Going Virtual: The New Normal

Thursday, April 9, 2020


As governments declare and renew states of emergency, restricting non-essential travel and public gatherings in an all-in effort to extinguish the spread of the novel coronavirus, conference and event organizers around the world have been forced to halt major events. Some have rescheduled to the fall; others cancelled their 2020 event altogether and will pick up again in 2021; still others have postponed indefinitely.

The decision to cancel or postpone a major event – or any event – is not one that organizers take lightly. There are high costs associated with cancelling speakers, travel, accommodations, and venues, not to mention the cost of refunding conference fees and sponsorship and exhibitor revenue. You also cannot ignore the human factor: the time and energy that goes into developing a theme, establishing the program, securing speakers and sponsors, designing the programs and even the name tags...

Let’s be honest. Cancelling hurts.

Fortunately, in 2020 cancelling or postponing your event aren’t your only options. A growing number of organizations are taking the leap and going virtual. A virtual conference is accessible to a wider audience, offering potential to increase attendance and registrations. Organizations can also save conference recordings to create a new revenue stream. Most of all, going virtual all but eliminates venue, meal, and travel expenses.


The task seems daunting – in part, because it is daunting to make the shift from live-in-person to live-online. Coordinating speakers in different cities and countries, revising the agenda, creating opportunities for sponsor recognition, building a virtual exhibition hall, providing space for attendees to communicate and collaborate… all of this takes time, energy, and technology. Most importantly – it takes a team of experts who can facilitate the transition and execute on conference day so that attendees are engaged and receive value from the event. Brix Studio has that team of experts, ready to help you.

Recently Ignite (ignitemag.ca) released a special mini edition of their online magazine. We think most will find value in the articles, which offer practical advice about (re)negotiating contracts, links to financial and emotional support, and tips to manage stress. Our favourite article provides advice to planners who are considering taking their events to a virtual platform. The quick-reading Q&A format tackles a few of the big questions event organizers face. You can find the entire issue of Ignite here.

Of course, there are many points to consider when deciding to go virtual. Please get in touch with us if you are interested in exploring virtual events, or if you are looking to transition to a virtual event environment. We are happy to answer whatever questions you might have.

In the meantime, please take good care and be safe.

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