Lessons from Covid-19 that could be brought into a world that is more digitalised than ever before.
The COVID-19 pandemic took a heavy toll on the economy, with many industries suffering from decelerated and halted progress. While businesses across the globe felt the impact, there is a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel coming from it all: the dawn of the era of sustainability within the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) sector.
With an increased demand for sustainability, the resurgence of the importance of environmentally-friendly products and business practices will be front and centre for event planners. While many sustainable practices adopted by the industry came out of necessity, what lessons can be taken into the post-COVID world?
How the pandemic changed the landscape of the MICE industry
Hosting online events has been essential recently. However, there are many high-impact environmental benefits in the new way of working in the MICE industry. Eventsforce research from May 2021 found that 75 per cent of event organisers are pivoting events towards a hybrid platform from 2021 to 2022. In the wake of the pandemic, planners are adopting a less-is-more approach by streaming sessions, virtual attendee engagement and a more streamlined networking model. Others take a hybrid approach and provide smaller in-person events while using technology to reach a wider audience.
There are still some challenges to contend with for the event planning sector. The decision of whether to take an event entirely online, rescheduling events in the hopes of the removal of restrictions, and tweaking contract terms with their suppliers, sponsors, or exhibitors all require consideration on a case-by-case basis by event planners. The financial impact has also taken its toll on at least 30 per cent of people surveyed.
During the downtime forced upon organisers by the global health crisis, many have changed their focus to personal development and improving their ability to market and plan. But, more importantly, many have found that this move to online events has eliminated some of the wasteful aspects of in-person events and large-scale gatherings.
Technology as the driving force in the reduction of carbon footprint for business events
There is no denying that in-person business events carry with them a large carbon footprint. While many MICE gatherings cannot wholly rely on a virtual connection method, hybrid event platforms can be a substitute that helps futureproof the business while saving time and money.
The sustainability that goes hand in hand with hybrid events is also a given. According to research geared towards comparing virtual and in-person events, emissions during the physical version of the event were around 66 times higher than they were during the virtual event. This comparison was based solely on air travel.
Additionally, a significant difference between virtual and physical events is the absence of the need for food catering. By hosting virtual events, the industry would observe a dramatic decrease in the 15 per cent to 20 per cent food waste generated during a physical event. Hence, through the usage of technology, businesses can transition their events to a virtual or hybrid realm and essentially reduce their carbon footprint
Creating a more immersive and seamless event experience through digitised, hybrid events
Many people believe that virtual or hybrid events take away some of the best aspects of each; however, the opposite may be true. Going virtual provides many benefits that delegates cannot experience during in-person meetings and events, such as added flexibility. Today’s busy lifestyles require heavy flexibility, and in many cases, an in-person event will have to be forgone altogether for those that don’t have that level of agility. Virtual or hybrid events provide a way for all people to attend.
Unique customisation of an event or meeting is also far easier to accomplish during a virtual offering. For planners, gathering data and conducting post-event analysis is more accessible for a virtual event than in person. This information gives them knowledge on improving events, keeping track of engagement levels with the content, and recording how many people showed up. With this data, they can streamline them in the future, further reducing waste and costs.
The MICE planning trends in a post-COVID world will likely, albeit not wholly, revolve around virtual and hybrid events. As the world changes and new ways of running events, meetings and conferences are proving effective and successful, keeping abreast of these changes will be of the utmost importance for those in the MICE sector. Planners and organisers will need to navigate the new trends in such a way that is helpful to their overall business goals. Having access to relevant data can help improve their company’s marketing and deliverance strategies for the future.
The Eco-Business’ experience using the GEVME platform
Event platforms such as GEVME give MICE professionals more options than ever before for preparing, organising, and hosting events and meetings. The MICE sector has not solely focussed on convenience and the continuation of operations during the unprecedented pandemic. They have also been looking forward and seeking to future proof the industry.
The knowledge surrounding climate change and its devastating effects on not just industries, but the world as a whole, has continued to be mainstream. With more and more businesses looking for ways to be a part of the solution, virtual meetings and dialogues using platforms such as GEVME give people worldwide a voice on the critical issues that affect everyone.
Discussions, such as the Sustainability Exchange and A Greener Technology Footprint, have allowed sustainability advocates to exchange ideas and solutions with others concerned about the fight against climate change.
The sustainable development goals outlined by the United Nations have a timeline that must be met for adequate changes to occur: 2030. While that may seem far away, it is just over eight years from now and is a very limited amount of time to implement the changes that many industries are so far away from executing. Decisive action needs to happen now to create and instigate an action plan that involves a wholehearted commitment to reaching the urgent sustainability targets.
While virtual and hybrid events grow in importance because of the global pandemic, the positive environmental benefits they bring are undeniable. To bring your events into the era of sustainability, try GEVME now and be part of the solution while futureproofing your meetings and events.
Veemal is the Founder and CEO of GlobalSign.in. He architected and coded the very first product platform while bootstrapping the company. Today, GSI is a leading event tech company with offices in Singapore, Australia, India, Myanmar and the US. Having graduated from the National University of Singapore with a degree in Computer Science, Veemal remains at the forefront of technology and spearheads the software products crafted at GSI.