Redefining ‘Live’ Events in COVID Times

The pandemic changed the meaning of “must-attend” events, says Freeman CEO Bob Priest-Heck, because hybrid events are now “bigger than a physical location or moment in time.”

Author: Bob Priest-Heck       

CL20 Main Stage

Freeman’s Main Stage for Convening Leaders 2020 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco wowed participants. Adding virtual components to a meeting can complement the live experience. (Jacob Slaton Photography)

For the Convene September/October issue cover story, we focus on how the pandemic has spurred the development and growth of different business models in the events industry. Here, we hear from Freeman CEO Bob Priest-Heck on how the global event agency accelerated its efforts to streamline processes and focus on strategy and data services that help customers make the best decisions about their events.

Bob Priest-Heck

Bob Priest-Heck

While disruptive, the pandemic gave us an opportunity to pause and use the moment to redefine how we create and experience “LIVE” events. Our customers (and their customers) have a renewed appreciation for the power of in-person events to network and drive commerce. Virtual events complement that experience, expanding reach and working as a digital thread that connects everything together. It’s changed the meaning of “must-attend” events, because it’s bigger than a physical location or moment in time.

Our strategy, data/analytics, and agency services help our customers make the best and most impactful decisions for their events. On the planning side, we’re always working to make things simple and easy for our customers. The pandemic allowed us to accelerate and focus on these efforts. For example, we were able to simplify pricing models, create new ways for our customers to communicate with us, as well as streamline the move-out process into a more seamless experience.


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