Swivelling quickly from physical to online events was crucial to their company’s survival these few months, revealed Philippine Association of Convention/Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers (PACEOS) members, during the recent MICECON 2020.
Global-Link MP’s chief operating officer, Jing Lagandaon, shared: “If we did not try to pivot (to virtual events) as early as possible, we could have been out of business.”
The company used to handle 30 physical events yearly, all of which had been cancelled due to the pandemic. As such, Global-Link MP put its in-house team â€“ that previously did 3D renders for physical exhibitions â€“ to create 3D venues online.
This resulted in an online participant being able to have a 360-degree view of exhibition halls, conference halls, showrooms, lobbies and lounges, as well as featured products like furniture from various angles, and the texture of paints.
Business is brisk now, with Global-Link MP now handling over 20 virtual shows for several clients, including an online business matching platform between exhibitors and buyers with partners in China.
However, PEP Tarsus’ president Joel Pascual chipped in to say that while event organisers needed to have the technology know-how and skills to pivot, the “biggest need now” is the improving of the country’s Internet connectivity.
“No matter how much you plan and even though everything is in place, the first Internet disconnection (can ruin an event),” he pointed out.
PEP Tarsus is one of the biggest pushers of online content, and has been successfully organising virtual events and paid webinars from new markets. The company has begun bidding for government projects, and will. soon be launching two editions of WOFEX 2021 (World Food Expo), the countryâ€™s biggest food show.
Another company that made a quick pivot is Exlink Management and Marketing. Its CEO, Orly Ballesteros, said that it has handled over 80 digital events, and the number is increasing as associations and organisations are keen to hold meetings and shows on its virtual platform.
However, earnings from digital events cannot compare to physical events, he lamented.
Moreover, one of the pain points in moving virtual was his clients’ “fear of technology”. To avoid glitches, Ballesteros advises doing several pre-event technical runs.
Lagandaon added that going virtual wasn’t easy, and likened it to “setting up a new business”, and had to explain what a virtual tradeshow was to her clients, who took time to trust in the product.