“EG Tips” – Are Online Events A Passing Fad Or Here To Stay?

“EG Tips” – Are Online Events A Passing Fad Or Here To Stay?

Our event industry has not seen such a profound and impactful strategic shift since the early days following 9/11. In those days, we could not have handled the pivot many are making today in shifting from live events to online event formats. Technology and network infrastructures were simply not advanced enough to support the tremendous rise in demand. 

Many say we are facing challenging times. We are, but isn’t that view a bit glass-half-empty? I prefer to see this as one of the biggest growth opportunities of our event industry.

While the industry is seeing a notable shift in pushing new meetings to 2021 and later, a Northstar Meetings Group survey showed that event planners are seeing increasing demand for all things online for the next 12-18 months.

Even after live events and conferences make their way back into marketing strategies and budgets, online events will continue to be a part of the event industry. They may not exclusively dominate the event space as they are today, but I believe there are three big reasons online events are not going anywhere. 

  1. Online events are budget-friendly.

If your idea of running a online event immediately makes you consider redecorating your home, it’s time to consider this: Hosting a online event does not necessarily mean hosting a online event from your home, unless that fits your audience, message and brand. There are recording studios and other alternative venues for every budget, so keep that in mind. 

Not only are online events less expensive to produce, but online event speakers typically offer online speaking fees at discounted rates to offset the lack of travel needed. This can often work to an event planner’s advantage when a well-known celebrity or speaker is willing to speak for an hour when they would otherwise be completely unavailable or out of budget.

  1. Online event technology is advancing. 

The event industry has included online events for the better part of the past decade. But the rise of holographics, online reality, social media livestreaming and simulated conference applications have already been transforming the event industry outside of the convention center. 

For example, some online conferences featured not only multiple session rooms to visit, but also an online lounge for networking and online booths that avatar-designed attendees could visit, ask questions and get more information. 

Today’s online event technology is making the event experience a lot more like attending a live event, without the added expense or health risk involved.

 

  1. Attendee experience becomes more important.

While attendee experience has always played a role in the decisions made surrounding live events, the rise of online events is shifting the focus, and rightly so, to the attendee experience. The way I see it, allowing attendees to attend an event in a way they’re most comfortable with is going to become increasingly important. Even when live events return (and they will), some people are simply not going to travel for a while.

By shifting to online events, planners are opening up their events to new attendees who, for one reason or another, have not been able to attend.

This is why event planners who have shifted their scheduled live events to online formats are seeing impressive attendee numbers. Some event planners have seen double or triple their typical attendee count for live events.

In the future, I recommend adding online components or dedicated online sessions to live events so that brands will continue to see greater attendee reach, have new event monetization opportunities with sponsorships, and ultimately allow attendees to consume their content in the way that they choose, not how the event planner chooses. 

Online events are not going anywhere.

Even when live events return to the mainstream, online events are likely to continue to play a part in event strategies. From expanding sponsorships to amplifying brand reach, offering online event options as a part of live events may become a large opportunity for companies that serve the event industry. And I believe the decision to retain online elements for conferences, meetings and events will be mainstream for some time to come. (resource: Forbes.com)

 

 

“EG Tips” – What is Juneteenth — and why are people marching for it in Vancouver?

“EG Tips” – What is Juneteenth — and why are people marching for it in Vancouver?

Another demonstration in support of Black Lives Matter is slated to happen in downtown Vancouver on Friday. This will be the city’s first large-scale Juneteenth protest commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. 

The march will coincide with an eight-hour shutdown of cargo operations at B.C. ports to mark the occasion.

While the event’s origins are 155 years ago in Texas, this year’s Juneteenth protests have taken on greater significance across North America, as protests and awareness about anti-Black racism grow.

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery. Although American President Abraham Lincoln has issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1,1863, stating that all slaves in the states currently engaged in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free,” many slave owners continued to hold their slaves captive after the announcement. 

Two women hold up signs reading “black lives matter” and “white silence is violence” during an anti-black racism protest in Mississauga this month. (Talia Ricci/CBC)

So Juneteenth became a symbolic date representing African American freedom — nearly two and a half years later.

The holiday received its name by combining June and 19. The day is also sometimes called Emancipation Day, Juneteenth Independence Day and Black Independence Day.

How is it celebrated?

The celebrations in Galveston grew over the years as former slaves brought their families back to mark the occasion. In 1980, Texas became the first state to designate Juneteenth a holiday.

Since then, 45 other states and the District of Columbia have also commemorated or recognized the day.

Is there a connection to Canada?

That’s tricky to know for sure, says June Francis, the co-chair of Hogan’s Alley. 

The area around the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts in Vancouver was once the heart of a thriving Black community established in the early 1900s known as Hogan’s Alley. But if the events Juneteenth were historically marked in British Columbia, it’s likely been lost to history. 

“We have this sort of amnesia in Canada where we don’t keep records of certain histories,” says Francis, who adds she hasn’t found any direct links between the events of 1865 and Canada. 

More than a million people from near and far converge on Toronto every year for the Caribbean Carnival. 

But, the idea is marked in other ways in Canada. Slavery was abolished in the British colonies, including Canada, about three decades earlier than the United States on August 1,1834. In Toronto, emancipation is celebrated with the Caribbean Festival — also known as Caribana  — which is held the first Monday in August. It’s become the largest Caribbean festival in North America and includes a big parade.

 

  1. So, why are people marking Juneteenth in Vancouver?

    Granted this is an event marking a poignant moment in American history, but Clement Isanganino says there are important parallels to contemporary Canada. 

    He is a spokesperson for Black Vancouver, which is organizing Friday’s Freedom March. 

    Clement Isanganino is a spokesperson for Black Vancouver which is organizing Friday’s Freedom March. (Stacie DaPonte)

    “This is about human rights fundamentally … Americans like to celebrate Fourth of July,” he said. “But what kind of independence is it that leaves out Black people and only gives it to some people? It’s kind of hypocritical to celebrate that.”

    When the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, slavery was still rampant.

    He says Juneteenth is an opportunity to educate oneself about Canada’s dark and complicated history with racism against the Black community.

    “I went to school in Canada, I’m Black, and I only found that slavery existed here a few years ago,” he said. “How come we’re not talking about this more openly and teaching the truth in schools.”

    Looking toward Canadian history, Isanganino says there are many examples of systemic racism despite promises of  equality. 

    For example, nearly 4,000 American segregated Black soldiers helped build the Alaska Highway, which starts in Dawson Creek, B.C., during the Second World War. During the Second World War, Black soldiers largely were given menial construction, janitorial and cooking duties instead of active fighting — and despite that, their contributions were largely forgotten. 

    In this 1942 photo provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Office of History, soldiers work at a makeshift bench while working on the Alaska Highway, in the Northern Sector of Alaska. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Office of History via AP)

    “We’ve got to understand that there are still ankle shackles attached — it’s called systemic racism.”

    For many in the Black community, Francis says true freedom is still far from reality. 

    “There’s a freedom on paper which doesn’t reflect the lived experience of Black Canadians and Americans today,” she said. “We’re still waiting for our Juneteenth moment … when we’ll be treated equally.”

    While protesters are marching in Vancouver, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada and the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association have agreed to shut down cargo operations at B.C. ports from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to mark Juneteenth.

    “As businesses, as workers, as British Columbians, as Canadians, we cannot sit idly by. We cannot accept racism, hate and intolerance directed at people because of their ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation or faiths,” the union and employer said in a joint press release.

“EG Tips” – 10 Critical Tips to Stay on Track with Event Transportation

“EG Tips” – 10 Critical Tips to Stay on Track with Event Transportation

Planes, trains and automobiles… just some of the many travel options your groups or attendees have in traveling to, from and during your event. For some eventprofs, transportation plays a big role in the experience you provide to your guests. Building a flawless transportation plan can be a big undertaking, but with a few important reminders you can keep your event running smooth.
  1. Have a Plan
    Planning, it is what we do for a living, and it is also the best way to start out in your transportation process! Having a quality plan will give your guests a great experience and an opportunity to enjoy the event even more.
    Be very detailed and create a document that will show your entire team the in’s and out’s of your travel process. Be sure to include every detail that might need to be referenced during the event.
  2. Be Ready for Changes
    Inevitably changes will arise at some point during your event. As with every aspect of event planning you need to be ready for these speed bumps. Ensure you have a backup option for getting your guests from point A to point B.
    Perhaps a road is closed near your venue, or your driver becomes ill. The scenarios that can throw off your plans are endless, but being prepared for these challenges to arise is key. Do your best not to panic and utilize the backup options that are available to you.
  3. Always be a People Person
    When you are transporting large groups of busy attendees it can become stressful and at times, hard to keep your mind on customer service. Even in these challenging situations you must be able to keep your cool and interact with your guests in a positive manner.
    Make it a priority to provide each person with an incredible experience. When you go out of your way to make a guest feel welcomed and appreciated, they can often times forgive a small mishap in your transportation or overall event.
  4. Follow Up Constantly
    Follow up is the name of the game when you are working with vendors, but in transportation you cannot risk anyone forgetting where or when they are supposed to be providing service to your group.
    Following up with your transportation vendors right before the event begins is vital, along with giving them an hour or a 30 minute warning. If something goes wrong or changes in that last bit of time, it at least gives you, as the planner, an opportunity to implement your backup option.
  5. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
    Communication is not just for the vendors and service providers. You must make sure that your staff is always in the loop on what is planned for transportation. If something changes, contact the entire team and have them adjust their schedule.
    This is very critical when it comes to multiple pickups, if for example you have a variety of guests flying in and out. Flights are always changing or delayed and making sure your guests aren’t stuck hanging around waiting at the airport will go a long way in their first, or last, impressions of your event.
  1. Be Firm, Yet Professional
    Sometimes you have to take a stand in order to get things accomplished in this industry and the transportation aspect of events is second to none. If you have paid for a transportation service, they should arrive on time and be attentive to the needs of your guests.
    Stay firm and don’t allow transportation companies to push you around. They often times have many clients that need a vehicle on a given night, and this can lead to delays in service, but they should never discount the value of your business. Many times if you follow up and communicate you can avoid any issues that might arise. Do your best to build a lasting relationship with vendors and they will make it a point to provide you with high-quality service.
  2. Evaluate Your Routes
    We all take the time to do a site visit and a walk through prior to our guest arriving, but we should also make it a point to evaluate the routes we are using to move our guests from venue to venue. Perhaps there is construction, flight delays or train lines down. Prior to the arrival of your guests take a look at all of your routes, along with the weather forecast, to plan ahead and predict any challenges you might face.
  3. Think Outside the Box
    Transportation doesn’t have to be traditional! Have you ever taken a boat to an event? Or perhaps ridden a bike between venues? Take a look at your location or host city with a critical eye and see what transportation options might be unique and special to your location. These creative methods of transportation will give your guests an interesting experience that they may not have had, and one that they can share with their friends and colleagues who could ultimately become your future clients.
  4. Say Goodbye to Boring
    If you have a lengthy journey from one location to the next, do you best to create an entertainment opportunity while your guests are traveling. You could bring in a guest speaker or tour guide to provide information on the event topic or the host city.
    This experience serves as a bonus to your guests and will take away from the otherwise boring trip. Your guests will enjoy the opportunity to learn and enjoy the travel they are embarking on. Your speakers will also take pride in having the full attention of your guests while they are on this excursion.
  5. Evaluate Areas for Improvement
    Each year you will learn and improve upon the event transportation you provide. You may find travel companies that are a joy to work with, while others may be a challenge. You should always be seeking out new and creative ways to move your guests between cities and venues, and never be afraid of changing up your transportation to bring a fresh aspect to the event. Ultimately you should be open to new ideas and seek to improve year after year!

In Conclusion

Many events have multiple components that involve travel from one venue to the next. Utilizing the steps above will set you apart as a prepared and innovative planner. Most eventprofs dread the transportation aspect of their event, because of the uncertainty. However, through proper communication, follow up and assertiveness you will be moving your event and your guests towards continued success.

(Social Coup LLC)