2020 was a truly transformative year in many aspects of life. From social relations, the way we do grocery shopping, to business, obviously. Companies and organizations had to readjust their operations on the fly and for the most part, they did a pretty good job with it. Safe to say, entire research papers could be published on what went down in particular industries but in this case study we’re going to focus on one particular niche. Let’s see how the event industry adapted to the new reality based on the experience of TK Events who expanded from real life to virtual events.
Events of all sorts are about coming together, networking, interacting, and engaging. Essentially, they heavily rely on people being able to convene and socialize. When the first wave of lockdowns hit, all that was cut short and a need for a creative solution arose, that would allow the event industry to stay afloat.
What do you do when people aren’t allowed to congregate?
Well, if you can’t do it in the real world, the next best thing is the virtual realm. Event planners and organizers decided to transfer online and engage their attendees there.
The state of virtual events
Virtual events have been booming since around April 2020 and we at Chatwee saw an increase in demand for our group chat app since March that year. For all we know, they may be here to stay, either fully, or as hybrid projects, partially taking place online.
A shift from in-person to virtual events has been challenging for sure but it’s also an opportunity for organizers to expand into previously uncharted waters.
One thing’s certain, though, events are for the people, they’re about building a community and networking, so the planners need means to weave the whole social aspect into the experience they’re designing.
Virtual events give people easier, more affordable access to all the items on the agendas, which may also mean wider reach for the organizers.
Also, online events provide an opportunity to better quantify the success of the event. By going digital, you get the opportunity to collect more hard data on how well your undertaking has done. You can track user behavior in real time to measure the engagement levels. All this data can then drive more informed business decisions.
Alright, that’s the outline of the situation the event industry has found itself in due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, what about TK Events, the client we’ve had the pleasure of working with?
How have they been doing and what role has our solution played in the events they run?
TK Events was among the first companies in the industry that approached us to inquire about a chat solution to accompany their events.
TK Events, with offices in Oakville, ON, Canada and London, England, create global event experiences for some of the world’s leaders in innovation and technology. They’re event producers, designers and execution experts who move fast, just as their clients do, with a laser focus on bringing brands to life, creating connections and ROI from events. TK Events help the world’s largest brands connect with customers, partners, employees and industry influencers.
The company is an excellent example of a swift and successful adjustment to the new reality because originally they’ve been doing in-person events for 20 years, and now gaining experience with online projects.
The industry is evolving, and so is TK Events, with its virtual event platform. Up until now, more than 100+ events have come to life in their virtual venues. As they transition event marketing campaigns to digital, their management covers all of the standard event needs with the trademark creative touch.
TK Events is now uniquely positioned to deliver both in-person and virtual events post-pandemic as the two will be intricately linked.
As I’ve already mentioned, the main pandemic-related challenge for everyone involved in organizing events was number one – to keep going despite no in-person gatherings allowed, and number two – to keep the virtual audiences engaged after transferring online.
Having two decades of experience in the business, TK Events coped well with the former. The latter was a bit trickier.
The company was trying to recreate those organic networking opportunities everyone loves about in-person events. Without some way to connect directly with fellow attendees, clients were at risk of not hitting their ROI targets.
The situation forced planners to engage audiences and customers in new ways and apply new forms of digital interaction.
TK Events decided they needed a chat widget that integrated with their custom virtual event platform. The app had to provide the ability to add branding colors, custom group chat options, individual chat options, including the ability to search for users and the ability for them to set up Single Sign-on, meaning no extra login steps had to be required from the attendees. The chat feature also needed to accommodate big and small event sizes.
According to our client, “We’ve explored almost every chat tool out there and Chatwee seemed to be the one that suits the majority of our needs. The key features that make it our go-to solution are the search feature for fellow attendees and the user capacity it’s able to accommodate.”
It’s interesting to see which of the app’s functions in particular proved to be the deal makers for TK Events but specific needs can vary between organizers and Chatwee is ready to accommodate them all.
Among the readily available features that render Chatwee especially suitable for virtual events are:
- Multiple chat rooms
- Group and private chats
- Downloadable chat message history
- Single Sign-on
- Real time moderation and premoderation
- Up to 4,000 simultaneous chat users
- Extensive color customization and own logo
- File sharing
- Voice messaging
- plus many more available in your Chatwee Dashboard
It doesn’t end with the off-the-shelf solution either, as we also offer custom development of new features to meet any specific needs our customers may have.
Before I wrap up this case study, one final, and perhaps the most important aspect that needs to be mentioned are the actual end users of the chat, those who log in for that virtual-social encounter.
TK Events have made Chatwee a part of their virtual venues, to create a community experience for the attendees.
When asked about how the users felt about Chatwee, TK replied: “They love it, this has become a best practice to create engagement and community within our virtual events. Majority of virtual events in 2020 did not include networking components which is what everyone in the industry is craving. Joining our platform and engaging with the networking chat creates a unique experience for our audiences.”
Real life events will surely make a comeback, whenever that may be, but socially oriented virtual meetings may constitute a more affordable and oftentimes convenient model moving forward.
Advantages of online events include a lower setup cost, potential for greater attendance, since no travel is required, thus delivering a greater ROI for everyone involved. Live chat is a new, interesting tool in this context. It helps create a novel kind of experience, different from what event goers are used to.
A social hub like Chatwee takes your virtual events beyond unmoving presenters on the screen. It allows people to create connections lasting beyond the event, get engaged in networking, Q&As, live polls, and even games.
Even with the return of in-person events, live chat has the power to enhance the experience and provide the opportunity to create closer connections.
A regular event may be held regardless but the outreach can be boosted by online streams where people will also interact with each other. More content and engagement online than prior to the pandemic is what the future holds.
With the rising consumer demand for interactivity, live chat will play an important role during virtual and hybrid events coming up.