9 Takeaways from the 2020 BestCities Global Forum

From 17-19 November BestCities held its annual Global Forum online and also introduced hybrid elements to the programme for the very first time. Here are our top 9 learnings from the event.

3 Things the audience learnt:

  1. Creating roadmaps to reveal opportunities for innovation, differentiation and partnerships.
  2. How to use technology tools to make online meetings more engaging for your audience.
  3. A strong partnership between the convention bureau and local conference ambassadors is key to delivering maximum impact for the local community through business events.

3 Things we learnt:

  1. How do you get participants to read instructions in advance of the event? We had shared instructions for the meeting platform and various sessions in different formats (written and video) and pushed these out to participants a number of times. However, it became apparent that still a large proportion of the audience did not read or view them. We still don’t have an answer for this and would welcome any tips on how others manage this.
  2. The majority of associations joining the Global Forum indicated virtual/hybrid events as topics they would like to share or gain knowledge on. We can assume that there are still a lot of associations grappling with this after the shift to digital.
  3. Don’t be afraid to experiment. We tried different formats during the Global Forum and not all of these worked, however it does show a willingness to try new things and participants were appreciative and inspired because of it.  
Our virtual meeting planner Nigel Brown

3 Things we’d recommend to other meeting planners:

  1. Invest in having technical support during event hours. Having a helpdesk where participants can be assisted with technical issues is really important and well worth the investment.
  2. For your final rehearsals make sure that your speakers have their setup in the exact way it will be used on the day so you can minimise any last minute technical issues.
  3. Have a dynamic virtual host who can act as a bridge between sessions, make important announcements and keep people engaged at downtimes in the programme.