Back in April, we all quickly pivoted to virtual events. The lockdown had the residents excited for an entertainment option. Some communities had unbelievable success with virtual events. As the months went by, we found the attention and excitement fade away.
Did you experience this at your property?
Please do not feel like you were the only property that felt that dip. We are now over eight months into the pandemic. Properties have adapted to food truck and on the go activities. Those are great alternative engagement activities.
Today, I want to share with you insider information around virtual events. These three questions will give you get insight on how to handle virtual events moving forward.
During a recent conference call, these three questions came up. It’s time to talk about the elephant in the room… Virtual Events
Question #1: Are virtual events in 2021 cheaper than in-person events?
A well executed virtual event is not cheaper than in-person events. The zoom account may be cheap. The vendors and entertainers are roughly the same price. In the beginning, vendors did events discounted to recoup lost revenue. Virtual events have to actually keep attention. Most entertaining virtual events are adding deejays and other entertainment flare. Simple will not cut it at this point.
Other industries have used virtual quizzes and activities leading up to the event. The entertainment and hospitality industries led the way in virtual experience innovation. In some cases, virtual events will cost more than an in-person to get a better impact.
Question #2: How to improve virtual event participation?
Let’s be honest. Right now, people are adjusting to a lot! Participation will be affected in some capacity as people adapt to the craziness and traumas resulting over the pandemic. You’ve probably experienced personal adjustments. We are all adjusting to some form of the Zoom vortex. The thought of another Zoom activity may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
With that being said, another way to level up your virtual events is through special treatment. Some properties have tried event boxes with supplies, treats or some special gift for those attending an event. The best way to execute the gift is passing them out the event day. Giving the boxes too far in advance is a guarantee to forget or just take without participating.
Question #3: When is the best time to host a virtual event?
This is a loaded question. The best time to host a virtual event will depend on your property demographics. One thing for sure the worst time is before 6 (unless for children) or Friday evening. Please do not assume that everyone is working from home and wants to jump from work into another Zoom activity. It is best to consider the attendees when scheduling a virtual event. The biggest mistakes happen when events are planned only at the convenient time for the office staff and results in low outcome. Check out Brad Smiths article called 6 Tips for Hosting Can’t-Miss Virtual Events for additional tips from an event planning perspective.
I hope these answer gave you something to think about. Don’t count your property out for virtual events. It may have been easy in April 2020. You will just have to place a little more effort into virtual events in 2021 and beyond. I think the virtual option can provide a lot of value for properties when executed properly.
What has been your experience with hosting virtual community events? Please comment below.