Event Planning/Management

What are the Positive Impacts of COVID-19 for Event Professionals?

By Bob Birdsong

Every cloud, as they say, has a silver lining. In fact, we at Localist see five silver linings to this pandemic.

While it’s an odd thing to say, there’s never been — and, likely, never will be — another instance when everything has so completely stopped, giving us all a chance to restructure, rethink, and re-evaluate entire business operations.

So, whether the world’s on pause or slowly returning to a new normal, here are five ways event professionals can take advantage of this strange time.

Make infrastructure improvements

It’s hard to make wholesale changes when things are constantly in motion. How many times have you wished for some sort of reprieve so you could get things in order?

Well, now is that time.

With business on pause, this is the chance to upgrade your IT infrastructure, improve bandwidth, shore up security measures, take another step in your digital transformation, or fully move your systems to the cloud.

It’s also a good time to take stock of the software your teams are using. Is that still the best choice for the new strategy you have in place? Is it helping meet goals, create efficiencies, or cut costs? Where could you improve? Are there better options?

Poor timing, unnecessary downtime, or interruptions to customers and internal workflows are often good reasons to wait on new implementations. Will you take advantage while that’s no longer the case?

Streamline workflows

Sometimes, systems and processes are inherited. Sometimes, they’re made up as you go. Ideally, they were created purposefully.

But when a vacuum exists or a process breaks down, other workflows (more often, workarounds) fill the void. This is where inefficiencies live. So teams continue to put things together with spit and glue, never having the time or resources to properly fix them.

Take this time to look at planning, promotion, and management workflows and pick them apart.

Where could you use better support? Which piece of software is lacking? How could you simplify registration processes, automate communication, centralize information, or better track attendance?

Most importantly, which resources would you need to do all of these things better?

Pressure-test continuity plans

Continuity plans are one of those things you write, check off the list, and stick in the back of a drawer somewhere. It’s hard to test which systems should be in place, who will step into key roles, and what you’ll do when a supplier goes down until those things actually happen.

If anything, COVID-19 forced everyone to make quick decisions to protect employees and the business, pressure testing those continuity strategies.

Now, it’s important to take stock of where things fell apart (or seemed like they had the potential to) and make a better, more realistic plan for what to do should anything like this happen again.

How will you pivot to new revenue streams? What systems need to be in place for that to happen smoothly? What will cancelation, refund, or credit policies look like in the future? How will those policies affect cash flow? Who are your backup suppliers? What software systems are linked together, how do they interact, and what happens if one stops working?

Now that you have a clearer idea of what all this looks llike in real-time, you can make a more realistic plan.

Invest in new technology platforms

Remote work and virtual events are here for good. Most companies were able to quickly switch to remote work and adopt streaming platforms like Zoom and GoToMeeting.

Now that you’re out of reaction mode, your attention should shift to long-term strategies that will improve upon the ad hoc systems you now have in place.

There’s no better time to implement new technology than when things are slowed down, stopped, or running at a lower capacity. Take the time to find new technology, infrastructure, and software to take the company to new heights.

The challenge of onboarding everyone at once is no longer your biggest challenge now that everyone is at home.

Employees have an opportunity to learn, practice, and experiment with new tech without disrupting workflows or being distracted by other priorities.

The barrier to entry with some of the things you’ve always wanted to implement is now significantly lower. Bring something new onboard, virtually train employees how to use it, and hit the ground running when you all return.

Bring new insights to your events team

Much like the previous point, there’s now time for deeper analysis. While you’re often busy planning the next event, sending the next registration email, or gathering feedback about event attendance and what those numbers may mean, there’s rarely time to truly study the outcomes of events or process feedback.

This is a chance to look at your analytics (you do have some, right?) and make decisions about how to come back stronger, do things better, and create even more engaging events.

You have the time to talk about which events are being best received by new employees.

You have time to find trends in the events with the highest attendance rates.

You can look at which communications are working and which aren’t.

And most importantly, you can use it all to inform your team, make a plan, and come back stronger than ever.

Localist’s event marketing platform is a perfect upgrade for managing multiple events. With one place to create consistent landing pages for each event, a centralized calendar, and automated social media and email communications, there’s no easier way to streamline promotions and planning for your virtual and live events. And with access to analytics and integrations with your CRM or popular streaming platforms like Zoom and GoToMeeting, you’ll finally have the powerful event marketing system you’ve always wanted.

To see Localist in action, request a personalized demo today.

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