Webinars – Yet Another Exercise in Talk Shop? 1 June, 2020

It’s Time to Examine the Outcome of All Those COVID-19 Business Recovery Webinars

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Have you attended a webinar this week? The answer is most likely a yes.

With the business events industry coming almost to a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw a sudden boom in webinars. The business recovery webinars gained traction by late-March and was in full swing in April and May when many countries imposed some form of lockdown or movement control and cancellation of businesses happened en masse. 

It is undeniable that the knee-jerk reaction to gather virtually and organize webinars was part of the process to gain some sense understanding of the developments in the travel and business events industry globally. Even more glaring was that the future we once flirted with and introduced in events was staring at us in the face, but not in the way we had hoped. 

We have been talking about digitalization of business events for years now, testing out technology that allows us to streamline how we meet and to usher in the future of meetings and incentives. What we were not prepare for is an almost overnight change in the way we operate.

So, we turned to webinars to listen to industry leaders and experts. The was an inundation of webinars organized by meetings industry associations, convention and tourism bureaus, conference organisers, consultants, industry professionals and many more. You had webinars streaming in from North America, Europe, and Asia, webinars meant for local audiences and those for international audiences.

A number of Malaysian organisations held weekly webinar series. They facilitated discussions on the plan forward from local industry leaders, and what needs to be done in order to secure future business from regional business events clients and suppliers. 

In general, the COVID-19 webinars went along the lines of “is this the new norm”, “what can we do to recoup business”, and “how the landscape has changed for us”. We heard from clients about their challenges and what they hope to their suppliers and governments can do to assist them, we heard from suppliers, we heard from governments, we heard from business owners.

While there was much needed insights gleaned from the webinars, the crux of the matter remains that "there was just too much talking and too many people talking in a time when no one possesses the ability to accurately predict and control external factors.

Now that Malaysia and much of Asia Pacific is entering the recovery stage, what remains to be seen is have the webinars facilitated our collective understanding of organizing business events during a pandemic and prepared us for the new normal, or has it been yet another exercise in talk shop?

Share with us your personal and professional takeaways from attending webinars over the past few months. Take our SURVEY here. Results of the survey will be published on 29 June 2020.