For the past 10 years, I've been working intimately with thousands of decision-makers, HR managers, event professionals, marketing professionals, sales professionals, consultants and business owners to build stronger relationships through events.
My background is in Economics and Finance, and before I entered the events industry, I lived in Dubai for a few years. I was providing consulting services to financial institutions in the Middle East, and consulted extensively on regulatory and compliance matters. I had an amazing time there, but to me, there was only one place in the world I can call home, and that is Singapore. No matter how tough it was to give up what I had, I made the choice to embrace change. Which is why in 2012, I returned to Singapore to embark on a new journey in my life.
I entered the events industry in 2012 with no prior experience. When I first started, I couldn’t even tell the difference between an A-Frame tent to a Dome tent. It took me 4 months to put a finger on the strategy that I wanted the business to move towards, and a lot longer to implement the strategy. We started with smaller groups, and in a few years we were planning events for thousands of people, and even brought the world’s largest inflatable obstacle course to Singapore in 2018. It wasn’t easy getting there especially since I had no prior event experience and no mentors. I had to figure things out the hard way, while growth hacking our brand and marketing strategies. Since 2012, we organised over 2,000 events. If you take an average of 20% closure-rate for sales, we would have sent over 10,000 proposals to prospects in the last 8 years. 10,000 proposals. Wow. From sending 10,000 live event proposals, to live events being cancelled. This is the second time change hit me hard.
Since live events started getting cancelled in January, lots have happened. Stacy and I welcomed our little princess to the family. I launched a Facebook group to share tips on productivity and work-life balance especially when working from home. That group now has over 500 members, and 30 video lessons. I added over 3,000 new connections on LinkedIn, mostly event professionals from around the world. We launched 5 of our own Virtual Event Software. And in the same period, I recorded my first, and my 80th video on YouTube. While the world was drowning in COVID-19 news, I refused to let myself be influenced by all the negativity. You have to consciously remove the negativity in your own life, in order for positive things to happen.
There’s really nothing much you can do this year if you’re an event planner. If you represent a corporate who’s still looking to plan events, virtual events is the only thing you can plan for this year. If you’re a freelancer, then try to get yourself involved with the virtual events ecosystem and see how you can contribute. You can also consider planning your own virtual events for clients - in order words - go direct to the client. For event professionals, if you have not launched any virtual events solutions by the end of this year, you’re basically screwed.
Next year is going to be worse for the economy in general, but smaller live events will be allowed to run. Think about how you can organise a series of small events, rather than one large event. Bite-sized events are more palatable to event sponsors and clients, and will also fall within the current regulator restrictions. If an event cannot be split into smaller events, then once again, virtual events are going to be the focus for 2021. They are more cost-effective, and COVID-proof.
2022 will be the start of a very long recovery. Assuming you’re still an event planner by then, that would mean that you have not only survived the previous years. You would have built a reputation for yourself as a professional event planner who was able to overcome the odds. This is extremely important, because there will be a flight to quality in this year. It is not enough to only be planning events throughout the start of this crisis. It is even more important to build a brand, and to let your sponsors and clients know what you’ve been up to. Whatever you do leading up to this point, will determine whether January 2023 is a turning point for you, or a continued struggle for the next few years.
The events business is all about relationships, and reputation. And in order to maintain a good reputation while running a virtual event, you have to make sure that you pick the right technology.
Have you ever heard of Zoom fatigue? And have you ever tried moderating a Zoom or Teams call with ten rooms? This is what guided the development of Interchange. Interchange is a virtual platform that focuses on authentic interactions, mimicking the real life experience and interactions before COVID-19 shut everything down. This platform gives the power to interact back to the attendees. The Interchange platform is intuitive and truly flexible.
Sign up for a free trial and you'll see how easy it is to host an engaging event on the Interchange.
To your success,