Last year we didn’t know what to expect. Come 2021 and for the most part, we’re all still in the dark about what events will look like. Considering we’re nearly at the completion of the first quarter for the year, stability feels like it’s around the corner, so it’s an apt opportunity to analyse what events will actually be like moving forward.
Did you know that thanks to COVID-19, virtual events are up by a casual 1,000%? CEO of 6Connect, Ruben Castano, stated that “Interest from colleges, sports teams and requests from international businesses is something we didn’t anticipate growing so rapidly, but we are thrilled to assist as the event world reconvenes online.”
Forbes reported similar findings, including a valuation of virtual events at close to $78 billion in 2019. Unsurprisingly, this valuation is expected to grow at 23.2% each year from 2020 to 2027.
It’s clearly a case now where we’re all putting our money where our mouths are. With a plethora of options including Zoom, GoogleMeets and TeamMeets [to name a few], we’re spoilt for choice on how we collaborate, interact and network.
Coming from our own personal experience at Waterman, the value of virtual events has ensured that we – our whole community – can remain connected. Throughout 2020, our members came together for networking opportunities, seminars and casual Friday hangouts. Why? Because we all need and crave socialisation that’s genuine and while we couldn’t be face-to-face, this was and continues to be the next best option!
These online efforts resulted in an increase in average engagement on Waterman’s socials, averaging 11% engagement on Facebook and Instagram [previously 4%]. Average reach on socials also grew as a result, from 198 to as high as 6,660!
Forbes’ Ken Sterling reflects this anticipation, stating that he expects to “see an increase in hybrid events if crowd restrictions and health concerns ease toward the end of 2021”. This is backed by a resounding 97% of surveyed marketers believing that we will see more hybrid events in 2021. Sterling also reported that 80.2% surveyed event planners value online events, as it extends their reach.
In Melbourne, the snap February lockdown quickly reminded us that the easing of restrictions is still a privilege that can easily be taken away. It’s because of this that the reliance upon virtual environments is expected to remain steadfast, as it provides an assurance that won’t necessarily be thrown askew by a pandemic.
Hybrid events allow us to remain flexible and responsive, regardless of snap lockdown restrictions or any unforeseeable changes in the way we collaborate. Similarly like returning to the office, there may be initial apprehension but the positive benefits of being face-to-face once again are undeniable. The positive psychological benefits or the returning support on our local economy are just two out of many reasons why we need to come back together.
Did you know that 44% of surveyed Waterman members noticed an uplift in morale since joining our community? How about the fact that 37% noted that Waterman networking events often lead to additional sales opportunities?
Coworking spaces offer a welcome transition from remote work, to a wholesome collaborative environment. It’s that intangible feeling of being connected to and with something that sets your soul on fire. A feeling of familiarity, warmth and security that helps boost morale and productivity. What would you prefer? A distanced environment that lacks innovation, or a coworking space that’s filled with like-minded individuals just like you?
2021 is set to deliver the goods and we can’t wait to see what the landscape will look like as we return to a space of stability. If you’re seeking a space for you, your business or your employees, enquire online.