home Events Engaging Events: Connecting the Virtual and Natural Worlds

Engaging Events: Connecting the Virtual and Natural Worlds

Photo: Oaxaca Tourism Fair

The best events motivate, educate, and inspire.

When events fail to meet expectations
We have all been to boring events. The crime is repeating the events with a business as usual attitude. Enough with the notion that people get credit for presenting or attending. Bums on seats is not a measure of an engaging event.

Personally, I don’t know how we change the status quo. Speakers could insist that events push the boundaries for participation, transparency and legacy. I would love events that promised a blended learning environment of face-to-face interaction and digital engagement. What if speakers promised to participate in Google hangouts before and after the event? What if participants were given the event Twitter hashtag during registration? What if remote participants could be called on to create real-time transcripts of the proceedings and encouraged to ask questions which would be fielded by those at the physical event?

When events fail to meet expectations, what are our options? We would like ways to suggest improvements to event organizers. Do events collect feedback from participants? If the event has local impact, do locals have a way of indicating what worked and what did not? If the event has regional or international impact, are there ways to collect feedback from the larger public? And in each of these cases, to what degree is the feedback received in an open and transparent manner?

Questions for Event Organizers: Online Focus
What is the event’s hashtag?
Is there live and recorded video?
Do you have the Twitter lists of your speakers, sponsors and participants?
What are your recommendations for remote participants?

Questions for Event Organizers: Local Focus
How will locals benefit during the event?
Can locals host satellite events / viewing parties?
What are your recommendations for locals?
What will be the legacy of the event and how can this be monitored?

Is there an event page on Facebook? = ¿hay una página del evento en Facebook?

Suggestions for Speakers
Instead of spending more time in the air than on the ground at events, we can always improve on our use of online conferencing. And if we do travel, we can engage a community wider than that at the conference venue.

Suggestions for Event Organizers
Your paying face-to-face attendees are using the Web? Your non-paying virtual fans want to know what’s happening. How will you engage the participation of both crowds? Easy! Connect them.

At the event
Display the event’s hashtag
Display the event’s wifi access code
Display the discussion about the event with a ‘Twitterfall’

Buzzword Bingo
Academic Conference – Attendee – Check-in – Collaboration – Communication – Consultation – Conference – Engagement – Events – Face to Face – Engagement – Exclusive – Forum – Fringe Event – Guest List – Host – Inclusive – Information Doer – Livestreaming – Local – Marquee event – Meeting – Networking – Online – Open Space Technology (OST) – Organizer – Participant – Parallel Event – People – Photo Safari – Presentation – Powerpoint – Registration – Remote Participant – Reservation – Satellite Event – Slideshare – Soundwalk – Sustainability – Tentpole Event – Tickets – Trade Show – Venue – Workshop

Satellite Events = Activities or meetings independently organized and conducted in tandem with an official event. (Not to be confused with events in the satellite industry which are also called ‘satellite events’)
Example: http://tedxsydney.com/site/satellite.cfm

May 2011 Responsible Tourism in Cities Conference. The event was engaging with presentations followed by lived Q&A discussions and a guided walk through the Durban city market. Best of all is that the conference started a much-needed conversation. Rarely do we talk about responsible tourism and cities in the same breath. The conference included live-streaming video with questions solicited from those following on Twitter. Videos and presentations are archived online. We should expect nothing less from tourism events.


Events Links

How is your conference green?




Livestreaming and archived video

Responsible Travel Week

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