Can’t Touch This!

Cyril Ramaphosa’s real state of our nation update has brought about some sobering changes, none more than what we are facing in the events and hospitality industry. From an anything goes approach to our events, to suddenly MC Hammer calling out “You can’t touch this”, everyone has gone into fear and freeze mode.

So, what can we do about this? If I was really smart, I would find a cure for COVID-19, but alas, I am a simple accountant and will thus try to stick to my knitting or basic calculator

The events sandbox has been disrupted forever and the Virtual Event is going to be the new norm. It costs less, is more effective, more efficient, healthier, has less carbon foot print and… BORING?

For most delegates, the annual conference is a big highlight, time to catch up with colleagues from other regions, stay in cool hotels, eat, laugh, get motivated, learn, brag, win an award or more, drink and be merry. These old school benefits are very hard to compare with such a sterile environment as envisioning with the Virtual Event, it’s green screens, wires, techno gadgets, apps and webinars.

We at HISIDE had a quick virtual online meeting, and I asked the question… how do we make a Virtual Event attractive?

I will let you decide on whether you would attend? Herewith the minutes of our very visual meeting:

  • Entry to the conference is Press a BUTTON on your Computer!
  • No driving, no flights, no queues, just sit in the comfort of your own room or with a select team (1,5m away from each other of course) in a HUB.
  • Better still, in your HUB is a HUB KIT. You open it to find funky stuff, like a menu to order from, a gift that looks weird (this makes you wonder), your own water bottle, hand sanitizer, an iPad and a set of Virtual Goggles.
  • Put your feet up as a human looking like a Matador introduces himself as your MC “Hammer” with a difference. The welcoming is made and as you begin to get interested, a knock on the door and Uber Eats delivers your favourite coffee along with some memorable snacks to keep you alive.
  • On go your goggles and you are in an icy blizzard, polar bears jump at you, an Orca leaps across your iceberg, you push on with the Matador urging you to follow. Suddenly you are entering the ICE Hotel somewhere in Norway, its spectacular, it’s very, very, cool. You put on a jacket that is also in the HUB KIT… more surprises.
  • A question comes through from someone in Cape Town. The screen splits and we see that it’s Pieter from Parow who you met 2 years ago, and he wants to know why he has a survey that he needs to complete? The Matador pictured on the other side of the screen, explains that it’s an anonymous survey and will give instant feedback as to everyone’s opinion as to each speaker, each opinion, each idea, in real time!
  • Alongside this is a Chat Feed where I can even ask questions and not disturb the speaker.
  • Next up, we have Tommy the Teambuilder who introduces a Challenge that requires everyone to help get the MD out of an Escape Room somewhere on an Island. Picture zooms to a sorrow looking Matt the MD who is pleading for help. Back to Tommy who tells us to go to our iPad and follow the instructions. You are given the opportunity to work with Pieter from Parow and Suzelle from Simons Town. What a team, and as you work through a series of online challenges, Tommy assesses your performance and rewards you with cash (not real) which you use to purchase a make-believe online business as part of your other exercise in “How to make money in a diminished market”.
  • Now you switch to some cool Keynote Speakers and then amidst the informative session, a set of questions just to check you have been listening. Press replay because you were talking to Suzelle at the time… aha the answers are so easy!
  • Now it’s time for recognition awards, and everyone is on thin ice. You are asked to put your goggles and now you are somewhere in a Colosseum in Rome. As the nominations are called out from Matt (still in the escape room), the screen picks up Sam, Jim and yourself. There are 200 other delegates online and they can see how nervous you are. All other online profiles disappear and the winner remains… IT’S YOU! Imagine the magical moment, your wife and kids are suddenly online to experience this win with you. With your goggles on you stand and walk up to the podium, lions roar, Caesar stands, an army of Viking’s salute you. A quick interview and a knock on your HUB door and hey presto… FEDEX delivers your award and a small business compliant gift. You are a winner. The Matador asks you some questions, it’s as if you have just won the F1 at Monte Carlo!
  • You have 1 more number to get to allow Matt out of the Escape Room, a clue is to call 911, but you realize that’s an American number and it’s not going to help calling it but at least add the numbers together, 9+1+1 and its 11. Enter into the code into the box and hey presto, Matt the MD is released and it’s all thanks to you, Pieter and Suzelle… winners again.
  • It’s getting late and the day is nearing to an end, but wait there’s more… A fuzzy screen appears for a few seconds and then suddenly up pops the Ndlovu Choir who have put together a very cool collaboration with Prime Circle and they give all the winners a singing send-off, a once in a lifetime live performance!
  • The screen closes and suddenly you are alone again, you pack your HUB KIT into your brief case, look at the strange gift and now realize what it’s for and as you walk out the door, you wish that the conference could carry on a little longer!

John Ingram

Director at the HISIDE Group of Companies

No Comments
Post a Comment