By: Betsy Collings, Corporate Account Executive at Turf Valley Resort
2020 has forced us all to adjust the way we previously held meetings and events. The pivot within the meetings and events industry happened quickly and out of necessity – all within about eight weeks! As a result of the global pandemic, new and innovative technology offered an easier way to engage virtually and meeting planners quickly got on board.
As the dust from 2020 settles and we look ahead in the new year, virtual events are here to stay. They will be an integral part of an organization's events program. As the power of virtual events gain momentum, organizations are gaining the confidence to successfully execute these events. An added benefit of virtual events is the potential to exponentially increase audience reach. In a recent PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association) study, 76% of meeting planners said that they are going virtual.
If you are wondering what the difference is between virtual and hybrid, let's look at their definitions:
What is a Virtual Event? An event where people interact and content is shared in a virtual environment, rather than in a physical location. A virtual meeting can take place with video conferencing or even on social media. Virtual conferences, webinars and online meetings are just some examples of virtual events.
What is a Hybrid Event? A hybrid event is a combination of in-person attendees and virtual attendees at the same time. Hybrid events are valuable for people who are unable to attend due to health concerns, travel restrictions, limited budgets, or venue capacity limitations. Sales Conferences, Training Seminars and Tradeshows are all examples of events that could seamlessly go hybrid.
Things to keep in mind when planning a virtual event:
- Drive attendance: Create targeted advertising and marketing promotions to highlight the event. Encourage registration for the event. Send reminders.
- Measure Engagement: Data will prove the success of the event. Determine your ROI through attendee data and follow up surveys to measure overall success.
- Engage the Audience: In a virtual setting, overall engagement is crucial. Think about deploying powerful keynote speakers, immersive virtual sessions, a mobile-friendly app, an interactive environment and live Q&A.
- Create a Mix of Virtual & Face to Face: Virtual events should not be a permanent replacement to in-person events. Nothing can replace the value of face-to-face interaction. Rather, virtual, hybrid and in-person events should complement one another, each used in different situations, for different needs, but all to the benefit of the organization.
Our industry is strong, resilient, and adaptive. Never has this been more evident than it was in 2020. Let us know what you think – are you going virtual?
Betsy Collings, Corporate Account Executive at Turf Valley Resort
About Turf Valley Resort:
Turf Valley Resort is a full-service conference and events venue with more than 40,000 square feet of meeting space. Located in Howard County, Maryland, we are easily accessible from Columbia, Baltimore and surrounding areas.
Turf Valley Resort offers 25 flexible venues with full-service catering and our hotel features 172 rooms overlooking our championship golf courses. For more information about Turf Valley Resort, please call 410.465.1200 or email [email protected].