Sources of event planning stress
What is stressing event professionals out? According to a recent MeetingsNet survey, the
Top 3 post-pandemic stressors are:
- Smaller staffs/heavier workload
- Shifting responsibilities and/or job requirements
- Virtual meeting management
The survey reports that more than half of its respondents have considered leaving their job because of increased stress levels. Out of that number, 75 percent might leave the industry completely.
“I really feel bad for meeting planners because they didn’t get a break,” says Encore Chief Digital Officer Darius Vaskelis. “They had to pivot very, very hard to virtual during the pandemic and now they’re pivoting back. They didn’t have a chance to breathe. We want to offer solutions that allow them to breathe.” The Encore team offers creative, production and technology products, services and expertise. Its global footprint ensures that whether a planner needs something a la carte or end-to-end, or for in-person, hybrid or virtual events, the Encore team can help.
Relieving the stress of smaller staffs, heavier workloads and shifting responsibilities
“Being a planner right now is tough because the role changed during the pandemic,” Vaskelis says. “People’s standards for production and what’s in a meeting are higher. Due to lots of factors, there’s less time to set them up and higher expectations. Planners also are expected to have a broader set of responsibilities.”
In addition to sourcing and contracting, event organizers may now oversee virtual event production and audience engagement strategies. But even though they have all these new responsibilities, many event team leaders are forced to manage them with fewer people on staff, thanks to the “Great Resignation” and other factors beyond their control.
One solution is the event platform Chime Go, a full-service option that gives event organizers the ability to delegate engagement technology, event platform creation, customization and management to the Encore team. This mobile-friendly favorite solves many communication and wayfinding issues common to small and mid-size in-person meetings.
Navigating increased audience expectations and job requirements
Vaskelis points out that there’s a huge gulf between a Zoom meeting and a conference. “There is a point where the content of the meeting is more than what’s being shown by a talking head. That’s where engagement starts playing a bigger role.”
”Video conferencing is fine for when you’re meeting virtually and you only need to collaborate or listen to someone talk,” Vaskelis says. Similarly, if you’re meeting in-person and you have fewer than 10 people, then you can manage information delivery with a calendar invite. “But once you get into double-digit attendance,” Vaskelis says, “it becomes useful to have some other place attendees can go to find out information about your meeting.” Chime Go is a convenient solution because it has robust features designed to enhance the meeting experience, including an agenda and map images; the ability to submit or upvote questions, take notes, participate in a forum, and add banners to promote sponsors or fundraising. It’s a great choice when you need a site to inform and engage with an audience, before and during the meeting as they need to look things up or reference the schedule as it changes.”
Relieving the burden of virtual meeting management
During the pandemic, Encore added remote video capability to the Chime platform. “That’s how we delivered the majority of our virtual events,” Vaskelis says. “Now that same in-room platform delivers events in two ways: Light engagement with Chime Go or a full engagement platform for virtual and in-room attendees with second-screen technology (Chime Live).”
Vaskelis says that Chime Go was intentionally built as a full-service solution to relieve the pressure planners might feel about managing an event’s hybrid or virtual elements alongside the in-person experience. But unlike other event platforms, which might have elements cobbled together when you choose Encore and the Chime Go platform, you’re supported by our experienced production and technology teams. This ensures a seamless, integrated experience that allows planners to do more while managing fewer resources alongside a team they can trust.
The Chime Go event platform also features low-latency video for hybrid and virtual events. This means that anyone viewing the streamed content will see it within two to five seconds from the time it is broadcast. This is an important improvement over the industry standard lag-time of 45 seconds because it means that in-person and remote participants can interact in real-time. Participants can also chat along with the video stream and add sentiment emojis.
Another benefit to using Chime Go is its flexibility. “We started with an in-person engagement tool and added virtual capabilities,” Vaskelis says. “So, it’s a form of insurance in case you have to add or go virtual.” This is important in an environment where multiple factors might disrupt meetings and events.
Simplifying the planning process
Chime Go simplifies the planning process by providing a team that manages, produces and trouble-shoots the technology. It’s best for in-person meetings where you need a sustainable, paperless agenda and communication tool. If lead-time is a challenge, Chime Go also may be the best solution as it can be set up in as little as three days*. It works best for small or mid-sized meetings and delivers a polished and professional participant experience. It also provides engagement tools, such as the ability for participants to ask questions, upvote others’ contributions and take part in forum topics determined by the event organizers.
Chime Go operates well in in-person, hybrid or virtual event scenarios. In this way, they help planners create a Plan B for their meetings, as you can switch to a different event format if needed. Encore team members can advise on how to make the transition smooth and recommend way to achieve the best participant experience for each format. The Encore team offers free consultations if you’d like to schedule a meeting to discuss your specific needs. They also provide end-to-end event solutions for a variety of formats and technologies.
In a world where there is still so much uncertainty, isn’t it good to know that you can turn to Encore for advice, expertise and flexible solutions exist to increase your peace of mind?
*Lead times may vary in some regions.
More meeting and event professionals are actively booking or sourcing new events now than any time since 2020. According to the Encore Summer Planner Pulse 2022 report, that number represents 71 percent of 461 survey respondents, who represent a diverse swath of corporate, association, administrative, marketing, third-party, independent and special event producers and organizers.
More than half of the meeting and event professionals surveyed say they are booking new events. And only five percent are currently rescheduling or re-booking events — the lowest number since the pandemic began.
Despite rising costs, in-person events are expected to increase in the second half of 2022.
Key survey findings:
- 80 percent of events will have an in-person audience
- 20 percent of events will be hybrid, with both in-person and remote audiences
The demands of keeping these dual hybrid event audiences engaged and planning two parallel events are a major stressor, the report finds. Perhaps that’s why the participant experience is becoming a greater factor in event design, with professionals layering technology over the in-person experience to create events that feel like they are in-person+ — with or without hybrid participants.
When asked how future in-person events will compare to pre-pandemic in-person events:
- 45 percent of respondents said better attendee engagement
- 38 percent of respondents said more networking
- 37 percent of respondents said more attendee personalization
This trend drove Encore to create a free guide to help meeting and event professionals meet shifting audience expectations: Boundless Possibilities for Engagement. The Encore team also offers free consultations on how to enhance the in-person and remote attendee experience.
Other challenges meeting and event professionals say they face include lead times, specifically for large events. Event professionals report that a third of their events for more than 250 people (34 percent) must be organized within a three-to-six month window. Only half of these sized events are planned more than six months out. Most small meetings with one to 50 participants (43 percent) are being organized within one to two months out. Most mid-sized events with 51 to 250 participants (43 percent) are being organized three to six months out.
Want to read the full report? Download it here.
When Science and Events Combine: Adult Learning and Technology
Effective use of psychology principles in event technology can ensure your conference message is hitting the mark with attendees. Learn how the right mix of science and technology play a major role in a successful event.
Hope Holm, Regional Sales Director, Encore, Field Sales
Recorded on May 19, 2020