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The best virtual show so far…

Like many other event managers, Dennis Publishing were recently forced to move two of their major annual events online – the PC Pro Awards and The Historic Motoring Awards 2020. With zoom fatigue facing many, Dennis chose to use the innovative Awards Room by Evessio to deliver the ceremonies.

The challenge facing Dennis was how to bring the awards alive, to keep their attendees engaged and watching the on-line event from start to finish and maximise sponsor exposure.

There was the additional challenge that the Head of Events at Dennis had recently lost her team of five and was having the deliver the challenging events singlehandedly using a platform that was new to her and all the attendees.

The Head of Events at Dennis worked with Evessio to hone the functionality that would allow Dennis to deliver the outstanding awards experience that their clients expected. Translating the traditional live awards to a digital experience turned out to be both fun and successful.

The PC Pro Awards was attended by a larger number of guests that would normally attend the live event and remained throughout the whole ceremony. Hampers and trophies were sent to the winners at their homes to create a sense of togetherness and indulgency consistent with traditional awards.

Attendees were able to use the Awards Room chat functions which really brought the event to life. It was used extensively with around 150 in-room messages sent in less than half an hour. Laughing and joking were part of this with attendees fully engaged and enjoying themselves. The presenter from PC Pro magazine also joined the fun in a live chat with guests.

Branding from the sponsors was prominently displayed on the site and the sponsor also had their own table at the ceremony. Branded graphics were used, and Dennis colleagues were “blown away by the look” of them.

The Historic Motoring Awards were held on the 22 October at 5.30pm, which was felt to be a good time of day, with many attendees still with their work colleagues and not yet moving into family time. Attendees in the United States also joined, and audiences in Japan will be able to watch the awards ceremony on catch-up after the live ceremony. Attendee numbers were also consistent and in line with that of their 2019 awards. The ceremony was 40minutes in length, but guests logged in as much as an hour earlier and remained logged in for more than half an hour afterwards to socialise and network.

Again, attendees enjoyed themselves with jokes to “pass the salt” or “the butter’s too hard!”.

With guest all together in the Awards Room located on 60 virtual tables and lots of viewers in the public gallery, the event felt busy and had a great buzz.

The Apprentice of the Year was able to join the ceremony accompanied by their parents, and the nature of the digital event was less intimidating for a young person, making engagement comfortable for everyone.

Voting for the Car of the Year category opened prior to the event and remained open throughout the event in order to keep the audience engaged. It was only closed towards the end of the ceremony, prior to the winner being announced. As the ceremony was live, the presenter had pre-recorded 10 alternative winners and the production team were simply able to insert the correct video into the ceremony at this point. For the events planner, it was an intense part of the awards, but highly successful.

The chemistry of live events was very much present during the Awards Room digital awards ceremony and feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with one attendee praising it highly as “the best virtual show so far”.

Dennis took their own table at the awards ceremonies they arranged and noted that many colleagues who weren’t involved with the event still wanted to attend in order to observe and learn more about the Awards Room.

Social media was still buzzing with talk of the Historic Motoring Awards the following day.

One attendee joked that the Awards Room means they will almost never need to go to another live event.