About the Company
First Event is a leading UK event management company with a trusted network of global partners. First Event delivers precision-perfect events around the globe. Established in 1998, they specialize in creating and delivering tailored events that give memorable life experiences, meet all objectives and stay within budget.
First Event provides event management services for conferences, exhibitions, meetings, and events from live to hybrid to virtual.
Event Management Company: Transitioning To Virtual Events
Stephanie Cawood, Marketing Manager at First Event, mentioned, “First Event has been around for over 20 years for all the physical events and conferences. April 2020 was the time when we transitioned from live events to virtual.”
While sharing further insight, Max Collishaw, Head of Virtual Events at First Event, said, “The transition to virtual was a huge opportunity for us, as an event management company to progress. We were looking forward to more folks going digital.
It diversified the type of events we did and how we used to do them. We have brought a big change in the process, people, and business over these past few years. We have been really positive and are hoping to expand soon, nearly doubling our team. It’s getting bigger and bigger.”
First Event initiated its first virtual event in April 2020. Max stated, “We felt then that if the live events stop, there would be a big gap. That’s when we adapted to the digital offering and drove it forward.”
Talking about the benefits of virtual events, Max said, “There are so many pluses, the main one being the global reach- we are reaching people from all over the world that couldn’t have connected via physical events. Virtually, we are building better communities and events.”
He further mentioned, “Now it’s not just about the actual event; we have got pre-event & post-event interactions which is a whole new experience. We are creating communities around these events. Airmeet is so good at what it does because it enables the creation of these communities. We can now consider a series of events, calendar events, and more strategic events with a delivery plan as opposed to what we had earlier when everything finished with the event itself.”
Here’s a look at the challenges First Event faced and how Airmeet resolved them.
Challenges (and Solutions)
Challenge 1: For an event management company to host events where networking is a non-negotiable goal
Max said, “We wanted to bring people together, interact and have moments similar to live events, where attendees communicate with each other, exchange information, and have a meaningful interaction. We wanted to create a different and more engaging experience for each attendee.”
Social Lounge: Max said, “Social Lounge is my favorite Airmeet feature, where attendees can jump across the tables and have conversations. It’s just a great way for people to network. It’s more visual as well and much better than having multiple screens.
To make sure attendees made the most of the social lounge, we shared the details of the feature ahead of the event, including via our marketing emails. We made sure that attendees were completely aware of all available features. We were usually available during the event and nudged people to try it out.”
Tables: Max mentioned, “Getting people to interact also depends on the way we lay the tables. We leverage tables in various ways and make sure attendees visit them. We have tables like no-video tables, icebreaker tables, etc., to spark a conversation.
We also run a bingo card activity where we go around and speak to the attendees and find out about them. We get the bingo card ticked off for a prize. There are lots of different ways to engage and bring together people on Airmeet.”
Invite to Stage: Appreciating this feature, Max shared, “We can invite the audience on the stage by handing them the mic. This feature works so well for events like award ceremonies. We can capture genuine moments of surprise when someone receives an award. It’s the closest replication of a live event that I have seen.”
Emojis – Max said, “Most of our clients like emojis a lot. It’s a quick way of interacting, expressing and creates a fun vibe.”
Challenge 2: A robust feature-rich platform that empowers an event management company to host a wide variety of event formats
First Event wanted a platform that allowed them the flexibility to have multiple formats. They also wanted to provide more visibility to their sponsors.
Multiple Event Formats – Airmeet allows a variety of event formats like workshops, conferences, summits, job fairs, award ceremonies, and hackathons. Max said, “Being an event company, we organize a wide range of events depending on the requirements of clients, and we Airmeet helps us deliver solutions for almost every kind of requirement.”
Support – Max said, “Airmeet support is fantastic. Having a support lounge 24×7 is a great feature as you can reach out to support every big and small issue. The help section on the website is also really good.”
Analytics Report & Live Dashboard – Max shared, “Analytics and Live dashboard were very helpful as we had a lot of clients who wanted to know right then and there how many people were watching. The live data availability was good as we could track the attendees and their activity during the event.”
Session Replay – Max said, “The session replay feature works really well. You can create the whole content post-event and have re-visits. It acts as a teaser for the next events and is great for follow-up conversations. It helps to market future events.”
Sponsor Booths – Max mentioned, “We used the booth for sponsors. We plan to use the conference format for a large event in April this year. With Airmeet booths, so much more interaction is possible, and we can add more features there. The visual look and feel are so much better than other platforms.”
First Event has hosted close to a hundred events a year with Airmeet.
Challenge 3 : To find a platform we, as an event management company can grow with that offers a long-term relationship and wide choices
Max divulged, “We researched many platforms to find the perfect one. Airmeet was perfect thanks to the following features/advantages.”
User Interface – Max said, “I liked Airmeet as it had a completely different look and feel. It wasn’t like other platforms. I think the messaging was relaxed, unlike other fierce networking platforms.”
Free Trial – Max shared, “We checked many platforms, but Airmeet offered a perfect solution for our first event. We signed up to use the free trial that allowed 100 attendees, which worked well since we could gauge whether the platform was worth it. We built a strong relationship from there, and it just got bigger and better. We continued to use Airmeet for all of our events. It’s a standard platform for us now, and we recommend it to all our clients because it’s just got everything we require.”
Ability to host a wide variety of customized events – “We host different kinds of events for our clients. They are wide-ranging in terms of purpose and audience size. For example, we host a coffee morning every month for a client who brings 30 employees to the event. They come, sit, and have coffee and conversations in the lounge. Then we host quite a few award ceremonies where Airmeet features like invite to stage work extremely well. We also have internal engagement events, announcements, and product launches. Airmeet’s design supports all these varied formats beautifully.”
Hosting small and large numbers – Max mentioned, “Our events host anywhere from 30 to as many as 5,000 plus attendees. Our largest event was ‘London International Disputes Week’ for lawyers. It was a big networking event where we had a lot of sponsor tables.” Airmeet delivered winning experiences for intimate affairs and large-scale events with thousands of attendees.
Long-term Relationship – Max said, “Sometimes we get pushback from clients to not use Airmeet, and they recommend some other platform. But we remain very persuasive. We highly recommend Airmeet, listing its unique features. Our relationship with Airmeet’s account managers reassures our clients that they are in safe hands with Airmeet and us.”
Growth with Airmeet – Stephanie said, “Airmeet allowed us to win a lot of clients. With our digital events, we don’t just have a UK client base; our network has spread globally to New York, France, etc. If we look at the past, we see a massive difference in the kind of clients we had earlier. We are getting a whole new reach, and the reach is increasing by word of mouth too.”
Future of events: From the lens of an Event Management Company
Max said, “Traditional events will come back, but there will always be a digital element with it. The idea of creating a community around the event is vital. Networking and creating community are the keys to making the event more impactful.
Some of our clients have global offices and don’t find it cost-effective to have their teams travel. Hosting online events is a great way to bring them together. We have seen a massive trend towards digital events, and obviously, it is a sustainable solution. That’s a huge plus and a future win for us. Digital events are here to stay, and Airmeet is a remote social haven. Airmeet keeps getting better, constantly evolving and releasing new updates. It’s always a step ahead of all the other platforms.”
Stephanie added, “People have adapted over these past two years, and having a virtual event is a lot more accessible for them. People don’t want the extra effort and time of travel or booking a hotel if they have an option of going virtual.”
If you are looking to host life-like events, Book your demo and experience the digital world of events with Airmeet.