The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound and long lasting effect on us all, impacting on all aspects of our lives from work, socialising, travelling and running businesses.
Venues and events have been particularly hard hit with conferences, concerts, festivals, exhibitions and conventions effectively grinding to a halt for most of the last 12 months and losing countless millions in the process.
The pandemic has forced all venue and event operators to reassess their guest and visitor experiences and come up with innovative solutions to not only ensure safety in the post COVID world, but also build confidence again and provide enhanced experiences. And it has forced us all to become tech savvy with even the late adopters being reliant on their smartphones to be able to interact in a COVID ridden world.
The use of technology and the digitisation of existing systems and processes has helped venues become more efficient and allowed them to provide many services without the need of human interaction or face-to-face contact. This article takes a look at some of the innovations which have made a significant impact over the last 12 months.
Venue & Event Management Solutions
Although online booking and ticketing systems have been available for many years, the proliferation of venue and event management solutions has grown in recent years as technology has improved.
By onboarding platforms like VenuePro operators can not only streamline and automate time consuming or inefficient processes that would normally be carried out manually, but can also significantly enhance user experiences through more effective planning, enhanced management of teams and better management of events.
Contactless technology is nothing new but its usage has accelerated over the last 15 months as venue and event operators needed to find ways to minimise interaction with visitors and guests. It has become something of a necessity for all types of venues, big and small and by leveraging contactless, in the form of mobile bookings, touchless payments, self-service, mobile orders, or RFID tech, operators have not only been able to comply with new safety regulations but have created seamless experiences for their guests that have driven efficiencies in the operation.
Together these technologies create a better experience for visitors. They minimise the time people need to spend congregating and queuing, thus increasing their satisfaction and enjoyment levels.
The pandemic has been a gamechanger for the humble QR code and has single handedly sent it mainstream on a global scale.
Seemingly, overnight QR codes started appearing on the front door of every venue throughout the world as track and trace systems were hastily created and physical food and drink menus were quickly removed and replaced with their digital equivalents.
QR codes were already heavily used across Africa, Asia and Latin America for digital payment via smart phones and now that the masses have got used to using them on a regular basis, it would appear that QR codes are here to stay and will become even more prolific in their use going forward.
Virtual Conferences & Events
Although online video calls and webinars have been commonplace for over a decade, they really came into their own during 2020 as they became the only way for large groups to meet.
Many event organisers, hotels and conference centres have gone one better and have set up their own digital studios for the specific purpose of creating live online events that provide a more professional and polished result. Delegates and speakers can still take part from their living rooms, but are provided with backdrops and a production team to provide broadcast quality results for live events. Remote and in-person delegates are able to interact with live sessions, while speakers can deliver keynotes and contribute to panel discussions.
The benefit of these digital solutions means that anyone can access the live content wherever they are in the world and they can be recorded and shared post-event.
The ‘digital surge’ over the last 12 months has meant that many barriers to technology have been broken down and the adoption of new innovations has been accelerated out of necessity. Although we all want to get back to normality as quickly as possible, with physical events and crowds, it’s clear these new ways of operating and the use of these technologies are here to stay.
Platforms such as VenuePro have been created to make our lives easier, improve visitor experiences and reduce operating costs, and will continue to evolve and adapt, creating even greater benefits as they do so. This will hopefully ensure a more profitable and successful venue and events sector in the future.