In a time of unprecedented crisis, Ireland’s conference sector has been busy exploring new ways of connecting with international audiences online. While COVID-19 has dramatically altered the global business tourism landscape, this challenge has motivated digital hybrid events agencies to put new strategies and technology to the test — with quick turnarounds and innovation on the go a crucial part of the process.
One agency that has accepted the challenge with gusto is Go West, an award-winning conference management team offering virtual and hybrid conference management services. In June 2020, they coordinated with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Ireland on their National Water Event, a virtual conference delivered using cutting edge technology.
When the impact of Covid-19 on the MICE industry became clear, the organisation was faced with the prospect of cancelling their annual water event for this year. Instead, after consulting with Go West and examining the wealth of options available to them in the virtual space, they decided to proceed with an online version of the June event.
This was the largest ever National Water Event attended, with 1,200 delegates over two days from all across the world — the EPA’s largest Water Event ever. Services provided by Go West included online registration, streaming platform, delegate communication, delegate engagement, speaker liaison, speaker recordings, event production, exhibitor liaison and conference materials.
“We decided to experiment with the idea of virtual conferencing, and we are really glad we did… we are delighted the event was such a success, thanks in no small part to the service provided by the Go West team,” explained Andy Fanning, Programme Manager for the EPA National Water Event 2020.
Go West managed to embrace both sides of the hybrid promise: fast, efficient technology with the human touch. When it came to an events strategy, Go West is able to fully implement, host and deliver the live streaming of events, managing online registration processes, delegate communications and event materials, speakers, their technical and visual requirements alongside event running orders in real time during events.
Looking beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, Go West will continue to champion a virtual events strategy that can hybridise alongside live events. In order to focus on the sustainability aspect of digital hybrid events, they recently relocated to the coastal Gaeltacht Village of Spiddal in Connemara with the objective of focusing on the future of technology and virtual business events.
Kathleen McDonagh and Kerry O Sullivan, Founders of Go West