Guest column Brightlands

Congress - News

Personal contact is irreplaceable

You may well know it. I was at a loss when I heard how our Prime Minister cancelled all events with one announcement. ‘Is fourteen years of hard work going to waste?’ That was my first thought. The next day, I gathered my team. We took a moment together and we tried to think about what this decision meant for us. We made plans and adjusted them because it soon became clear that nobody knew when or how this would end. In the beginning, we were mainly postponing, trying new scenarios. Like our clients, we hoped that it wouldn't take too long, that we could reschedule conferences and events. That soon turned out not to be an option.

Covid-19 is disruptive for out sector. We have to come up with an real alternative. Reinventing ourselves. Innovate. In regards to that, this corona pandemic is a blessing in disguise. The events and conferences industry never were that innovative. We did innovate, but mainly on a gimmick level. We are all about transferring knowledge and meeting people.

I myself miss this meeting most, the consultations with fellow professionals. This is how the online talk show 'Onrust in de Event Tent' was created. Together with people from the events industry, hoteliers and transport suppliers, catering, light and audio and entertainment we discussed the future of our industry in an online talk show. Viewers could join via the chat. That was a showcase for us. Because of that we were asked to organise a talk show for Brightlands Chemelot Campus in June for the kick-off of the development agenda Chemelot Circular Hub, the first large-scale circular hub in Europe. Within four weeks we developed the script, invited the speakers, built a registration module and arranged the videos and everything else that was needed in terms of audio and video. As it was important that the people who could not attend the talk show live, could still give input, it was possible to participate via polls. Directly after the broadcast, all participants received the results of the polls and a link to the talk show.

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Just like on the Brightlands campuses, innovation in our sector is about cooperating and about connecting. In order to present an interesting programme online, different things are needed than for a physical event. You have to entice participants much more to register and to actually participate. The chances of them cancelling is much higher. We are working more with communication agencies and graphic designers to make the invitation and the programme exciting. With for example, polls, chats and quizzes we trigger interaction and try to engage the audience. Far more than in the past we use streaming platforms and professional moderators. In addition, our suppliers are reinventing themselves very quickly. It is fascinating to see how developments accelerate.

Previously our focus was much more on the long-term, we work on congresses for 2.000 participants which will only take place in three years’ time. In this time sometimes something has to be in place within three weeks. A major challenge, but certainly fun to do. I expect that when the corona crisis is over, we will not completely go back to the way things were. A blended variant of online and physical events will emerge. The best of both is then combined. Nevertheless, meeting in person remains to be very important. It would be nice if that could happen again soon. Because the hunger for real encounters is great. Human contact is essential and irreplaceable.

Congress - News

Personal contact is irreplaceable

Guest column Brightlands   You may well know it. I was at a loss when I heard how our Prime Minister cancelled all events with one announcement. ‘Is fourteen years of hard work going to waste?’ That was my first thought. The next day, I gathered my team. We took a moment together and we tried to think about what…

Congress - Congress

A webinar in 7 steps

What do we mean by the term webinar? A webinar (a combination of ‘web’ and ‘seminar’) is an interactive live stream through the internet. Just like a ‘normal’ physical meeting, a webinar needs a location (on a digital platform), equipment, speakers, a moderator, content and a program. What are the benefits of a webinar? Bringing people together at one location…

News - News

There is no business like “digital” business

It is March 12, we are glued to the tube and watching the press conference of Prime Minister Rutte and Minister Bruins. Expected but not hoped, the minister announces: “events and meetings with more than 100 people will be cancelled throughout the Netherlands”. Very soon many of our clients faced the dilemma: to cancel or postpone? In the following 2…