We’re four and a half months into 2020, and so many drastic changes have taken place due to the infamous global pandemic, COVID-19. Among all the industries affected, the business events industry is no exception, with many events which have been planned throughout this year having to be cancelled with respect to the Movement Control Order (MCO) as well as for the health and wellbeing of everyone. However, with the MCO being relaxed and now entering the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) phase, gatherings are now allowed, but only up to 20 people at a time, and subject to the health director-general’s directions. Per the latest gazette, marketing activities are now allowed, but only within one’s business premises. This is obviously not sufficient for traditional business events to resume, which is why the business events industry has to evolve in light of this in order to survive past COVID-19 with a much better strategy in place.
One of the key steps to be taken now is to transition most, if not all, business events to a digital platform as soon as possible. Seminars would now have to become webinars. Indeed, most companies are now discovering the many advantages of hosting a webinar over a seminar, chief among them is the slashing of the budget for location, transportation, catering, etc. Now, because the webinar is taking place online, all participants do not need to travel to a particular venue, and everyone can access the webinar from the comfort of their own home, even including those who are overseas. Plus, depending on the platform, webinars afford a different level of interactivity where participants can craft their questions and submit them; this is good for the introverts who don’t like speaking out but want to know the answer to their question. Of course, this isn’t a perfect solution: two major downsides to this are the possibility of technical glitches, which means participation or even the hosting itself may be affected, and that this requires the discipline of the participants in paying attention to the presentation. Meanwhile, online marketing is booming because everyone stuck at home is browsing the internet, so all of us are more exposed to online marketing than before. I, for one, bought half a dozen Chinese dumplings and ordered from various restaurants online because I was drawn in to their Facebook marketing.
Now that the MCO has become a CMCO, hybrid events are a possibility. A hybrid event is where some participants are present at the premises while most others are participating in the event virtually. So, in conjunction with the government allowing businesses to conduct marketing activities within their premises, businesses can bring a limited number of people into their business premises as exclusive participants, while others can join in via live video. Exclusive participants can be a mix of influencers and lucky draw winners, while everyone else can be an online participant, and best of all, even those out of state can be part of the event by being one of the online viewers. This would allow more people than the premises could normally accommodate to take part in the marketing event.
Lastly, the only other options left are to either cancel planned events outright or postpone them to a much later date. Certain events like the Olympics cannot be helped but to be postponed to a later date, but that is dependent on a number of uncertainties, such as the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as public confidence in participation, not to mention social distancing measures. This last resort should only be employed if the event in question cannot be turned into a webinar or a hybrid event as mentioned.
So, do you want to resume your business events as soon as possible? Why don’t you ask us and see if we can transform your business event into a fully-digital or hybrid event to maximise your business potential? Let us know in the comments if you have any other ideas of how business events can continue during this time as well as after the global pandemic has come and gone.