• Ileana Weynberg

How technology saved our events company during Covid-19!

When Bojo Closed the pubs on March 20th to prevent Covid-19 from spreading and advised Theaters and cinema’s to close the events industry all but collapsed overnight. All the events cancelled for the following months and the revenue streams that many relied on to pay the bills disappeared.

Most event agencies are self-employed, so when furlough was introduced they were not entitled to any help. Venues Possible LTD had only been running less than a year so we were not entitled to any government help which could have meant closing down our business and ending up in a lot of debt. Like many other people in the industry, it definitely gave us a cause for concern.

Technology became a lifeline for many during this Pandemic. It created the ability for businesses to continue working remotely. Although people isolating found things hard, the events industry entered a new era of performance to fill the void. Independent artist’s, as well as established artists, helped bring the ‘live gig experience’ to people’s living rooms. A number of well-established companies like The Royal Shakespeare company were already live streaming their events but mainly for educational purposes.

How technology saved our business?

We needed some innovative ways to keep our business afloat. Not having staff was both a benefit and a curse at the time because we were small we were able to be nimble and react quickly to this changing landscape unlike some of the larger events companies in the area, however, this also meant we didn’t have the resources to run a big marketing campaign to promote our new idea - ‘Destination Isolation’. We began by looking at our regular events and by speaking to artists about live performance and researching the free resources at our fingertips to make our idea a reality.

After a lot of trials, often more miss than hit, we decided on Zoom meetings, it catered to our need to continue hosting our previously live pub-quizzes to keep our regular quizzers engagement with the company as well as creating something everyone was craving due to those feelings of isolation. It worked! Then the law of unintended consequence kicked in – we had created a social network where many new friendships formed and continue to do so every week.

‘Destination Isolation’ has become an event most weekends starting at 5.30 with ‘live music in your house’ where visitors can join us on Zoom and socialise or can follow

our simulcast on Facebook Live. We encouraged our audience to start their own Watch Parties and regularly have more than 1,000 people join us. We created a Go Fund Me page, a kind of virtual buskers hat so that the artists benefit from performing live while people party in their living rooms. The move towards digital performances attracted interest from artists and we soon had a great line-up including local independent artists like Benjamin Haycock, Exact Vocal Duo and Michal Kumar to name a few. As our community has grown so has our reputation along with the location of the artists who want to perform on Destination Isolation, we have had performers from Bedford and Birmingham and even Cornwall.

We continue hosting our quizzes every Saturday evening online with the help of our amazing Quiz Master Jay Dee. A regular event that had previously been hosted by The Drapers Arms every Wednesday evening. Jay Dee brings his charisma and charm to our screens and constructs a multitude of interesting quizzes to keep everyone entertained; the quizzers have even learned to love the evil round where he takes away points for every question answered incorrectly. While not much marketing was involved, a lot of people have joined us for the fun and the interaction with others. It created that magical support network with an element of fun while drinking alcohol (in moderation of course) and learning something new.

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