As a result of the worldwide measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many major events have been cancelled and postponed. However, because of this the world has turned to online events, and at JTB Meetings & Events by JTB Communication Design (JCD) we are also focusing on actively responding to this emerging trend.
The event discussed here is an online large-scale convention, which wasn’t originally planned as an online event. The current state of things changed this into an event held online with multiple sessions held simultaneously in multiple rooms, and with exhibitions also set up.
- With limited time until the scheduled event deadline, strive to stick to the original planning and content as much as possible.
- Take questions from participants.
- Collecting online logs of participants.
- Exposure and involvement of sponsors.
Proposals from JCD
Unlike single-session seminar-style events, large conventions online are held in a fully digital space including multiple sessions at multiple venues, which require a large budget, broad schedule, and much technical equipment. Nowadays we are able to do almost anything by utilizing digital technologies such as virtual environments, but our clients struggled with the issue of a limited budget and resources. Therefore, our event planners made a proposal with an emphasis on how to realize the originally planned event within a range that can be supported by the organizer and the viewing environment of the participants.
How to Hold Multiple Sessions Online
When multiple sessions are held at the same time, the equipment and design of the environment can be very complex and it is expensive to live-stream everything. Therefore, while the preparation period was limited, the method we introduced was a mechanism to collect the lecture materials with a recording of the speakers’ presentations in Powerpoint files. These would then be viewable online at any time during the event’s duration. By doing this, the speakers would not need to be streaming live at a specific session time, but their talks can be viewed on demand at any time, creating an environment in which participants can flexibly browse according to their schedules. This contributed to the number of participants exceeding expectations.
Q&A with Participants
For this event, interaction with the participants was also highly desired. This is why we adopted a format where participants could post questions freely. In a normal live event, Q&A is conducted interactively on the spot, but during an online event we hold the session for several days and you can view and listen to the content at any time, as mentioned above. Therefore, questions could not be answered in real time, but were collected online and answered at a later moment. In the case of live events there are only a limited number of questions that can be answered due to time constraints. In online events however, we are able to collect more questions and it also becomes possible to provide deeper answers, resulting in a much wider array of information.
Digital Footprint of Participants
It was important to collect information such as which sessions were attended and if they had been viewed in their entirety. With an online event it is possible to clearly understand someone’s field and degree of interest by keeping track of when they log in and when they leave a session. Attending an online event is easy, but the flip side is that it is also easy to leave right in the middle of a talk. Content and the way of communicating are vital, and it has now become possible to clearly see what the points and themes of highest interest are based on the logs of your participants' activity during an online event.
Measures to Replace Exhibitions
At regular large-scale complex events many sponsors will have stands in order to acquire new leads and promote products. There was a concern that sponsors would not have the opportunity to hold business negotiations if an event is held online.
There were options for utilizing virtual exhibitions and matching systems. In this case we opened a special page online, where sponsor products that were planned to be exhibited at the actual event venue were posted. Also, our events planners designed a connection setup between the sponsors and online visitors to be used for direct inquiries and business negotiations.
Under the current circumstances, we at JCD strive to evolve from day to day, thinking from the standpoint of the organizer. We want to create online environments in which goals can be achieved and risks can be avoided in a way that is close to normal. There are various ways to tackle online or hybrid events depending on the client’s event type and purpose. We will strive to keep coming up with new ideas and input that can maximize the satisfaction of our clients, in line with their long-term vision.
For any questions or inquiries, feel free to contact us here!