Since the emergence of Covid-19 and the subsequent global pandemic, a lot of industries have changed the way they do things – from the huge boost in home schooling to the distinct rise of remote working, Zoom pub quizzes, and of course virtual events and experiences.
While 2021 marks the start of a return to normal, with countries and communities gradually easing back into face-to-face events and experiences, the expectation is that hybrid events will take centre stage. These events will make allowances for the restrictions and distancing guidelines that will remain in place, whilst benefitting from the advantages presented by virtual and hybrid events.
B2Match, an event networking and business matchmaking site, predicts that hybrid events are set to continue “because attendees didn’t have to ask their companies for a lot of budget to attend an event. No budget was needed for travel, accommodation, or meals. Event organisers were clever to realize that quickly and expanded their invitee lists to include regions they hadn’t before”.
This success has been felt across industries and businesses of all sizes, with no geographical boundaries.
With that said, let’s look a little more closely at the virtual event ideas that have gone smoothly over the last year – and why they worked.
The Top Events that have gone Virtual
A huge number of events had to adjust to the pandemic situation, taking their usual formats and translating them into an online context. In fact, a survey by Wild Apricot found that 91% of organisations used virtual events during the pandemic as a way of keeping members and audiences connected. Given the sense of unity caused by the pandemic, it is no surprise that many of these events were in the charity sector. However, other notable non-charity events also shifted their annual tradition to the digital stage.
Sir Tom Moore’s Walk For The NHS
The huge rise in popularity and success of Sir Tom Moore and his remote challenge, which saw him walk laps around his garden and ultimately raise millions for the NHS following the widespread awareness that he raised for his efforts. Sir Tom Moore joined the roster of regular individuals who have taken on mighty challenges in aid of charity and proved how impactful the virtual online stage can be when the work you are doing begins to be noticed by the masses.
Children In Need
In 2020, Children in Need took to the stage for their usual night of fun and frivolity. The annual event was backed with its usual sobering real-life stories and reminders, but without the usual live audience. What this event in particular proved was that audiences were as interested to interact with celebrities in their own homes as on the stage. With the normality of their surroundings in the new virtual event world bringing them down to earth and making them more relatable to a wider audience.
The 2020 and 2021 BAFTA events not only embraced the online trend but also portrayed how much change can occur in the space of a single year. This was thanks to a rise in technological innovation and a boost in understanding of how to execute a successful virtual event. What the virtual BAFTAs in particular proved was that strong hosting was required to pull off the new format. Audiences heralded the 2020 host, Graham Norton, for his ability to keep the event moving despite the lack of on-stage interaction and inevitable change in hosting style necessary on a digital platform.
Global Marathon Events
The London (and other) marathon events. Usually a large event with a global audience, 2020 and 2021 have seen the London marathon take to the streets virtually in what was to prove one of the more creative virtual event ideas of the year. These included participants clocking the miles in their own local neighbourhoods before sending their times through and receiving a medal in the post. The elite athletes are invited to partake on the usual route with a televised audience, but with no physical crowds gathering around the sides of the course.
This embodies a huge roster of events, with summits and conferences from all over the world going virtual in their attempt to continue to provide a networking platform for companies. Simultaneously giving audiences the insight they crave from insiders within the industry. As many industries have seen, the use of virtual technology has had a positive impact by making these events more accessible for a wider audience.
V festival was another event that took to the virtual stage in summer 2020, to give audiences the music they wanted from the comfort of their own home. The festival still took place at its usual home of Hylands Park in Chelmsford, Essex, with all the necessary COVID safety regulations in place. Whilst the lack of crowd meant that it didn’t have its typical raucous atmosphere, the virtual event gave fans across the globe a much-needed taste of normality. Although this removed the coveted festival experience for most, what it did was make the entire process more accessible to a much larger audience, including those usually isolated from the live event by ticket prices or geographical limitations.
If the last year has proved anything, it’s that a pandemic is not enough to put a permanent pause on our events industry – and it doesn’t take much to inspire change and encourage our industry to shift its focus to continue to serve and connect with audiences.
For those considering these kind of virtual event ideas for their own business presentation and events, having the right technology in place is key, as well as back up and contingency plans to overcome any challenges. The Wise Productions team is able to provide you with the technical support and hardware required to bring any event to life. Check out our services page for a full list of ways in which we can support your event.