Keeping Business Events Scheduled During the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 27, 2020 Susan Serena Douglin

The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading rapidly, with new updates flying in every minute. As the situation evolves, many event profs, event managers, and C-suite Executives are unsure of what steps to take to mitigate risk, protect employees and support clients for business events.

Undeniably, many of us are feeling anxious as we navigate the uncertainty of COVID-19. We're feeling it too, and we wanted to reveal some of the tools that will help facilitate business events and keep your events on track.

For any scheduled seminars, conferences, and other business meetings, many corporate event planners are turning to alternative solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid event cancellations. This is a very real thing. Not only do the safety concerns present a problem, but the loss in revenue is second in line on the list of things to worry about.

Will you have to refund sponsorship contributions?

Will all registrants request a refund?

What are the available options to keep the business events going during the pandemic?

Lots of questions running through the minds of corporate event planners. In an effort to ease some of those concerns we have gathered some viable suggestions that we believe will resolve some of your fears. 

Here’s a list of best practices to contemplate keeping business events scheduled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

5 of the Top Online Web Conferencing Services

Cisco Webex

It should be no secret to anyone that Cisco makes it to the top of our list of online web conferencing services that will easily help you host your business events online. Every corporate event planner is familiar with and loves Webex because it ranks high on the list of web conferencing platforms. It was one of the first brands to provide solutions for business events because of its level of effectiveness.

While there is a free version, there are limits to the number of virtual attendees that can register. If you’re looking to turn an in-person conference or seminar into an online event, you’ll want to consider the Webex Webinar service to efficiently host your event. You’re able to share your screen as well to review presentations and provide live tutorials. If you’re already using Cisco Spark you’ll appreciate the fact that you can integrate it with Webex easily to host an online business event.

Skype

Yes, it’s true! Skype is not only functional to maintain communication with your event planning team. Besides it’s popular chat service, Skype offers corporate event planners the possibility to offer clients a web conferencing solution that will allow them to reschedule business events during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than cancel the physical conferences, you can now suggest that clients notify attendees that the business event will be held online. Send a mass email to registrants with a link to connect through their Skype profile. Those that don’t have an existing account, will have to sign up.

The Skype for Business service has conference features that allow you to host an online conference which may be a convenient option even outside of crisis situations. Having the ability to host a business event on-the-go will be useful for future business events and can be a fruitful option because it will allow you to add more events to the calendar.

Zoom

While the paid plans are surprisingly cheaper than the GoToMeeting plans, Zoom offers a free plan that will allow up to 40 minutes of conferencing. The free plan will only allow up to 3 participants which will come in handy for small consults, mediations, or to utilize for a presentation to a new prospect or client.

The paid Zoom plans are what you want to go with when you want to invite many attendees to a webinar in place of a scheduled conference, and surprise them with a keynote speaker to be heard live onscreen. You can stream dual broadcasts if you’d like to host an interview with an influencer or event pro and then open the floor to questions from your viewers. For those who registered and then couldn’t attend, you can offer to send them a copy of the recorded meeting so that they can get their money’s worth.

ezTalks Meetings

Here’s the web conferencing platform that corporate event planners will want to use when you’re looking to host a high-quality streaming event to C-suite Executives. Not only will you get HD web conferencing video capabilities, but you’ll also have the ability to use an online whiteboard tool to collaborate with registrants and share notes. This is the online conference platform you want to go with when you have up to 100 attendees registered to easily conduct your business events online.

WebinarJam

We’re going to spend a little more time speaking on this amazing webinar platform for corporate event planners called WebinarJam. This is the type of program that has it all in terms of facilitating a complete conference experience for attendees. Sure, the pricing is not as inexpensive as perhaps you would like it to be, but you get what you pay for. In an unexpected time like the one being experienced by all with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to regroup and learn how to bring your audience online. With everyone quarantined we simply have to find a way to continue business especially in event planning where the show must go on!

You can review the variety of web conferencing plans to see what will best suit your needs but just the basic plan will allow unlimited webinars for a year. You can host a conference online for up to 500 attendees and up to two hours duration. With the WebinarJam plans you will be able to provide a plethora of features such as:

  • Live Chat
  • Automated Recordings
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Attendee Spotlight
  • Page Builder
  • Email & SMS System
  • Live Offer Displays
  • Polls & Surveys
  • File Sharing and Downloading
  • Drawing Board
  • Video Injections
This is the type of web conferencing service you want to use for paid webinars. The platform offers a payment gateway when prospects register online to attend your business event virtually.
 
Be resilient and show your clients how quickly you can resolve and manage the challenges being brought on by the mandatory quarantine. Offer an at-home conference to those who had already registered to attend a conference but couldn’t due to travel restrictions.
 
Corporate event planners can also come up with entertaining virtual event ideas to make things interesting as well. In a time where everyone can use some stress relief, offer an exciting virtual event from home while simultaneously offering a solution to clients to conduct their conferences online.

For more corporate event planning solutions, check out our event planning blog each week to stay up to date with the latest event planning tips and trends.

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