The Auaha squad have become accidental Virtual and Hybrid Event Specialists. 

Even when we bask in the level 1 sunshine, we routinely plan for a sudden pivot just in case we need it. As a result, conferences are back on the agenda and Auaha is soaring!

Is there a better way to describe our current times than with the words of Aotearoa’s calm and collected reluctant health-hero Ashley Bloomfield (a.k.a ‘The Eliminator’)? 

‘Covid-19 can feel like a roller coaster you haven’t actually bought a ticket for.’ 

If ever there were true words. 

Bumps, ups, downs, sudden lefts and nauseating drops. It all got thrown at us while we were dosing in the early days of 2020. 

Easy for you to say we have to throw our hands in the air and just ride it, Mr Ronan Keating. I think all of us just screamed at some stage. 

I know we did.

To the outside world, it may seem like Aotearoa is na-na-na-na-naaaing through life. And to a large extent we are. But these sudden lockdowns that come out of nowhere are not for the faint-hearted. 

Looking back to where we started though, I’m amazed by how well we adjusted. 

The Accidental Virtual and Hybrid Events Specialist

There’s a moment I remember vividly. 

As we punch-drunk emerged from the level 4 lockdown in late May, virtual (and hybrid) events presented as a gateway out of a slow but certain death of the Business Event Industry. 

BUT… we came up with a plan! 

We had a microphone, a webcam, and we had ZOOM. I sincerely thought that was all we needed. It makes me chuckle now. But everybody was pretty much in the same boat. We were all novices, simply figuring it out as we went. 

Much to our credit, we pulled it off!

The first couple of virtual events happened without the back-up of a tech company! I personally feel quite at home with tech, but my team was a lot more hesitant. Admittedly, it was stressful. 

What a long way we have come since!

Auaha is Flying in 2021!

Virtual and Hybrid Conferences have become part of everyday life. 

Even when we bask in the level 1 sunshine, we routinely plan for a sudden pivot from a live conference to a virtual one, just in case we need it.   

As recently as a few weeks ago, down came the lockdown rain, and it was time to pull the virtual Plan B out of the bag.  4 days was all we had. We would have managed 12 hours if we would have needed to.  

There’s nothing DIY about it anymore. 

It struck me how our latest virtual conference was not too dissimilar to producing a TV show:  we had a stage with cameras and speakers. All very dynamic business event stuff. But no audience. 

From an event organisers perspective it was a big change from the ‘talking heads’ we’ve done before, where I had been sitting in slippers behind my desk, controlling the command centre.  

You’ll be pleased to know there wasn’t a ripple in sight. 

The result of our swift morphing into a virtual and hybrid event specialist is that Auaha is flying in 2021. Wehi nā! Who would have thought? 

The latest figures show that Association confidence has bounced back big time. As many as 92% of associations are planning a conference for 2021, despite wobbles and continued uncertainty. Auaha has no less than 12 events lined up by the end of June.  

New Auaha Squad Members

As a matter of fact, we’ve become so busy, we have 2 new Auaha squad members to introduce to you. 

Meet Amy Van Eerden and Jacqueline Missen! Neither of them are rookies in the world of event business. 

Amy comes from an outdoor event background. She’s very used to juggling an entire array of moving parts during the tracking and delivering of an event. As the new Auaha Project Manager, she’ll be able to hone those talents even further, no doubt. 

Jacqui, on the other hand, will be the right hand to Beckie’s left. Her role is to have her eagle-eye firmly on the delegate experience, making sure everybody can look back on a function to rave about. 

Sadly, Jane is leaving the nest to take on her next challenge. Karawhiua, Jane!

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