Organizing traditional live events will eventually come back, but the virtual aspect is definitely here to stay.
To be successful in today’s economy, we need to be creative and flexible. Organizing traditional live events will eventually come back, but the virtual aspect is definitely here to stay. Ideally, you want to be able to take advantage of hybrid events.
Meanwhile, virtual events offer many advantages both in terms of reducing costs and greatly simplifying logistics to organize walking – running – biking – hiking events. They can be set-up quickly and scaled on demand.
With a virtual event, there is no need to buy supplies, to rent space, to recruit volunteers, to manage the logistics of crowd control or even setting-up the course. Therefore, organizing virtual events is much easier, faster and cheaper than live events.
Promoting a virtual event requires a different approach. You want to be more interactive in your communications as it is basically the only link you have with your audience. You can use traditional advertising to recruit participants on your online platform, but social media should play a bigger role in enticing and nurturing your audience.
Your communication strategy should complement your web presence to provide all the information and motivation participants need or want about your event, its purpose, its logistics and how, when or why they should register.
The user interface you provide – ideally an online platform coupled with a mobile app – is the actual experience participants will enjoy. There are a number of solutions to choose from, but : ease of use, real time interaction and detailed statistics are key features to look for. The mobile app is how participants stay engaged and share their experience with their family and friends.
From a financial perspective, most of what you’ve been doing still applies. Normally, registration fees would be less but should generate more net income based on reduced expenses. Some adjustments are required when it comes to how you position and promote your sponsors. You want to provide visibility on your website and emails, but also create a level of interaction with participants to generate top of mind awareness and other perceived values.
Fundraising activities should remain pretty well the same, even though the way you are collecting donations may be different if you were not already online. Many software companies offer solutions and systems you can easily integrate into your registration process. People will continue to be generous, but some of them may need to be guided on how to make online donations.
Of course, for any of this to work… your team needs to be onboard and enthused about your business model shift. They may require some training on your new tools, a few strategy sessions to share the same vision and align with your priorities and objectives. Planning the event still requires a high level of expertise, but technologies can streamline and automate your processes for the most part.
It is more important than ever to provide medals, T-Shirts and such to participants as it will be a reminder of the event. The delivery logistics are easily accessible and keep in mind that packaging is key. You want to provide a great visual and unboxing experience. It’s all part of creating lasting memories about your event.
As you can see, making the transition from live to virtual events requires a bit of creativity and flexibility, but nothing that practical sense and determination cannot do. In most cases, you will want to go back to live events as they offer a unique experience to participants.
Therefore, why not think in terms of organizing hybrid events to benefit from both business models going forward?