Flock Eventing Platform recently kicked off its Webinar Series for this year with an expert panel discussion around the 12 Top Event Trends of 2021.
Hosted by MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) ambassador, Thami Nkadimeng, it was the first of many sessions aimed at businesses and event organisers who are shifting their attention to how to engage with audiences and customers virtually during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 12 Top Event Trends of 2021 webinar delved into answers to the pertinent question of how to engage proactively, effectively and to teach people new ways of hosting events post-COVID.
Nkadimeng led an exciting and engaging panel discussion weaving together the many facets of the event industry. Topics ranged from cyber security, tourism, marketing and virtual and augemented reality, and how to maximise audience engagement.
Covering all aspects of the event industry, Flock pulled together experts such as Tracy Hirst, Chief Marketing Officer at PSG Konsult, and Herkie Du Preez, a well-know event planner at Event Wizards, who provided key tips on how to maximise engagement with audiences during virtual events.
With over 25 years of experience in marketing, Hirst believes that virtual events are able to offer much more in terms of engagement and reach and at a fraction of the cost of live events. According to Hirst “the key to nailing virtual gatherings, is to use social media as the main platform to drive campaigns”.
Herkie Du Preez, event professional, elaborated on how companies can use digital platforms during their events to increase engagement and interest. According to Du Preez, virtual events are all about keeping your attendee’s attention.
“It’s too easy to just log off if I get bored. You have to keep me engaged every step of the way,” says Du Preez.
SWAG bags (an assortment of different branded and promotional items or goodie bags), live polls and hourly giveaways are just a few ways to keep people tuned in, he said.
Du Preez advised companies to spread their events over days or even a week instead of cramming everything into a one day. This way people are able to engage with the content more productively and won’t feel overwhelmed, he said.
Nkadimeng steered the conversation to cyber security and how to keep the personal data of the attendees and the business safe during a virtual event.
Andrew Henwood, Director of Cyber Security at Black Rhino, offered some insights into how companies can manage data securely and said that the most important step in this process is to understand what data is being gathered and how to go about storing different kinds of information.
“If sensitive data is captured, then steps need to be taken to protect it”, he said.
Henwood added that the responsibly for a safe online space is shared between both event company and attendee.
“Everyone involved needs to practice good digital hygiene for the ecosystem to remain protected,” he stressed.
Another item on Flock’s webinar programme was the impact of the pandemic on different industries, especially the tourism sector.
Pieter Geldenhuys, travel and tourism expert at PG TOPS, provided insights on how the tourism industry had adapted to the post-pandemic landscape.
People still have a strong desire to get away, but the industry’s responsibility right now is to provide “placeholder engagement” until people can travel again, Geldenhuys said.
The way to go for now while in-person tourism is on hold, is for the tourism industry to create highly interactive, immersive experiences, for example, to offer virtual tours of Table Mountain. But, he added, the experience should be about allowing the audience to take control of their experience, something they hadn’t been able to do in the past year,” explains Geldenhuys.
Steve Pinto, Chief Executive Office at CTRL Robotics, elaborated on how these immersive experiences can be created, using virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Explaining the key difference between AR and VR, Pinto highlighted how the future of both virtual and hybrid events will be focused on using virtual reality to provide immersive experiences to audiences, while augmented reality makes those spaces more efficient for the event organisers and companies.
During the webinar, Flock gave attendees a chance to experience virtual event engagement tactics with giveaways as well as with polls that helped inform the discussion.
The webinar displayed the key points needed to make a virtual event a success, keeping it short and sweet with an engaged audience throughout.
Flock Eventing Platform looks forward to future episodes in the Webinar Series, said Mike Lysko, Founder and CEP of the platform and it will host expert advice and innovative insights on how events will continue to grow and change in a post-pandemic world.”
Missed the webinar? Follow the link to watch the full episode on our YouTube channel: https://webinar.flockplatform.com/ep/?event=Flock-Knowledge-Series-