While the pandemic has grounded travel and severely limited face-to-face gatherings, digital events have thrived. Even now, as all 50 states are in some phase of reopening, virtual meetings continue to flourish. Virtual event platforms were noted as the top priority among meeting planners polled in Northstar Meetings Group's latest Pulse Survey. Many event professionals expect the technology will maintain its popularity and that a hybrid approach will emerge as the new industry standard.
"I've been an event planner for 20 years and I've been doing virtual events for eight years, but I think there's a big difference between the pre-COVID and post-COVID approach to virtual," said Beth Surmont, director of design experience at the event agency 360 Live Media. "Nobody had high expectations for a pre-COVID event. It was the sort of the thing you can watch and do other things at the same time. But when COVID-19 hit and virtual became our only way of coming together, it increased in both importance and expectation."
Surmont, who spoke recently at Northstar Meetings Group's Women In Leadership Meetings + Incentives event, said she has lost track of how many digital meetings she has produced and attended in the past three months. But according to her, the key ingredient among those that have been successful is plenty of opportunities for attendees to network and connect.
"We live in a time where we're craving connection with people outside of our homes," she said. "There's a lot of people who are living alone and not getting to really see or interact with people right now. So, creating these moments of connection in the virtual space has been extremely valuable."
Read the full story on NorthstarMeetingsGroup.com for tips for how to connect virtual attendees and make your meetings more impactful.