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Conduct or cancel due to coronavirus? 1C-Bitrix in Belarus tells how the fate of the conference for 1200 people was decided

Conduct or cancel due to coronavirus? 1C-Bitrix in Belarus tells how the fate of the conference for 1200 people was decided

To hold or not offline conferences and other public events – in connection with the coronavirus pandemic? Social networks are full of comments from company representatives, disputes and arguments for and against. In addition, the Ministry of Health advocated restricting cultural events, sports and scientific events with international participation in Belarus until April 6.

So which solution will be optimal? Polina Gankovich, Director of 1C-Bitrix in Belarus, offers several options for working in the new environment and shares her experience.

– Last year we held 32 free business events for clients and partners. 60% of them took place in the regions. For two key events, we invited speakers from other countries.

One of the main conferences this year was planned for the end of April – with the participation of 1,200 people.

Therefore, we had a choice – to hold an event or not. How do organizers respond to a pandemic announced by WHO and official statements from government agencies? Should I cancel events that do not imply an international format? What solutions do we see for ourselves and other market players whose sales funnel is “tied” to events? I’ll tell you what our company decided.

Transfer to another date
Arguments “for”: first of all, you support both the official position of our state and the global trend. Mass events are canceled all over the world – sports, educational, business and hi-tech forums.

We do not know how events will develop in the near future. It is necessary to constantly monitor the situation and quickly respond to changes. If there are only a few weeks left before your event, at least prepare a transfer plan.

Arguments against”. When transferring, you will have to organize everything from scratch. Only the concept is saved. The remaining agreements – with the site, speakers, contractors – in most cases are reissued.

You may lose some of the prepayments made to contractors. Preparation for the event begins long before the event, and such moments might not have been provided for by the contract.
If you started the announcement, sold tickets and now cancel the event, you need to arrange a refund to customers.
Also, you will not be able to return the funds spent on the advertising campaign.
Finally, you may lose your competitive advantage in the market, because you are temporarily “falling out” of the information field.
Online event transfer
Arguments for”. The online format does not limit your audience to the number of seats in the room. Broadcast is available to people from almost anywhere in the world. If they are not comfortable connecting at the announced time, they will be able to watch the recording.

You get the opportunity to hold your event on any day and at any time – now you do not focus on the free dates of the site.

The budget for the organization of the event is reduced. Setting up an online broadcast costs less than the total rent of a hall, catering, site design, video and photography.

Most importantly, people will be able to connect from a place convenient for them, while not physically contacting anyone. So, of course, the risk of any viral diseases is leveled.

Arguments against”. On the one hand, you make it easier for listeners to participate in the event.

On the other hand, it is important to consider several features:

The involvement of the online audience is much lower, as practice shows – up to 50%
The number of connections to the broadcast can be small, especially on the day of viewing – many plan to watch the recording
When transferring online, you will have to change the message and focus of the advertising campaign. You need to do this very quickly so as not to lose your audience
Please note that technical issues in the room are resolved faster. At the same time, both the speaker and the audience remain in the hall. If something went wrong during the live broadcast, the audience “falls off”
Even if you set everything up well, connection problems may be on the listener side.
There is a problem with the choice of the day and time of the broadcast. Weekday – viewers can constantly be distracted by working moments and eventually completely disconnect. Day off – everyone is busy with personal affairs and may forget about the event.
Let it be as it is
Arguments for”. Until April 6, if you follow the recommendations of the Ministry of Health, this option applies only to local and small events.

Everything is simple here: you do not lose agreements with contractors and prepayments, do not bear the cost of restarting the advertising campaign.

In this case, the organizers are required to take care of additional protective measures at the event. For example, offer masks, install dispensers with disinfectants. This will significantly reduce the risk of infection – with any viruses.

Arguments against”. It is likely that you will not collect an audit

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