“We’ve gone virtual for our next event so we no longer need an event planner, right?”
I know many planners probably had the same thought for a second in the panic of the Covid 19 quarantine. Where do we fit now? Has my job become obsolete over night? Then we came to our senses and realized that we do so much to make sure an event is successful and our talents and knowledge still translate in the virtual world.
You’ve gone virtual, so what about your event has changed?
- Concept development – still required
- Budget management – still required
- Venue management – still required
- Food and beverage management – still required
- Registration management – still required
- Speaker management – still required
- Sponsor management – still required
- Exhibitor management – still required
- AV management – still required
- On-site management – still required
Event management teams are hired because the in-house team doesn’t have the time or capacity and/or knowledge to manage an event. Nothing has changed. You and your team don’t suddenly have more time or knowledge to put an event together. The output may look different but the behind the scenes components still need to run like clockwork in order to be successful.
Let’s take a look at how your event has changed and why you still need an event planner.
- Concept development – Your event still needs a strategy, a theme, an overall look and feel.
- Budget management – Although likely much lower, your event will still require expenses and if you usually count on your event management team to manage that for you, nothing has changed, except perhaps a few line items.
- Venue management – I thought originally that I would put this as a “no longer required” but let’s look at this from a virtual stand point. Where are you going to host your virtual event? Have you researched all the different available platforms? Do you know what your platform needs in order to best host your event? I bet your event management team knows!
- Food and beverage management – This is my favorite part of an event so this breaks my heart but right now, you don’t need us to create food and beverage experiences that your attendees will remember. But! You will still need us to ensure we have proper breaks built into your event so that people can leave their computers. The logistics of your event will appear different but the purpose and need of those logistics remain the same. Especially if you are going to plan a multi-day virtual event, your attendees won’t want to be talked at for days. They will need time to recharge…and even network (yes we have ideas for that too!)…it will just be a BYOF style event.
- Registration management – People still need to sign up. Your attendees still need to receive information about your event. Your attendees still need someone they can reach out to with questions. If your event management team usually did that for you, they still can and should.
- Speaker management – If your event has speakers you still need someone to manage them. You still need someone to gather their head shots, bios and presentations. You still need someone to load them onto your website. You still need someone to work with the speakers to ensure they know their speaking requirements. And you’ll still need someone to be the go between for your speaker and your AV team, although now that AV team is your virtual tech.
- Sponsor management – “We can still have sponsors for our event?” Ya, you can! And now you need to get creative and your event management team is already learning how to create a virtual sponsorship opportunity that your sponsors are going to be excited to be a part of. Sponsorships will look different but they are still going to be required because when this is all over those same businesses are going to need to be front and center with their target market. And if you have their target market sitting at their computer screens listening they are going to want to be a part of that! Let’s get creative and have some fun with this!
- Exhibitor management – What? How? Just like sponsors your exhibitors will still want to be front and center so they can showcase their products and services. And we know how to make that happen. Event planners have spent this quarantine time learning about new tools and ways to go virtual and we just might have come across the best on-line platform for setting up a virtual trade show. So fun right!! Want to know more? Reach out, we’d love to work with you to make that a virtual reality..ha, see what I did there!
- AV management – their title will change slightly but essentially you still need a tech team to help you make this happen. I don’t know about you but I know there is no way I could present; manage the speakers, sponsors and exhibitors; respond to questions from the attendees; solve tech issues on the fly; and, continue to smile on screen all at the same time. You need your event management team to source the perfect tech team for this project and you need someone to be the liaison between them and you, just like you would expect with your AV team, before and during your event.
- On-site management – That’s right, I said above that you will still need on-site management. How is that possible? Just because we will not all be physically in the same location doesn’t mean you don’t still need someone who is going to manage the execution of the event on the day of. Your event management team will work closely with the tech team, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors and attendees to ensure the smooth execution of your on-line event, just like we would physically on site at the event.
The timing could not have been more perfect. While I was writing this blog post I got a call from our sales rep at Brand Blvd. She was telling me about an event they just did for a client where they sent their swag right to the attendees’ doors. Right! So awesome! How amazing would that be, to receive a care package from the event you just attended with all the great swag you would normally only get if you attended in person. Innovative!
So let’s add that to our list of why you need an event management team. You need someone to manage the sourcing and purchasing of your swag. Someone who is going to collect addresses and ensure that it all gets mailed out successfully to your attendees.