running events digitally

Five things that define successful events post-Covid? Here’s what industry leaders think

Do you still remember the old normal of events pre-Covid-19? After two of the most transformational years in history, pretty much every rule of the game has changed in one way or another.

Hardly anything we do – or used to do – has not been affected, advanced, changed, or vanished in the last two years. Now, with spotlights back on and curtains opened, say hello to the brave new world of events. Here we will fill you in on the most relevant learnings and strategies for navigating this new normal. We talked to some of the most impactful – and most impacted – people in the industry to make sense of this truly transformative moment. From the Berlinale Film Festival to the Greentech Festival, from event management freelancers to PRs inside and outside the event universe: here is what we learned.

The Big Five post-Covid success factors to build on:

  1. Event operations: go digital or get left behind (digitization)
  2. Hybridity is an opportunity (hybrid & virtual events)
  3. Spontaneity is the new RSVP (unpredictability)
  4. If it’s not measurable, forget it (data insights)
  5. It’s about sharing as well as attending (social media)

Go digital or get left behind: running events digitally is more important than ever

With no return to the days of paper tickets, out-of-date seating map print outs and guest lists on clipboards, zkipster has helped to establish the new gold standard for running events digitally. Driving effectiveness and sustainability, and with that the profitability, security, and measurability of events, our core features provide the tools for this new normal in events. From digital registration, communication and check-in, to real-time seating and capacity management, to powering frictionless consent forms and vaccination checks. While some events struggled to meet the moment, zkipster pioneered the do-or-die-factors for digital events. With countless integrations, zkipster ties in essential tools and platforms, allowing event operators to plan, manage and execute events with a largely digital experience. We didn’t reinvent the wheel; we put an engine on it!

“Digital tools drive the effectiveness and smoothness of event operations. But technology needs to be invisible. Guests are now more selective in choosing events, so technology needs to enable impressive and memorable events.”

ANNA CLARK | FREELANCE EVENTS CONSULTANT FOR THE ARTS

Hybridity is more than a technological challenge, it is an opportunity

As event enthusiasts, we all know that experience is king. But suddenly we are dealing with more than one way to experience events. Now, guests are not limited to those flowing through the entrance to your venue. Both on stage and in front of it, we must deal with the technological challenge of allowing performers and guests to attend virtually, while countless others consume the shared experiences of guests in real-time on social media. This new era of events is more than a technological challenge: it is actually a great opportunity to further leverage the power of good content, and to extend the reach of events. The pandemic has proven that once we master the technological leap into hybrid and virtual events, we unlock new experiences, freedom and possibility. New concepts, new content, and new monetization opportunities are now possible. With seamless integration of video-conferencing features for events, zkipster empowers successful events in the virtual and hybrid spheres. We say: wait a few years and “hybrid events” will simply be called events”.

“All great live events have to be visually impressive now, simply because the experience is shared in the virtual world of social media in real time. Events teams also need to plan for virtual FOMO by filming and sharing content.”

ANNA CLARK | FREELANCE EVENTS CONSULTANT FOR THE ARTS

Spontaneity is the new RSVP: Prepare to manage the unknown…

With pandemic-related requirements for events still changing often, sometimes with immediate effect and no time to prepare, planning events today means catering to a new level of spontaneity from event operations and legal requirements, as well as guest behavior. Michelle Russell, British GQ magazine’s Events Director, framed it perfectly:

“It’s no longer about having a “Plan B”. Spontaneity rules events now! So you’d better be prepared for a full alphabet of unknowns. Prepare for Plans A-Z.”

MICHELLE RUSSELL | EVENTS DIRECTOR | BRITISH GQ MAGAZINE

Venue planning, seating, and capacity management must now be fully connected in real-time. They need to be fully digital in order to respond to spontaneous changes in an immediate, frictionless, and commercially successful way. zkipster’s digital event management framework gives event planners exactly that peace of mind. From real-time seating plan updates to instant vaccination pass checks, contactless check-in to easy capacity management: being prepared for spontaneity, ready for change, and having options available are the advantages to running events digitally.

British GQ’s Men of the Year Awards 2021

“Contracts suddenly matter more than ever! Prioritize contractual safety to ensure you can manage spontaneity.”

MARINA CID | HEAD OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS | COOKIES EVENTS

Traceability and data: If you can’t measure it, forget it

Having digitized almost every touchpoint for our event attendees, we face a new era of data insights. All contextual information provided by the behavior of our guests is a key to unlocking the best and most valuable experiences. From knowing when and how invitations are opened to how long it takes for guests to check-in, from understanding what matters to guests most to tracing how the story of the events is continued outside the event on social channels. To make the guest experience as personalized – and therefore meaningful – as possible, we have to use measurable data as the foundation of any decision-making. With zkipster’s own data insights, we empower event planners to gather and interpret that information. While managing GDPR-compliance and data security with ease, zkipster allows events to become more immersive, meaningful and personal, and event hosts to run ops that are measurable, traceable, and driven by quantitative data.

Traceability provides extra safety to guests. As the pandemic fades out, the increased need for safety and security remains.

It’s about sharing, not just attending: social media has transformed events

The pandemic has transformed the boundaries of events. Suddenly, the venue is not only extended into the virtual space, but conversations take place more and more outside the physical limits of event venues or platforms and in the public sphere of social media. This changes how events need to create relevance for guests. As one of our clients summarized:

“It’s about sharing, as well as attending! The event needs to create stories that are taken to the conversations in socials! If it doesn’t matter to your community, it won’t matter to you.”

THIMO SCHWENZFEIER | GREENTECH FESTIVAL

Events, therefore, become more vocal, more narrative, and more mission-driven, creating relevance for guests that extends into the public sphere. Social media and the way events communicate have thus been transformed. From generating leads before the event to creating reach through shared content during or after the event, we see that events need to empower guests to strengthen their own public narratives. This increases the importance of the event brand and the need to create a fully personalized experience. zkipster empowers events to turn into strong brands that matter by providing personalization options for every aspect of the digital event experience, culminating in the recent launch of our Guest Relationships feature. This allows event hosts to understand and maximize the potential of the connections between their guests, and will upgrade everything from invitations and RSVPs to check-in and, later this year, seating. zkipster tools help events to unlock the power to be vocal, conversational experiences that may start with registration, but continue to impact people far beyond the event itself. This way we can turn attendees into a community and content into conversations.

“The event brand is key. Because, ultimately, events need to create communities!”

THIMO SCHWENZFEIER | GREENTECH FESTIVAL

So what do we expect now?

As we enter a new era of events, zkipster looks to the future with great optimism and a strong sense of opportunity. Covid truly challenged us, but we have taken the challenge seriously in order to empower event professionals to not only manage the crisis, but to bounce back better. At the heart of all these key learnings is one defining fact: there is not one superpower for future-proofing events that is not based on running events digitally. zkipster will continue to spearhead the industry’s key innovations, giving you peace of mind that you are always on top of the latest developments.

Header image: iSAW Company via Unsplash