Many people, including me, thought the advent of a global pandemic - COVID-19 - would be the death knell of the conference and dinners industry. But we didn’t realise how creative and ingenious conference organisers could be, and that people would actually pay for virtual events.
ACT’s annual conference 2020
The UK’s Association of Corporate Treasurers started their virtual journey with a free event: International Treasury Week which attracted over 3,000 attendees worldwide and was widely praised. It mostly worked well. Contributions from ex-BofE Governor, Mark Carney on climate change and Edwin Schooling Latter, Director of Markets and Wholesale Policy, at UK’s Financial Conduct Authority) on the current position on the transition from LIBOR really helped to give depth to the proceedings.
ACT’s second try at virtual was in July with their Festival of treasury transformation and was also successful.
ACT’s third try at virtual, Annual Conference 2020, this week, was something else. The new conference technology platform from Engagez was very different. It had a ‘real conference’ layout and not only that ACT’s courageous CEO, Caroline Stockmann, appeared in her proper place rather than in a monastery or a jungle or in a sunset, etc., see:
And they charged the attendees, not as much, but on a similar basis as previous live conferences: £195 for members and £245 for non-members, as well as charging the sponsors and exhibitors. AND the new Conference platform enabled ACT to give each exhibitor their own ‘booth’, see Cashforce’s booth below:
The conference platform also gives attendees the opportunity to chat with each other. Plus there was much more including a debate section, etc.
An important and vital part of the platform is that the talks and items are to be left online till 8 November 2020 enabling ‘attendees’ to go back and review/show colleagues, etc.
The platform and all these facilities and options deliver a ‘survivable’ revenue stream. Well established conferences with a great track record are clearly going to survive, but dinners.......
ACT’s Not the Annual Dinner 2020
The incorrigible Caroline and her team at the ACT are not stopping there, they are inviting members and sponsors to attend their Annual ACT Dinner virtually:
The invite reads:
“Join us to celebrate and network with friends and colleagues in our virtual events space. It's set to be a truly entertaining evening and just the tonic to lift our spirits in these difficult times. We want to see you there, dressed in your finest, ready to beat the virtual blues and show your solidarity with peers across the industry!”
The evening is compered by David Meade with other speakers including Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Insight from Jitske Kramer, cultural anthropologist, and more to be announced. Plus all the old events are still going to take place including the live auction, etc.
Tables for nine cost £1,195 which includes delivering a hamper of cheese and wine to each of the nine diners.
CTMfile take: There are some organisations that have made virtual conferences successful, as ACT and Swift have done this week, but surely a Dinner is virtually impossible? Then again…… One thing for sure is that virtual events really have arrived.
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