In case you haven’t heard, Seattle and the Pacific Northwest just survived an epic snowstorm that shut down the region for days. I was fortunate to be able to from home as I watched the snow fall. At Evia that week, we were a little busier than normal as we receive some late requests to add live streaming to some local events.
All those calls from clients got me thinking about all the work that goes into planning a live event – venues, food and beverage, AV, network, and of course, creating all the great content that will be shared. And now think about how it can all be threatened or derailed by an unexpected weather event.
As a marketer, I’m always thinking about how to convey the many benefits of live streaming to prospective clients - benefits such as engaging larger audiences, expanding the reach of an event to remote and global audiences, and virtually sharing the content and energy of an event. But I hadn’t spent as much time thinking about what happens when a significant portion of your registered onsite attendees can’t get to the venue. In that situation, live streaming is not just a benefit; it may be the insurance that saves your event entirely.
Here in Seattle, this current storm made travel very precarious over that week. If an event was being held in the region during that time, there’s a good chance that event’s attendance numbers were negatively impacted. But providing live streams of the keynotes and breakout sessions would have enabled those impacted attendees to still consume the content even if they couldn’t physically get to the venue. The show could still go on.
A surprise snowstorm is not the only weather event that can necessitate live streaming. Picture a large event in Las Vegas in the summer. It’s 112 degrees outside and the event is spread over multiple venues. An attendee is in a breakout session in one venue, and when it concludes, she has 30 minutes to get to another venue for her next session. That venue is “next door” in Vegas distance, which can be almost half a mile. Live streaming ensures that this attendee can watch the session from anywhere on any device, and she can still virtually attend the session without having to brave the rushed walk in the heat.
There are many benefits to live streaming your event content, but it wasn’t until Seattle Snowmaggedon 2019 that I added “weatherproofing your event” to that list.