Virtual meetings have proven their worth throughout the pandemic, by way of expanding content access to more individuals – up to 50 per cent more in some meetings – and offering interactive experiences made possible by continuous technology acceleration in the events space.
In sharing his observations during the IT&CM Asia Knowledge Session, titled Trends 2021 and Beyond, Mathias Posch, immediate past president and chair of training academy, IAPCO, and president, International Conference Services also pointed out that for planners to bring back in-person events successfully, they will need to play up advantages of such formats.
This is especially critical when registration fees for virtual events have fallen against in-person events, and when in-person delegates are made to tackle Covid-19-related attendance hurdles, such as pre-departure testing, on-arrival testing, and even quarantine.
To score good attendance, in-person events would need to be better “curated” and “exclusive”, he opined.
For example, Posch related a possible meeting idea in the field of earthquake engineering. Organisers could bring delegates out to Sendai, Japan to see how the tsunami and earthquake had affected the city. It would make a “unique experience that you cannot have anywhere else in the world in that specific field”, he remarked.
Exclusive networking sessions, exchanges and workshops should also be arranged for the delegate so as to make the trip worth their while.
Posch said: “It comes down to meeting people that are relevant, be it for research collaborations, or those working in a similar field. We need to make an effort to connect these like-minded people, to create places where these individuals feel like they belong to something, and can contribute in a way.”
Meetings suppliers and governments must also extend a flexible hand to help meeting planners better cope with the sudden changes that are now common in planning events amid a pandemic. Flexibility would ensure event groups are not stuck with a large bill should the unforeseen occur, Posch advised.