The Future of Sustainable Events Could be Gamification
Because of the COVID-19 disruption, we are forced to evolve into a new way of defining work, play, and everything in between.
During intense uncertainty, we have never been more certain about the power of community to drive meaningful connections. Dan Roberts, a psychotherapist, says, “Humans are born wired for connection – it’s in our DNA, as strong as a need for food, water, and warmth.” Because of our innate desire to belong to a tribe or group, events and conventions will eventually find their place post-pandemic, but in a new way that will be closely related to gamification.
As we adapt to our current situation, we alter our habits and switch from face-to-face interactions to online connections, working remotely, and managing virtual meetings with business partners. This shift in behavior is laying the groundwork for the future of sustainable events. Event planners and corporations will want to protect their stakeholders’ well-being and their financial investments by creating high-end and hyper-connected digital experiences that offer a way for stakeholders to foster relationships, make money, and have a one-of-kind experience – all from the safety of their homes.
Imagine registering for a virtual conference that offers a tier-ticketing strategy.
- Tier One – prerecorded videos of panel discussions and keynote speakers available to view any day and time. Streaming, when it’s convenient to the attendee, ensures a more pleasant and inclusive experience. As a value-add, attendees could watch a keynote or an interactive online panel at a scheduled time to ask live questions.
- Tier Two – an interactive gaming-style event hosted in a virtual hotel or convention center. Each person is identified by their avatar and can be moved throughout the area by using a generic gaming controller. Attendees can move and communicate freely, using a microphone and headphones, just as a gamer would while playing Fortnite with friends. This level would require the desired attendees to be online at the event simultaneously.
- Tier Three – each attendee at this level would be given virtual reality (VR) glasses and a motion-controlled device for a truly immersive, first-person perspective. Participants would both experience and influence their environment by being completely immersed in the middle of the event. You can shake hands with a potential investor, walk around and look at vendor tables, purchase products or books, trade virtual business cards, or schedule one-on-one meetings to pitch your product. The possibilities are endless at this level.
Event planners can pair up with data science collectors to use interactive segmentation criteria to create different types of experiences for specific audiences. They can also draw on detailed profile information, before content consumption to enable any virtual attendee to be more productive during a digital event than at a physical conference. Companies are no longer limited to just a one-time event; they can combine a wide range of activities into a holistic digital experience.
Vendor space would be available to the attendees that pay for tier-three tickets. Vendors could also be offered the opportunity to send attendees swag upon request via the event planner marketplace. Swag would be shipped to a specified warehouse, where custom boxes would be curated for each attendee based on the checklist that they filled out that lists the vendor products.
Instead of renting tables, chairs, and linens, rental companies would be responsible for providing the virtual devices. These companies will team up with office supply stores for pickup and delivery methods.
Entertainment and wellness opportunities, such as yoga, will be a huge part of sustainable events. Luckily this portion can be prerecorded and licensed by the artist. Attendees can gather together to watch or interact at a designated time.
Admittedly, I have not found a way for car rental companies to collect their share of the event industry revenue in this new digital format. In an ideal sustainable, and regenerative world, people will not hop in a plane to fly five hours to attend an in-person event anymore. This eliminates the need for rental cars.
Sign-up for The Collective—bringing you stories on culture, people, and community.