Did you know that Wikipedia already has a page dedicated to the
‘Coronavirus recession’? As it says, “The coronavirus recession, also known as the COVID-19 recession, the Great Shutdown, or the Great Lockdown, is a severe and global recession which arose as an economic consequence of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Against this strange new landscape, where our fellow human beings remain the biggest danger, the hospitality sector has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic more than most. It has happened simply because hospitality almost always involves human contact, whether it’s people getting together to enjoy themselves, learn new things, meet useful people, or celebrate their corporate successes. 

When the virus first hit, the hospitality sector was stopped in its tracks. But now, a few months down the line, many hospitality organisations have started to adapt. They’re carrying out all manner of exciting virtual events, and it might surprise you how powerful, influential and enjoyable they can be. 

As PCMA points out, “While there’s no replacing the face-to-face networking, spontaneous exchange of ideas, commerce potential, and overall sensory experience associated with a live event, a virtual event can help corporations, associations, and other organizations achieve valuable business objectives. During the COVID-19 pandemic when gathering in person is not possible, pivoting to virtual events can keep brands top of mind, audiences engaged, and can help generate new leads.”

Why are online events so powerful?
Online events are virtual but they’re also highly interactive, and that makes them powerful. You can create a webinar so your people can learn from influencers in your sector, attend a virtual class complete with a live instructor, the opportunities are endless. Here are some examples of the kind of virtual events that are making a big impact right now. 

The virtual charity fundraiser
There are so many ways to raise money virtually for good causes, and getting together for a good cause helps to bring teams together. You could hold a virtual auction or a virtual talent show, a live fundraising event on Facebook or a virtual open mic night. How about virtual karaoke? A virtual raffle? The virtual movie-watching event is a hugely popular innovation, where you watch a film together then discuss it afterwards via a chat room. You could even raise money for your chosen corporate cause by dressing up for conference calls.

The virtual business workshop
You, or someone else in the company, has a serious amount of expertise to share, and a virtual business workshop is a great way to share it. Maybe you’re a talented manager who can pass on a bunch of brilliant management tips in a virtual workshop format or a sales whiz who can remotely train the sales team about the technical aspects of the products they’ll be selling.   

The virtual expert interview
You might be fortunate enough to find an industry insider who is happy to be interviewed remotely, and answer questions from a remote audience. What a great way to share all that knowledge, insight and expertise with your employees. 

The virtual catch-up
How long has it been since your employees actually got together in person? It could be months. A virtual catch-up, something informal and friendly and fun, could be exactly what you need to make sure the social glue that holds your business together remains good and strong. 

The virtual ideas session
One of the most important things about working closely with others is the amazing way people bounce ideas off each other. It’s a lot harder to do when you’re working from home. You could hold a seminar online about ideas for effective remote team working, or about the work-life balance at home, designed to help everyone make the most of the situation. You could set up a seminar to discuss new product development, introduce new staff, reveal innovative new plans for the business. Anything goes. 

The virtual Q&A
How are your customers doing? Does anyone have questions? What about your suppliers and business partners, your buyers and investors?  A virtual Q&A can help clear up all sorts of important things and ensure everyone is on the same page. 

The virtual world – A business lifesaver in lockdown
There are so many ways to harness the internet and digital tech to keep your business going, keep your employees happy, satisfy your customers, build new relationships, and consolidate existing ones. What are you planning to do as regards virtual events, whether they’re for your staff, your customers, your prospects or the world at large?