The COVID Series: Christmas Party Arrangements

Malcolm Wallace Christmas Party

Is it starting earlier this year? My kids (young adults, actually Dad) are already talking about plans for enjoying the festive season and with an extended family, two grandchildren and siblings it is complicated, even for two experienced event organisers, to juggle the needs of step-parents, great granny et al.

Having learnt the dark art of delegation, honed to perfection by 25 years of running a business, or as my young adults would say, the art of lazy. I tend to take a back seat and let negotiations take place in the 2nd tier of management, trust me, it works.

And all this reminded me of Christmas parties. As a company we have had some memorable years and some not so. My favourite had to be last year’s stay at Amberley Castle with a cocktail making competition in the Alan Sugar Apprentice style, the worst, I have wiped from my memory!

What is going to happen this year? As a team we are back in the office enjoying a socially distanced and carefully managed working environment, but for us that is relatively easy. Being based in sunny and rural Rye, we have a large office with room to sit apart and nobody needs to commute by public transport, we even have room for a Friday evening after work drink together.

But what if you are a larger company based in a major city? Your staff may have been working from home for a long time now and there is a need for some social interaction.

There are few solutions really. One is a wait and see strategy, social distancing regulations may have eased, who knows? The reality though is that this is a risky strategy, with the likely position being much where we are now.

A venue could be booked, but if doing so, be very careful of the cancellation terms and Force Majeure and ensure that they are mindful of any social distancing and cleaning regulations in force.

Or you could use a virtual platform as a social meeting place with entertainment and opportunities for networking in smaller groups. There are many viable and fun solutions for this option.

My favourite would be a super hybrid event with staff in different locations enjoying smaller group, in person get togethers and with each location connected to a central virtual platform, a bit like Children in Need. Each location could demonstrate an activity or fundraiser, the opportunities are endless.

I’m looking forward to the challenges our clients will throw at us, whatever happens, it will be a very different year.

Until next time,

Malcolm

Malcolm WallaceManaging Director at Dynamic Conferences & Events Ltd

The COVID Series: Super Hybrid Events

Malcolm Wallace Hybrid Event

My learning curve over the past few months has been immense, and my vocabulary must have grown 100-fold with virtual conference jargon terms alone. Nevertheless, I learnt a new one this week, super-hybrid event.

It sounds amazing, although adding the word super to most things elevates it anyway; superwoman, superman to name just two! I know what a hybrid event is, but super hybrid? Having now hyped a simple term, the actual meaning is going to seem quite mundane, but it actually goes some way to solving our current meeting restrictions.

Simply expand the hybrid event solution into several locations simultaneously. Across the UK, for example, choose a venue in London, Manchester, Dublin and Edinburgh that can accommodate up to, say, 50 people in each venue safely. Anyone who cannot travel easily or safely to the venues chooses to join virtually. This can easily be expanded regionally by choosing venues across Europe or the United States.

You can have some fun with the whole idea. Hyatt, for instance, sent food ingredients to a number of venues and their chef based in Kuala Lumpur led the dinner cooking so that everyone shared the same meal despite being in different countries.

One common issue for international events is the different time zones, making it difficult for someone from Australia to join a virtual event taking place in Europe, but why not have a rolling hybrid event starting in one time zone and travelling around the world?

Each time zone would have their own presenters live, with the content becoming on demand for the next zone until finally the hybrid returns to the starting point with all presentations on demand.

Now that is what I call a super, super hybrid and another new term for your vocabulary!

Until next time,

Malcolm

Malcolm Wallace, Managing Director at Dynamic Conferences & Events Ltd

Top Tips for Hybrid Events

Hybrid events are likely to become the norm for the foreseeable future. With COVID-19 changing the event landscape almost overnight and outbreaks occurring all over the world on a weekly basis, hybrid events will be the solution for many companies.

Here are a few key considerations when planning your hybrid event:

Your audience

Consider your in-person audience first in every aspect of your event from registration to what to do during breaks.

The right platform

Invest in the right platform to ensure you have the right functionality, support and backup. With so many platforms reliability is key.

Keep to time

Critical for your online audience who may have only logged in for selected sessions and not attend the whole event.

Interaction

A good facilitator will engage with your audience and link both live and virtual attendees. Encourage Q&A sessions, polls, video chat and live chat.

Plan, Rehearse and test

Organise an online test event to ensure each presentation displays correctly for your online audience and all the AV team are all onboard with slides, video, background and sound.

Registration

Be flexible and offer different levels of attendance for delegates. In person, online, selected sessions and on demand – price accordingly.

Please note, that research has shown during this lockdown period many conferences and events have shown an increase in attendance of virtual events. When you take off travel, accommodation, and loss of time in the office, virtual events are winning on reaching a larger and more diverse audience.

With this in mind, let us help you start planning your hybrid event today.

Hybrid events are the future

Hybrid Event Agenda

Everyone is hoping and praying that live events will be back as soon as possible. The government has made this possible from 1st October, but does this mean the events industry will instantly return back to how it was?

I’m afraid the simple answer is NO. Although live events will be ‘back’ they will look very different from pre-COVID times; with social distancing, temperature checks, hand sanitising, one-way systems and many more procedures to be in place in order to keep our delegates safe.

Even with all these measures in place, numbers for events are likely to be significantly lower. People are less inclined to travel; they have got used to ‘working from home’, having a Zoom meeting and are generally wary about meeting in large numbers. On top of this, having officially gone into recession in the UK, companies simply do not have the budget to enable employees to attend events. The reality is that with accommodation and travel costs attending live events is an expensive option.

Many of the events we are planning for next year will be hybrid events. Our clients still want and need to gather member firms / clients / employees, but the scale of the live event has significantly reduced. We are seeing clients whose numbers were 250 now estimate groups of 100. 

This is not all bad news though, as companies are predicting larger numbers for virtual events. With the technology available delegates can login to a live stream, participate and interact, ask questions and be part of the event all whilst sitting in their living room. In actual fact, we are predicted higher number of participation overall with 100 live delegates and over 300 signing up online and for on demand access.

We have partnered with multiple virtual platforms so we can offer the right solution to fit our client’s needs. Hybrid events are the future and are here to stay.

How are service works?

We are an event management company and whether your event is live, virtual or hybrid we can help you deliver the best event possible. You will have a dedicated event manager assigned to your event to support you throughout the whole process, on top of that you will have access to our marketing team to help with your event strategy and set your objectives.

Our team will run your event from concept to conception, taking away all the stress while keeping you in the driving seat and informed of the progress throughout.  We are problem solvers and will offer you solutions at each stage to ensure your event is running to schedule and ensure you achieve your event goals and objectives.

We can communicate with delegates, arrange filming of speakers, create marketing plans, build an event website, and ensure your brand is centre stage throughout the whole delegate’s journey. With over 100 years of experience within the team, we know what we’re doing and love what we do.

If you need help moving your event from live to hybrid, get in touch we would love to help.

Contact us here

The COVID Series: What a difference a month makes!

Malcolm Wallace, COVID Series, Conference, Events, Management
COVID Series, Malcolm Wallace, Live Events

A growing number of companies and organisations are realising that, in the short term at least, they will have to bite the virtual bullet and so we are seeing a record number of enquiries for demos of virtual platforms.

Last week alone saw us signing 6 new clients for virtual events, as revenue managers try to stimulate income growth and comms managers stimulate their teams after weeks/months of furlough.

Despite this, the demand for live events is growing and we are signing contracts for events through 2021 and 2022, and of course, being event managers, we are planning how to keep our delegates safe just in case the promised vaccines don’t arrive or are not as efficacious as they should be!

So, what should you be considering and what is available to keep delegates safe enough to give you the confidence to hold your next live event:

  • A huge increase in cleaning and disinfection, probably the easiest item to implement. Most venues already have this in hand but as organisers we need to ensure that it is being carried out frequently and thoroughly enough.
  • Automated hand sanitising and disinfecting wipes at primary entrances and high traffic areas such as lifts
  • Thermal imaging cameras to measure temperature
  • Enabling social distancing by reducing capacities, managing queues, identifying potential bottle necks or congestion points, grab and go food etc
  • As much as possible go digital such as room keys, removing pens and paper, contactless check-in
  • Room seals so you know nobody has entered since cleaning
  • Innovative disinfection technologies:
    • Electrostatic sprayers, with electrostatically charged disinfecting mist
    • Ultraviolet light to sanitise surfaces and objects

There are many other options and considerations, each venue is different and will present different problems to be overcome, but hopefully these may form the basis to help instil some confidence in organising your next live event.

If you wish to learn more or need some assistance with your next live event contact my team on 01797 223626 or email me at [email protected]

Until next time,

Malcolm

Navigating the virtual highway

virtual event strategy
Virtual events, event strategy, Claire Wallace

Have a read of our latest article by Claire Bowley published on PA Life Magazine explaining the three pillars to have in mind when creating your virtual event strategy; Content, Connections and Community.

We are all too familiar with the buzzwords and phrases that have dominated communications in recent months – ‘unprecedented times’, ‘pivot to virtual’, ‘the new normal’ and ‘platform agnostic’.

Whilst we are starting to tire from the overuse of such language, the truth is these HAVE been extraordinary times and every single person has been on their own journey. In-person events will re-emerge, probably more compact and better focused – but in the meantime we will continue exploring the digital world.

To continue reading, click on the link below;