solely in-person events, while others will continue to develop and innovate to stay one step ahead.
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