Turning Radius Summit Into a Virtual Event - stories from the travel front line

March 27, 2020 Amanda Greenwood

Radius Travel organizes three events a year for its members, which are corporate travel and meetings event agencies around the world. Each event is an opportunity for the network to engage, collaborate and share best practices, as well as get important updates from the Radius team, the network itself and key partners.  

The team was busy preparing for the first summit of 2020 (due to be held in Singapore) when reports emerged of a virus spreading in China.  

“We were weighing up the impact on the event with limited information,” says Henrietta Balint, Senior Director, Global Meetings & Events at Radius Travel. “We were considering attendee levels and which travel restrictions might come but also the wellbeing of the participants.” 

Following further information from partners in the Asia Pacific region and the approach that several customers were taking, the team decided to postpone the in-person event to 2021. The postponement of the event meant working with the hotel and venue to re-negotiate.  

“The hotel was a long-standing partner, and after discussions with them, we came to a happy medium to lift and shift the event so it can take place next year,” explained Henrietta. “We are all hurting, and the sign of a true partnership is to look at both sides and come to a solution that works for both parties.”  

The team then turned their attention back to the member agencies. 

“We still wanted to get information out to the agencies, especially the essential content that couldn’t be put off until the next time we meet,” says Henrietta. “We started to explore our options, considering factors such as how to set up the event and timezones.” 

The team went through the agenda and chose the most important sessions that they decided would be recorded and sent to the ‘attendees’ over three days. Each session was due to be followed by a live Q&A with the speakers so the attendees could ask questions as if they were in a conference room, although these were later canceled when the outbreak, and therefore agency workload, escalated.  

Henrietta said: “We had just under four weeks to pull this together; we had to continue to show our commitment to the members and to communicate with them.” 

Alexa Perry, Director, Marketing added: “We had to really focus on what the agencies needed at that time. Even between the event and now so much has changed and we’ve had to make quick decisions, but we achieved what we wanted to, in making sure the network had information at hand.”  

Henrietta added: "We are now looking at our upcoming events in 2020 to map out actions we need to take given the current environment. We are working with our supplier partners and looking to plan for more engaging and interactive virtual events that allows us to continue to develop our strategy, align and improve on the value we deliver to our customers and share best practices. We have some amazing virtual and digital capabilities across the network and are looking to utilize them for our internal engagement."

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