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Inside ON Advertising Virtual Events studio with two presents in front of a camera

The Benefits of Virtual Events

A new world is emerging in the way we communicate with others.  Technologies created or improved in the face of the pandemic helped us continue with business meetings, family gatherings and maintaining relationships, even though we kept our distances. Sometimes miles away. Although it seems like an inferior solution, virtual events have actually proven to be an effective alternative. 

In fact, Grand View Research estimates the market size for virtual events is expected to grow by 23.2% from 2020 to 2027. This can be attributed to the many benefits these types of events provide to their guests. As lockdowns began, On Advertising had the foresight to transform our digital studio into a fully equipped virtual studio.  We’ve been at the forefront of virtual meetings and conferences since the pandemic started, working with small groups to hundreds in attendance.  As one of the top Arizona digital marketing agencies, we’ve highlighted a few benefits we’ve seen with these online events. 

What is a Virtual Event?

Virtual events are an online space built to replicate a physical location-based event. It allows people and companies to host an online conference, trade show, product launch, job fair, lunch and learn session, or informative interviews from the comfort of their home or office. When deciding to host a virtual event, there are 5 types to consider:

  • Webinar: These are the simplest form of online events and they’re a great starting off point for organizations in virtual planning
  • Webinar +: This extends the concept of a regular webinar by adding features such as content hubs and in-depth reports
  • Content and Connect: An essential aspect of in-person events is the opportunity to network with peers and experts. Event planners will be able to facilitate a way for people to connect with others virtually through their online events
  • Online Summit/Conference: Much like in-person conferences, online summits are broken into themed sessions, offering short presentations, Q&As, and panels with full audience participation
  • Virtual Expo/Fairs/Festivals: Like any in-person expo, organizers are trading their multi-day, multi-venue events for an online model built around a virtual replicate

How Can Businesses Benefit From Virtual Events 

Online Events are Less Expensive

One prominent benefit to virtual events is their ability to save on overhead costs. Because you are saving on staff, venues, setup, takedown, meals, and travel costs, the overall cost of the event is greatly reduced. According to Aventri, it’s up to 75% less expensive than in-person events. The only cost planners must worry about is the costs associated with hosting an event on a virtual platform.

Promotes Attendee Growth and Delivers Additional Value

Because there aren’t any geographical limitations, people from all over the world can attend these virtual events. This allows for greater reach by inviting people who wouldn’t normally make it in-person to attend the online festivities. Furthermore, these online events will typically have overlapping sessions, allowing users to attend more than one panel simultaneously

Virtual Events Can Easily Be Measured

One of the disadvantages of hosting an in-person event is the difficulty of measuring results. By hosting an online event, planners have the ability to easily access results thanks to being entirely online. They are capable of learning when attendees logged on, from where, the number of people who are attending, how they are paying, and so much more. With so much information, organizers have the data to evaluate the success of their event.

Do Virtual Events Work?

As mentioned, online events are growing and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, at a rapid speed. These types of events have become so popular amongst organizations, many industry leaders expect planners to begin developing hybrid models. Many people are beginning to look into hosting their own online events to make up for their inability to host in-person.

At ON Advertising, we’ve experienced firsthand just how effective this type of event can be. We recently helped the Seena Magowitz Foundation host their ‘2020 Celebration of Hope’ event, which replaced their annual gala and golf tournament. We also helped the non-profit, Saving Amy, with their ‘Toss Kindness Like Confetti’ event, which raised more than $120,000 in donations. Despite their inability to host in-person events, online alternatives provided them with a platform to safely reach and engage with users during the pandemic.

Plan Your Virtual Event With ON Advertising

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew we had to step up our event planning game. That is why we invested in Studio ON, our in-house production studio built with full filming, production, and live streaming in mind. Our event planning and production teams are equipped with the knowledge and equipment to ensure your virtual event goes off without a hitch. Contact us today to learn more about our event planning capabilities!

Events We Attended in 2020: The Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism

The Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism is typically an in-person, three-day long event each year. And it shares education, and information about travel professionals and destination marketers. It’s one of the most sought after, important events of the year, as tourism is our state’s number one export industry, and one of our clients in the agency is Visit Glendale. But, just like a plethora of other events, the Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism went virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And shifting from in-person to remote attendance turned the extended conference into just two days of webinars lasting just a few hours each day. 

Join us as we examine our client’s first virtual event ever and learn how the adjustment to virtual attendance affected the way the conference was presented, what it means for Visit Glendale’s future, and what strategy changes came from the annual event for all of us!

What Works

To best understand our new, recommended strategy for Visit Glendale, a tourism client within the agency, we keep an eye on the Arizona Office of Tourism’s program. And we align Glendale CVB’s tourism campaign to complement the State’s activities.   

Considering we target the same cities they are advertising in, including markets like Chicago, Seattle, Minneapolis, San Francisco, New York, and Dallas, we are able to amplify the message for Glendale; without having to spend as much advertising dollars. We follow a similar cadence to the Arizona Office of Tourism’s Rural Marketing program. This program allows small DMOs (Destination Marketing Organizations) and CVBs (Chamber & Visitors Bureaus) outside of Maricopa County to partner up with each other. And to advertise, along with the state, to amplify the overall message to travel to Arizona.

In terms of tourism, things are certainly a little different right now for Macro-Economic Dynamics. As COVID-19 has become an everyday worry, processes have pivoted to include social distancing policies, travel restrictions, and more. These changes are already having a huge impact on the economy. According to the conference, past recession recoveries have followed three common shapes: V (Rapid), U (Steady and Incremental) and L (Long Haul). V (Rapid) is a fast, dramatic dip in the economy followed by a narrow trough and quick, steady recovery over a period of six months. U (Steady and Incremental) is an extended trough period and a gradual upswing. And L (Long Haul) is a very long period of minimal increment improvement, which would be the worst case scenario for our state. So, what does Arizona’s plan look like, exactly? 

Arizona’s Tourism Recovery

The AOT Destination Recovery Plan for the next 12-18 months is based upon the “U” Steady and Incremental plan. With the possibility of adjustment to other plans if the virus requires. And it should come as no surprise that for the state of Arizona, accelerating leisure travel activity statewide is priority #1. 

As far as outdoor recreation is concerned, Arizona’s outdoor amenities allow individuals to explore. And all while maintaining social distancing protocols, which is extremely important during the pandemic. Because of this, these opportunities will become the destinations for a number of staycations as Arizonans rediscover their own backyard. Many parks have already been seeing high visitation, even with travel restrictions in place. To help, itineraries promoting the lesser visited, populated areas will aid in dispersing and spreading out visitors. 

But, along with a shift in strategy comes the need for accommodations. This means supporting Destination Marketing Organization efforts. No matter whether it’s promoting staycations or campaigns related to residents rediscovering the Arizona they know and love. Plus, it will be important to develop a plan to tie travel experiences to other overnight options; and even bundle local places to stay with nearby experiences. These programs could drum up additional interest and promote community exploration. As well as keep a visitor who traveled to the destination longer than anticipated.

Interestingly enough, meetings, incentives, conferences, events, and other business travel make up a large portion of travel to urban areas in Arizona, like Visit Glendale. And what is usually a reliable source of travel and hotel stays, has changed due to COVID-19. In turn slowing down the typical indirect spending to local establishments. The Arizona Office of Tourism has historically focused on leisure travel. However, it depends if a budget becomes available. Then, they’ll focus on helping to accelerate the return of business travel that is so central to stabilizing visitor volume. 

By applying these tactics on a smaller scale, we can help Glendale CVB get through these times; and help them come out on top on the other side of the pandemic.

What’s in Store

According to the Traveler Sentiment Report from Destination Analysts covering data from March to July of 2020, 18% of those surveyed are extremely worried about contracting COVID-19 by traveling. In Arizona, when asked what best describes their current state of mind regarding getting back out and traveling, 15% of those surveyed say they are ready to travel but feel some hesitation. 

But, now that we’ve learned about the Strategic Recovery Plan for the state of Arizona, what’s in store for FY21? Consumer sentiment and health will drive decisions. In fact, the main initiative of the Arizona Office of Tourism will be the Rediscover Arizona campaign! And when consumers are ready to start traveling again the campaign will be expanded to drive markets; and then to the target cities and national audiences.  

A Look at Arizona Governor’s Conferences Past

This year was the first time the Arizona Governor’s Conference was held virtually. And it certainly looked and operated quite a bit differently than it did years prior! 

With COVID-19 leaving the future of well…everything uncertain, we’re eager to see what the conference will look like in the year(s) to come. But not only does the pandemic have the potential to change the format of the conference, but it could equally change the content that the event is centered around. Depending on how long it takes to return to a “new normal”, that includes travel, the industry could see massive changes in the near future. And that means everything from panel discussions to internal strategies are contingent upon what kind of recovery Arizona sees. So, we’re staying tuned – and so should you!

Partner with ON Advertising

At ON Advertising, we deliver business results. We offer an extensive list of services which can help your company with whatever you need by tailoring a business growth strategy specifically to you. Despite these unprecedented times, we are more determined than ever to help your business succeed. 

Contact us to speak with our team of experts about your project and begin working alongside us today!

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