For more than 20 years, the Black Hat USA conference has brought together attendees from the world of cybersecurity research, development and trends. As with many other live events, this year’s conference — originally scheduled for Aug. 1-6 in Las Vegas — was held virtually for the first time in response to the pandemic. Transferring the content was one thing; translating the usual end-of-conference party was a challenge in itself.
As the event industry slowly begins to creep back, smaller venues are particularly well-suited to host gatherings, as groups often have the entire space to themselves and can limit the number of people that attendees come into contact with. This was a fact that the U.S. Census Bureau event team took into consideration when rebooking several job training sessions that had previously been canceled because of COVID-19.
As he watched the pandemic wreak havoc on the corporate events industry, Chris Greenslade, principal for the Charleston, S.C.-based CSG Meetings Management and Consulting, noticed that many of the suppliers involved in a planner’s traditional network either temporarily downsized or went out of business altogether. This left corporate planners without their usual support system as they navigated the challenges of either renegotiating their events or reworking them into a virtual or hybrid version.
Held twice a year, Verizon Media’s flagship Build It event introduces the company’s employees from around the world to its new products and services through a mix of interactive brand experiences and inspiring keynote speakers. The event traditionally takes place at five Verizon Media campuses (four in the United States and one in London) and is also live streamed to their global offices.
So your meeting or trade show has been postponed or cancelled. You turned your misfortune into good fortune for others by donating your unused food and event supplies to local food banks and charities. You even got your team involved in the feel-good effort, which you made sure to share with your event audience via your marketing and social media channels.
Earlier this month, the Global Biorisk Advisory Council announced the GBAC STAR facility accreditation, which establishes protocols, procedures and systems for event facilities such as convention centers to help control risk associated with infectious agents, such as COVID-19.
The rules for meetings are in a state of flux. Various organizations, coalitions and task forces are working through the ramifications of holding events where addressing health and safety concerns is a top priority.
This means rethinking everything — from where to how to when you hold your meetings — within a new framework. That was the main tenet of this week’s IACC Americas Virtual Connect event, held May 18-21.
The COVID-19 pandemic has event organizers rethinking every component of live events, including food and beverage. With convention centers such as Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta winding down makeshift hospital operations as they prepare to reopen for meetings, conventions and trade shows later this year, catering companies are being forced to address every component of how they’ll serve guests again, too. But will event F&B ever be the same? What’s on the plate may look similar, but how it’s served will be forever changed.
The word of the day in events is virtual (usually prefaced by “pivot to”) And there’s no doubt about the fact that virtual — or in future, hybrid — events will help event organizers reach a wider audience. But what are attendees looking for in their virtual events, and when it’s safe to meet again, what will attract them? Two recent studies conducted by CensusWide for PromoLeaf may shed some light.