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All posts by Alex Pana
Alex Pana is the Marketing Manager at Oveit, a US-based tech company focusing on improving virtual and in-person experiences. Prior to joining Oveit, Alex worked with 2 of the world's leading financial services companies.
Over the last 4 years, Alex worked directly with hundreds of live and virtual events, understanding how technology improves the overall experience. He is people-oriented and although his role is to share the word about Oveit's solutions, he loves to learn about people's experiences. Be they good or bad.
He has a degree in Public Administration. This is where he first learned that small changes can result in big improvements. Having this in mind it was only normal for him to join Oveit.
A few days ago I saw some news that reminded me of just how important events are. Not just for those directly involved, but for the local community as well.
The material covered the story of a small local community that for the last 30 years was on the verge of bankruptcy. Year after year, the local authorities did their best to bring the small town back to life. With 0 results.
Then, all of a sudden, things started to change. A team of event organizers found the area perfect for a small (at first) Jazz festival. Encouraged by the splendid landscape, they decided to give it a try.
“You are never going to make out here. You are wasting your time and your money”. I wasn’t there, but this is what they probably heard.
I am sure that the team saw disbelieve in the eyes of the local inhabitants. Disbelieve mixed with hope. So they decided to follow their dreams.
Gains for the local community
Fast forward to the present days: the community is thriving. One week per year, thousands of people set camp in this small community. Locals saw the opportunity and transformed their homes to accommodate their new guests. Restaurants and bars have never been so joyful. And local suppliers were facing a new problem: can they produce enough? For the first time in over 3 decades, the problem was too much demand.
This new economic life is not limited to just one week per year. People started hearing about this new town and its surroundings. And started visiting it. A friend of a friend that joined the festival is now a guest for the weekend.
Tourists are spending money in the community. Local businesses prospered, and taxes were paid. Local authorities started investing money in infrastructure. Better roads, better facilities, more tourists. More money. The exact opposite of a vicious circle.
This is a true story, but the name of this small town is not relevant here. Because the same story happens over and over again, all over the world. You just need a brave idea and a community ready to embrace it. This is why we encourage you all to include the local community in your event economy.
5 Event Trends to watch in 2021 was initially published in our Newsletter on February 11th, 2021.
Hello, quick question:
How will the future look like?
I’m sure we’ve all asked ourselves this question.
It’s one of the hardest answers somebody could give. Lately, we’ve seen how things can go south without any warning. However, in the long term, we can identify directions that are followed even if temporary circumstances force things to go off track. During the last few weeks, we’ve tried to see the directions events will go in 2021. We’ve directly spoken with tens of event organizers and read many articles written by the industry’s top professionals. And although nobody can say for sure that there is a stable track that we should all follow, we’ve identified the most important trends that will probably mark 2021’s event industry.
When discussing with event professionals, hybrid events were the most common answer as a 2021 trend. Regardless of how things will evolve, hybrid events are here to stay. Why? Even if restrictions are fully lifted, and this will probably not be the case for 2021, we are not yet ready to go back to the way we used to act before the pandemic. Most of us will still choose to attend from the safety of our homes. And that’s fine. Events can now offer meaningful experiences for both in-person and virtual attendees. How? Even if you are hosting an in-person event, make sure that you offer online participants a way of attending your event. Most likely, a big part of your community is still not able (or ready) to attend physically, and that’s ok! You can easily allow people to virtually attend your experience. With Streams.live you can easily set up online and hybrid events – it automatically imports data from Oveit and you can use the same username (email address) and password to access the account.
Even if you have the opportunity to host in-person experiences, they will probably take the form of micro-experiences. Why? Due to travel bans, in-person attendance will probably be limited to locals. Small get-togethers will replace classic events, at least for this year. Having fewer physical attendees will allow you to not only make sure that sanitary measurements are properly implemented but also to focus on delivering tailored, attendee-centric, experiences. With few exceptions, just local supporters of your events will be able to attend in-person. How? Make sure that you follow all sanitary recommendations, I cannot stress out enough this. Also, make sure that you collect all needed information from your attendees. This will help you deliver safe and tailored experiences.
In 2021, paper and money should not change hands. Transform your events into cash (and paper) free experiences and keep everybody safe. Why? Money changing hands is definitely something that we should avoid by all means. It’s expensive and allows for fraud and human errors to occur. It’s also unsafe from a medical point of view. But going touchless offers many operational benefits as well. How? Event registration and management solution allow you to go fully digital and eliminate the need for printed tickets, cash, or plastic tokens. It may sound complicated, but it’s even easier (not to mention safer) than how things used to be. Read this article and see how easy it is to transform your event into a touchless experience.
Live shopping as event trends to watch in 2021
This experience, which, at first sight, may seem that has nothing to do with event trends, is the result of mixing entertainment and shopping. It’s used to describe online shopping journeys that have engaging live video experiences as their starting point. Why? The last few years gave us the possibility to see live how entertainment (live events) and purchases go hand in hand. Better said…people spend more while having fun. And we saw how more and more brands have included events and festivals not only in their marketing strategies but as selling channels as well. New revenue streams were initiated through this kind of live experiences. Moving your experience online doesn’t mean that these revenue streams will be lost. How? By creating shoppable experiences within your virtual events, viewers can purchase products and services straight from the live experience. Without being forced to leave it. Streams.live allows you to easily make your content shoppable.
The general opinion is that sustainability is not just a 2021 trend. It’s here to stay. Unlike some of the other trends (mentioned or missed from this message), sustainability has, in the long term, a much greater impact on our lives and businesses. Luckily, event organizers not only see sustainability as important but are also taking action in this direction. Why? Because environmental problems are a fact and it’s up to us into making a difference. We can not only make our events more environmentally friendly but we can also spread the word throughout the community. How? You can start small: encourage your attendees not to print their tickets as they can easily be scanned straight from their smartphones. Next – find a solution for your left-over food. There are so many solutions to eliminate waste. Single-use plastics should be a thing of the past, we have so many eco-friendly alternatives these days. You can go further and find a partner that is willing to educate your attendees on sustainability and the benefits of circular economies.
These are just 5 event trends we think you should take a look at in 2021. Of course, while documenting, you will find comprehensive lists of what to expect from 2021. Some trends are here to stay, some are just temporary. Some are pandemic-inducted (or accelerated), some are not. But they are all equally important.
Having a straight forward event payment system can be the difference between failure and success. Making sure that your customers can easily register for you paid events is one of the first things that you need to check while opting for an event registration software. But you need to also check and see if you can use that money prior to your event. Having a solid cash flow will help your business grow; having cash flow problems can crush your business.
Over the last few months, the event management industry was one of the most affected industries by the COVID 19 pandemic. Live events have been postponed or canceled, and the ones that took place were limited to a small number of attendees. Sponsors withdraw their offers as many companies decided to use part of their marketing budgets for day to day operations. Some event organizers moved the experience to online events, facing new challenges, but at the same time continuing to deliver incredible experiences to their communities.
But having an event payment system that allows you to easily access your funds is something that every event organizer should have in mind. Regardless of the current global situation.
At Oveit, our goal was to use technology to empower event planners that put all their work into bringing people together. Offline and online. We wanted to create a tool that makes everything fully automated, but also lets you have full control. And payments were one of the first things that we focused on.
Direct debit for event payments
Using our event registration software, our partners have instant access to their ticketing income. All our pricing plans have the direct debit feature activated, meaning that each time a customer places an order, money goes straight into your account. For us, this is how an event payment system should look. This way, even if a customer places an order for an event that will take place one year from now, you can use that money to support your efforts.
Secure Payments for Events
Let’s face it, paying over the internet can sometimes be an issue. For you and your customers as well. This is why we have decided to work with some of the most important payment processors in the world. This way, each time an order is placed, we can be sure that the client’s credit information is in safe hands. We do not process or store any credit information. Yet tickets are issued only after the payment is confirmed.
Multiple payment processors
Live events bring people together all over the world, so it was essential for us to provide an event registration software that supports multiple currencies and payment methods. We haven’t limited payment methods to just credit or debit card transactions. We added bank transfers as an option as well. And frankly, the option was used more than we have initially expected.
After creating their account, our partners can choose to easily integrate PayPal or Stripe as their payment processor. The Integrations are straight forward, allowing event organizers to receive money from each order straight into their account.
As a tech company, we couldn’t neglect cryptocurrencies. Especially after running a survey with part of our partners as seeing that over 50% said that they would consider allowing customers to pay with cryptocurrencies for their future events. From March 2020, we have partnered with Crypto.com, allowing our partners to sell tickets using cryptocurrencies.
Having an event payment system that allows you to process payments in a secure environment is crucial. Your customers need to feel safe each time they share their credit information. But at the same time, it’s important to have a system that is flexible and works for you.
The beginning of 2020 brought us the Madeira Startup Retreat, a wonderful program that supports startups that brings together startups that aim to use their technology for the Travel and Hospitality industry. It helped us better understand how our solution can help communities develop their own local economies.
But as I write these lines, the world is totally different from what it used to be just a few months ago. The coronavirus pandemic made governments impose total lockdowns on communities, a measure designed to keep us safe until these hard moments pass. All industries took a big hit, but Hospitality and Travel are probably the ones that suffer the most in these hard times. Travel bans and lockdowns transformed our once vibrant communities into “ghost cities”, making us understand that we shouldn’t take anything for granted.
The last few weeks gave me time to think of the importance of local communities and their role in the reconstruction of the global economy. And how Tourism can empower local economies. Because although we all suffer together, the power must come from within: individuals, small businesses, local communities. We are strong together, but firsts we must be strong as individuals.
The future of communities
The idea of local economies that are globally interconnected is not new, but today’s hard times force us to better understand the importance of each chain link in our interconnected world. And that the fall of one piece can create a chain reaction that will affect us all. While some communities are created around powerful manufacturing industries or financial centers, many of them are 100% dependent on the industry that took the biggest hit these days: Tourism.
Overall, 1 in 10 employees work in tourism, making it one of the biggest industries in the world. But for some communities, it means more than that, making it the only way that allows them to attract external funds. However, taking a deeper look at the Tourism Industry allows us to see the day-to-day challenges. Challenges that affect both the Tourism Industry and the community. Tackling these challenges could mean a stronger, financially independent community that has the power to attract more tourists and offer better experiences. The key members that create these experiences, which have the interest but also are required to work together.
Current main problems
We will take a look at how Hotel Chains, small businesses, and local authorities could better work together. But first I want to list some of the problems that affect the small communities and Tourism operators.
Especially in developing countries, tourism inflates prices. Tourists afford to pay more for existing products and services, making it harder for locals to access them. In the long term, this makes the area lose its initial inhibitors and its cultural heritage, affecting tourism in the region.
Most of the money leaves the community/country. Although tourists spend large amounts of money, a big percentage leaves the local economy within just a few transactions because of the lack of strong local businesses.
Lack of data. Each stakeholder has access to part of the data (tourist information, purchasing habits, preferred experiences, etc) making it almost impossible for them to offer the experiences tourists crave for
Fragmented experience for the tourists. Different currencies, different payment methods or divided registration processes can become daunting. Often enough, tourists choose to skip different activities because of the mentioned reasons, affecting both the local economy but also their own experience – a lose/lose situation.
At first, it may look that these problems affect just the local communities, not the powerful Hotel Chains that operate there. But a weak community will discourage people to visit a specific area, forcing the Tourism Operators to take a big hit as well. Distributing part of the money to locals is an investment that will help the area flourish, having an impact on all the mentioned stakeholders. And with millennial travelers valuing local experiences and pushing the trend to experiential traveling, any support offered to the local community becomes an investment into the industry itself.
At Oveit, we have developed an Economy as a Software solution, aiming to help communities to create their local economy. Having such an ecosystem means that the money tourists spend on their vacations stays within the community that works to create these wonderful experiences. It’s a way of making sure that the wealth is distributed amongst those that put the hard work in creating beautiful memories. It’s a way of making Tourism (more and more) sustainable.
Local Economies. From concept to implementation
If you think the theory sounds good you will be happy to find out that the implementation is easier than you would imagine. Our solution allows the main stakeholder of the ecosystem (let’s put the Hotel in charge) to easily onboard external vendors and experience creators into this local payment system.
The integration with the PMS means no complicated onboarding is required. Guests from the hotel can use their room key ( or even their mobile phones or customized NFC wearables) to pay or claim different benefits. It can be used to open the room, access the spa, pay at the hotel’s restaurant or gift shop. But by onboarding local vendors it also means that they can use it to pay at a local shop or to access the local museum. By partnering up with the local entrepreneurs and authorities, the Hotel can encourage its guests to spend their money within businesses that add value to the region. It can create better experiences for the tourist, allowing them to pay using the same NFC wristband that they use to open their rooms.
Tourists will no longer need to carry cash around. So often, small local businesses do not afford to onboard the existing banking system, making it harder for them to sell their services and products to foreigners. Tourists can use the same wearable for all the activities they want to join – a simple thing as an NFC wristband can become their room key, wallet, access to the museum or even transportation pass.
Data becomes available live – purchasing habits and experiences are all processed through the system, allowing involved parties to better understand the customer journey. And, of course, to use this information to better understand who their customers are and how they could improve their stay.
Local authorities can support the industry by making sure that part of the money generated by the Tourism industry is spent within it. For example, for spendings within local businesses users can receive extra Perks – free entrance to local attractions, discounts, and many more.
We live in an era where technology shows us the power of decentralization, empowering individuals and communities. Looking at today’s biggest companies like Airbnb and Uber we see the effect of giving power to individuals and small communities. Not only a better wealth distribution but also improved services for the consumer. And better experiences mean better client retention.
Leading Tourism companies have the opportunity to use their resources in creating powerful economies around their businesses. To empower the communities that empower the tourism industry.