Monthly Archives: April 2020

5 Key Considerations When Transitioning from In-Person Events to Virtual

By Beth Becker, Global Meeting Services Manager, Attune

Many planners today find themselves scrambling to transition their in-person events to virtual platforms.  Below are five areas to consider when converting your event:

1. Content

When hosting a virtual meeting content is king.  Content will attract attendees, maintain audience engagement, successfully communicate your message, and promote sales. Virtual meetings should promote collaboration; however some content or activities may not transfer well to a remote environment.   it may be necessary to adjust your content slightly to accommodate a virtual setup and maintain attendee engagement.

2. Platform

Deploying a virtual attendance platform typically involves buying a license (or licenses) for virtual meeting rooms and determining how those rooms will be utilized during live events.

There are quite a few platforms available on the market today, most of which are capable of sharing content. Choosing the right platform should be dictated by the nature of the content. If it’s purely informational, shorter in duration, or has 50 or more attendees, a webinar format may be your best option. For content that is more interactive, a two-way platform may be a better choice as it will better replicate a live, in-person environment.

3. Peripheral Equipment

Virtual meetings can be conducted using the built-in camera and microphone that come with most modern computers. However, upgrading your equipment can go a long way in improving presentation quality.  Items to consider include: a high-definition video camera, external microphone, external lighting, larger monitor, and enhanced bandwidth. These items, with the exception of bandwidth, are easily accessible at local stores and online.

4. Delivery and Support

Just as with in-person events, proper planning, preparation, support, and backup plans are essential to the success of virtual events.  Many planners underestimate the value of technical support. Unless you have a dedicated IT department that has both the knowledge and bandwidth to support your event, you’re better off working with a meeting delivery specialist, like Attune, to help you plan, deliver, and support your event.

Whether you choose to go it alone or work with an event delivery partner, here are a few key considerations as you plan your event.

Presenter Training:  How familiar are your presenters with technology and virtual platforms?  Conducting a training session with an experienced virtual technician can help presenters feel more comfortable with the technology and reduce delays or confusion during the live virtual event.

Attendee Support:  Attendees can occasionally experience challenges logging in or staying connected. An established protocol and dedicated support team will ensure maximum participation, attendee engagement, and satisfaction scores.

Rehearsal:  One of the benefits of virtual events is the ability to conduct unlimited rehearsals.  This allows you to work out the kinks and address any technical difficulties ahead of time.  Inviting a few colleagues to attend the rehearsal as audience members can provide valuable feedback prior to going live.

Backup Plan:  It’s important to establish a backup plan in case encounter problems or an internet outage occurs. Many platforms offer a dial-in option that enables the user to listen in and take part in the conversation, though they won’t see any video or content being shared.

5. Optional Features

There are many optional, interactive features offered by today’s virtual platforms. Items such as live chat, polling, and built-in surveys can be useful for gathering information and maintaining attendee engagement.

beth becker

In today’s uncertain environment, virtual attendance platforms can provide viable options for delivering live events. Planning, technical support, and back-up plans are a must to mitigate failure. Planners should seek assistance from an event delivery partner who can assist in the set-up and support of the virtual event.

To learn more about converting in-person events to virtual, Attune is currently running a webinar series on this topic.  Click here to register one of their upcoming webinars.

Beth Becker is the Global Meeting Services Manager for Attune and has more than 20 years’ experience in the travel/hospitality and meetings industry. 

Active in the Meeting community, Beth currently serves as a moderator for MeCo and Global Correspondent and Talent Bench member for i-Meet. You can connect with Beth via Linkedin.

PlanetIMEX Countdown

On 6 May IMEX will launch two of three PlanetIMEX islands. Islands where you can reconnect, talk future business and continue learning in the company of friends and colleagues from the global business events community.

Community Island – live 6 May

News, views, research and insights from our business events world – it’s all here on Community Island. Plus, this is the place to kick back and enjoy some downtime PlanetIMEX style from #imexstillrunning to laid-back island music mixes.

Education Island – live 6 May
Explore our full programme of education, designed to continue our commitment to provide high quality professional development to our industry.

  • EduMonday Live will be taking place on 11 May, where you’ll have the opportunity to register for a full day of education and interactive content. Also, hear from Ray Bloom and Carina Bauer as we embark on a new exploration into the virtual world of PlanetIMEX.
  • Don’t miss the keynote with Guy Bigwood, Managing Director, Global Destination Sustainability Index, he’ll be discussingThe big pivot: Towards a regenerative events industry’.  Futurist Rohit Talwar will present ‘The Future of Events – Three Scenarios’ and guide us towards five survival strategies for the future.
  • Be sure to join the She Means Business debate with a panel including Julia Brewing, Head of Marketing DACH at Facebook and Gabriela Suhoschi, Director of World Water Week, where they’ll be discussing the tough decisions women in business and events are making today. A joint event by IMEX and TW Magazine supported by MPI.
  • On Tuesday 12 May, our Community Day will bring together education from industry partners and associations including EIC, ADMEI, GCB, IAEE, IAPCO, ICCA, ZEUS and more.
  • The Education island is also home to our Sustainability Village and our Nature Talking Point.

Networking Island – live 14 May
Explore potential new business relationships and spark up one-to-one conversations with our global business events community.
Joining instructions coming soon…

Best wishes,

Your PlanetIMEX Team

ASAE Research Foundation Announces Recipient and Update to Scholarly Research Grant Program

The ASAE Research Foundation named the latest academic institution to receive a grant from the Scholarly Research in Association Management Grants Program (SRGP). The SRGP provides investigators with funds to conduct research on a cross-section of topics relevant to association and member-based organization management. This cycle’s recipient will receive a $13,250 grant that starts on April 15 and lasts for 18 months. 

This cycle’s recipient is: 

University of Washington 

How, When and Why do Associations Advocate? Association Engagement in the Policy Process 

Mary Kay Gugerty, Professor, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance 

“Congratulations to Dr. Mary Kay Gugerty and the University of Washington. Dr. Gugerty’s research will provide valuable insights about advocacy, and associations’ engagement in the public policy process. This study is a great example of the ASAE Research Foundation’s ongoing collaboration with the academic community to help advance a body of knowledge in the field of association management. We look forward to sharing the results of Dr. Gugerty’s work over the course of the next several months,” said ASAE Research Foundation President and Chief Research Officer, Sharon Moss, Ph.D., CAE. 

A new addition to the SRGP portfolio is the Sal Martino Legacy Grant, which supports research exploring diversity, equity, and inclusion in association management. It is intended to direct funds to the research activities of those working (or matriculating) in an academic community, association management professionals, and consultants/private contractors in association management. 

Funding for the Sal Martino Legacy Grant for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Research is provided by Webster, Chamberlain & Bean, LLP. Applications open on May 11.  

To learn more about the Scholarly Research Grant program and additional opportunities to apply, visit  

An open letter to #eventprofs – as an industry united, we are stronger together

Our friends at Visit Britain would like to share the following letter with you.

Dear events industry colleagues

In these uncertain times, as the world copes with COVID-19 and the challenges it brings you, your organisations and your events, we want you to know you are not alone. This is a time charged with difficulty both professionally and personally, and the UK is here to support you.

It’s a turbulent period for the events industry, as we tackle postponements, cancellations, rapid switches to virtual events, as well as uncertainty about what the future may bring. Yet the events industry is like no other – we are a community that supports each other both in times of celebration and in times of need.

So, the UK wants to say to all event professionals that you’re not alone. It’s tough right now, but we’re here for you.

VisitBritain and its UK partners are committed to supporting you in any way we can as we navigate these turbulent times. As an industry united, we are stronger together.

Acknowledging that your immediate priority will be to support your events, staff, customers and members, we want to ensure that you have access to the most up-to-date information on the situation in the UK. For the latest information on holding events in the UK, please visit our website for updates.

We want to assure you that, when the time is right, we will be here to welcome your events back to the UK. But until then we are planning virtual ways to meet, talk and help you explore the UK event possibilities from your home.

For now, we send you this message of our continued support – we will get through this together.

From the Business Events team at VisitBritain

Planners Helping Planners

Submit a Tip to Win a Gift Card

In these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever to share knowledge. 

Let other meeting planners in on your best tips and advice to navigate the current climate. What have you learned from meeting cancellations, postponements, working from home, or doing more with less staff?

Enter your tips for a chance to win a gift card and vote for your favorites. 

New Webinar Series – Using Technology and Tools to Move From Live Training to Virtual partner Attune is hosting several webinars this week:

Creating an Effective Virtual Classroom Using Remote Attendance
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 | 2 p.m. ET

This webinar will focus on how to use virtual attendance tools effectively to create a virtual classroom.

  • Learn how to turn in-person training into meaningful virtual experiences—tips and best practices
  • Learn how to use virtual attendance platforms to connect learners and gain the advantage of greater flexibility in your training programs
  • Hear from others who have used virtual attendance technology to successfully transition their live events to remote

Creating an Effective Virtual Classroom Using Virtual Training Labs
Thursday, April 23, 2020 | 2 p.m. ET

This webinar will focus on how to use virtual training labs effectively to deliver technical content.

  • Learn what a virtual training lab is and its various applications
  • Learn when to use a virtual training lab
  • Understand the pros and cons of a buy decision
  • Hear from others who have used virtual training labs to successfully deliver their live technical events remotely
  • Learn how to combine virtual attendance and virtual labs technology for a more enriched experience

If you tune in for one of the webinars, comment below and share something you learned!

IMEX launches new online experience – PlanetIMEX

In its desire to give back to the international business events, meetings and incentive travel industry following the massive outpouring of support since IMEX in Frankfurt was cancelled, the IMEX team have created a brand-new virtual experience, due to launch 6 May and run for several months.

PlanetIMEX has been designed as a destination in its own right and will feature 3D, interactive islands, each created using principles borrowed from the world of online gaming. 

Visitors to PlanetIMEX will be granted unlimited, free access to a variety of content and activities on three islands: A beach-themed Community Island; A forest-inspired Education Island and a Networking Island characterised by canyons, mountains and valleys.  

Although the execution is light-hearted, each island has a serious purpose. The intention is to keep the spirit of IMEX alive by allowing visitors to explore, reconnect, talk future business and continue learning in the company of friends and colleagues from the global business events community. 

Says Carina Bauer, IMEX Group CEO, “We decided early on that we wanted to gift something back to the industry we love while continuing our commitment to providing high quality education, business and networking value. Rather than switch to a one-off online event, in true IMEX fashion we opted for innovation through transformation! Instinctively we looked to our Nature Talking Point for inspiration.

“PlanetIMEX is therefore a fresh and original concept with a visual charm that pays tribute to the exhibitors who always make our shows look so appealing. We’ve combined education, community, and business introductions with wellbeing, including some old favourites such as #imexstillrunning. All of this takes place in a new ‘magical place and space’ which we hope the industry will appreciate and value. That said, like many others in our industry, this has been – and remains – a learning curve. We’ve jumped right in to try something new and we’re excited to learn, refine and enrich it over time.” 

PlanetIMEX goes live on 6 May when both Community Island and Education Island open to industry visitors. Education programming starts on EduMonday 11 May with a day of education and interactive content, starting with a keynote by Guy Bigwood, Managing Director of the Global Destination Sustainability Index. Bigwood is also the lead on the IMEX Nature Talking Point research, supported exclusively by Marriott International, and set to be launched later this year.  

Tuesday 12 May will be IMEX Community Day, with content delivered by a range of IMEX’s association and other partners. It will also include the IMEX-MPI Future Leaders Forum. 

On Thursday 14 May IMEX Introductions will encourage industry buyers and suppliers to explore potential new business relationships and spark up one-to-one conversations.

The following week on Monday 18 May, PlanetIMEX will provide specialist content aimed at specific buyer communities, including a new interpretation of Exclusively Corporate, the Agency Directors Forum and Association Focus.  

The education platform on PlanetIMEX has been generously designed and developed by sponsors, Cvent.

Patrick Smith, CMO of Cvent, the market-leading meetings, events, and hospitality technology provider, explained, “All of us at Cvent are incredibly proud to be partnering with IMEX to help them bring this extraordinary online experience to life. As longtime leaders in the meetings and events space, IMEX Group is dedicated to helping everyone in the industry make connections that matter. While the in-person experience at IMEX in Frankfurt will be greatly missed this year, our teams have collaborated to create a unique and deeply engaging virtual environment. While nothing can replace meeting face-to-face, it’s important that as industry leaders, we make the best of this current situation, and to be able to help IMEX deliver their great content to their global audience in an interactive, compelling way is really exciting.”

Over time the IMEX Group plans to expand the content, programmes and engagement opportunities on PlanetIMEX. Access is free although registration is required for both education content and IMEX Introductions.  

ASAE Reveals 2020 Gold Circle Awards Winners

ASAE announces the winners of the 2020 Gold Circle Awards competition, which denotes excellence, innovation, and achievement in association/nonprofit marketing, membership, and communications programs. With the cancelation of the 2020 Marketing, Membership & Communications Conference due to COVID-19, ASAE will be taking a new, creative approach to recognize, celebrate and share the work of GCA Awardees.

There are two components of the week-long celebration. During the week of April 13, winning organizations and campaigns from each category will be highlighted in short videos shared on the main ASAE Center Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. On Friday, April 17, the celebration will culminate with a live virtual interview of the Gold Circle Awards Overall Excellence Winner from 2-3 pm ET. To join the virtual celebration use

The 2020 competition received 189 submissions across 15 categories, including a new category for digital content. The Gold Circle Awards committee voted to introduce this new category to address the segment of work associations execute that are not full marketing or communication campaigns such as, apps, blogs, podcasts, or social media. 118 judges from a variety of associations, nonprofits, and for-profit organizations evaluated the submissions this year. The awards are sponsored by HighRoad Solutions, an association-specific digital marketing agency that helps associations leverage email marketing and marketing automation to gain greater insight on how to grow revenue.

“On behalf of the awards committee, I want to congratulate the 2020 Gold Circle Awards and Merit Award recipients. The creativity shown in this year’s submissions illustrates the amazing work associations do on a daily basis, and the impact they have on the world around them,” said Renee Harris-Etheridge, MBA, MS, CAE, Director of Membership, National Association for Home Care & Hospice and chair of the Gold Circle Awards Committee.

“MMMC has always been a tremendous platform for the Gold Circle Awards. And while the current health crisis forced the cancelation of the event, it does not diminish the extraordinary work of the Gold Circle Awards winners, nor our ability to showcase and share how their efforts move their organizations and the community forward,” said ASAE Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Robb Lee. 

Here are the 2020 Gold Circle Awards winners:

Advocacy Campaign
Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed); Saving Jobs and Lives – End Device Tax

Convention/Meetings Marketing Campaign
Insured Retirement Institute; IRI Annual Conference Marketing Campaign

Digital Content
Infectious Diseases Society of America; #WhyIVaccinate: Taking Twitter by Storm to Spread the Truth About Vaccines

National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies; Perspectives Magazine

Association of Equipment Manufacturers; AEM Industry Advisor e-Newsletter

Media/Public Relations Campaign
Institute of Management Accountants; Management Accounting – The Gateway to More

Member Retention Campaign
American Urological Association; Stretching Beyond Excellence – American Urological
Association’s 2019 Member Retention Campaign

Membership Recruitment Campaign
IPC; IPC Membership Recruitment Campaign

Member/Volunteer Engagement Campaign

ISACA; ISACA’s 50th Anniversary: Honoring Our Past, Innovating Our Future

New Product/Service Launch
Chicago Association of REALTORS®; Young Professionals Network (YPN) Real Estate Boot Camp

Print Magazine
American Optometric Association; Member print magazine (AOA Focus) redesign re-imagined

Rebranding Campaign
National Association of REALTORS®; That’s Who We R 2019 Consumer Advertising Campaign

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization; My Legacy, My Hospice: Lou’s Story

Society of Surgical Oncology; SSO Website

Overall Excellence Award Winner

Infectious Diseases Society of America; #WhyIVaccinate: Taking Twitter by Storm to Spread the Truth About Vaccines

We recognize the Merit Award as a distinguished honor awarded only on a case by case basis, to an applicant who had a very strong submission and project. However, the judges determined that the submission did not meet the level of a Gold Circle Awards. Merit Award winners were voted on by the Judges to award the work and impact executed by the organization, of which they believed was deserving of recognition by its peers.

The 2020 Gold Circle Merit Award recipients are:

Digital Content
Society of Women Engineers; Society of Women Engineers’ “Diverse” Podcast

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; College Insider

Member Retention
AAMI; Membership Restructuring Initiative

Member/ Volunteer Engagement
Austin Board of REALTORS®; Be A Member Campaign

Rebranding Campaign
American Physical Therapy Association; ChoosePT


National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers;

For more information on the winners, visit Gold Circle Awards.

Level Up Your Work From Home Space with a Sarasota Style Video Chat

Liven up your next video conference

Our friends at Visit Sarasota County have come up with a creative way to bring their beautiful beaches into your home office.

If you’re using video conference software for your business meetings, check out these free resources to spice up your virtual background.

If seeing truly is believing, maybe everyone in the video chat can take a brief vacation to one of Sarasota’s stunning Gulf Coast beaches!

Click here for the instructions to use the virtual backgrounds.

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre successfully rearranges 66 events

Communication, compassion and an adaptive mindset secure future business for the Centre

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre) has been consistently communicating and working closely with clients to reschedule a large number of meetings and events that have been impacted by the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. As a result, they have so far successfully rescheduled 66 events into the latter half of 2020.

The Centre’s team have been utilising all their vast experience to rearrange its calendar and apply as much flexibility and empathy to accommodate the large number of events which have been affected. The Centre’s team rose to the challenge, working extremely closely with our clients to find their preferred dates and offer solutions.

They also used their specialised knowledge to help organisers to ‘reimagine’ their events, making adjustments to event design and layout, based on the expected business events landscape in the future. Of paramount importance has been their passion and concern to assist loyal clients and help international associations, who have been patient and collaborative, in finding mutually suitable dates in the calendar to maintain their meetings in Malaysia.

The Centre’s team also revisited the capabilities of the venue itself, to identify how both technology and more creative use of space and F&B provision will enable meetings and events to continue seamlessly taking into account the new operational requirements pertaining to hygiene, social distancing and virtual events, so clients can conduct meetings with peace of mind and focus on their business imperatives while the Centre provides an ideal environment for business continuity.

According to the Centre’s General Manager, Alan Pryor, “COVID-19 has presented all of us with many unique challenges, but we are remaining as flexible and resilient as possible, and working very hard and closely with all our recurrent and potential new clients to ensure that every event at our venue is a success. We look forward to welcoming events back to the Centre once Government deems it safe to do so, and we are ready to institute all guidelines and provide a safe, healthy and secure environment in line with operational standards laid out.”

“Until we can meet face-to-face, we wish all our clients, stakeholders and communities at home and abroad good health and wellbeing and express our sincere condolences to those who have experienced personal loss during these very trying times,” he concluded.

For all the latest news and information on the Centre, visit