On 30th March 2021, EventX held a free webinar titled Event Trends in a Post Covid Asia. Its aim was to examine how the events industry will readjust to a world without mandatory preventative measures and travel restrictions.
Virtual meetings and events have been an absolute necessity for more than a year. In fact. They’ve become the norm worldwide, with many zoom neophytes becoming online masters. The unparalleled level of digital transformation has effectively uplifted global business way ahead of any predicted timetable. Our webinar hoped to answer if returning to how events were run prior to the pandemic is probable, possible, or pointless.
Drawing over 200 live attendees, the webinar featured talks by EventX Co-Founder/CEO Sum Wong and Haymarket Head of Event Programming, Asia Iain Bell. This was followed by a fireside chat where Wong was joined by a panel of industry experts including Partnerships and Events Manager at Tencent WeStart Sandy Ip, Founder/Managing Partner of HK Initiative Darren Chuckry, and Vice President at Pico Group Chan Wee Teck.
Wong’s opening titular talk laid down his opinion that virtual isn’t some kind of temporary replacement band-aid for the events industry. He walked through how in several cases, going virtual has vastly improved event attendance and raised profit margins.
Bell followed this up with his spotlight talk, an Appraisal of the Events Industry Before, During, and After the Pandemic. Providing an incredibly detailed lay of the land, he summed up his thoughts in four key arguments:
Comfort and complacency have ultimately caused the downfall of many businesses. The marketplace is smaller now, so keep moving fast. Speed is everything.
The marketplace will be different from what you hope. We are all in for an uncomfortable year to come, where risks might not pay off. There won’t be smooth sailing, just more adversity. Define how you add value to your clients and stay calm
Content is changing in value for events. Everything else can be cut. We’re going to see a much leaner industry,
Don’t make assumptions based on your own proficiency and experience to react to change. You don’t know where things will go. The change that’s coming will likely be even harder than the pandemic. Let your audience and clients drive you.
The Fireside Chat
The fireside chat which wrapped up the webinar offered an interesting mix of opinions.
Chuckry spoke on the importance of interaction at events and how hybrid models can offer new ways to mix up the usual dynamics. He also mentioned that – thanks to hybrid advancements – the long-running idea that events can only last a few short days is ending. Chuckry said he believed that virtual platforms offered something that could be built on and grow in the long term.
Ip wanted organizers to understand that while virtual elements can be applied to many kinds of events, the degree to which this is the case varies wildly. While events that had previously seemed overwhelmingly physical (such as sport or music festivals) had taken on some digital innovations, understanding the limitations of each in regards to audience expectation is important.
Chan’s major takeaway followed a similar mindset. He felt that a big mistake for event organizers was trying to purely duplicate physical events with virtual events. Instead, he felt that organizers should try and better understand online audiences and determine what will get their buy-in.
During the webinar, audience members took part in several polls about their experiences running events during the pandemic. The results of these polls will soon be available in a white paper. In addition, you can read the results from our previous white paper on 2021’s event trends here.
So what are you waiting for? The webinar is available for viewing in its entirety for free right below. Enjoy!
Opening Talk by Sum Wong – 1:01
Spotlight Talk by Iain Bell – 28:08
Fireside Chat – 55:30
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