In the wake of COVID-19, federal, state, and local officials placed a number of restrictions on mass gatherings.
Due to these restrictions workforces and schools were forced to operate remotely, and major events, including global conferences, sporting events, and concerts were either cancelled, postponed or moved online.
Like many companies, here at Quickbase, we hold a number of in-person events like Community Summits and our annual user conference Empower, where members of the Quickbase community can get together to meet, network, and learn from each other.
Empower is one of the highlights of the year for us at Quickbase. We were excited to host many of our customers in San Diego this year, but quickly had to pivot and figure out how to best host our event virtually.
Our events team immediately moved some of our community summits online, all while planning and preparing for our first Virtual Empower which will be hosted on June 2-3.
“The team really took it on as a challenge to overcome and think about what are the experiences we are building and how can we still bring those to our customers and prospects to really experience Quickbase and to learn from each other,” said Beth Hyland, Senior Manager, Events at Quickbase.
Hyland said that her team prioritized finding ways to take those experiences attendees would normally have at a live event, like networking and learning sessions, and make them just as engaging in a virtual setting.
“How are we still going to enable the networking and the ability for people to learn from each other?” said Hyland. “At the core, the experience we try to build [at Empower], how can we replicate that in a virtual world?”
Although a virtual event will be a different experience, there is still a lot of great content for attendees to learn from and engage with.
“We still have the ability to bring the community together and to learn,” she said.
Hyland and her team have also leveraged the power of Quickbase to help them deliver events virtually. They updated applications that are typically used for in-person events to help in this virtual setting.
One application allows the team to track confirmed sessions, speakers, and now the list of Zoom links and recordings for their sessions. Another application is one that holds all registration information. Typically, we run much of in person Empower on Quickbase as well with applications such as a Sponsor Hub to track sponsorships and all logistics involved in that process.
Of course, there are challenges when trying to plan a virtual event in such a short timeframe. Hyland said one of the challenges of hosting a virtual event is the technology itself and making sure there are backup plans in place.
“We are going to learn along the way, especially during those two days of Virtual Empower, what is working, what is not, how can we quickly transition. It’s just having the different scenarios in place and making sure we are working through all of them,” she said. “It’s been a great learning experience, something that is great for the team, great for our growth and future.”
Hyland’s team had to make some tough decisions around portions of Empower that wouldn’t translate well to a virtual event.
“A tough thing for us is some of the pieces of Empower, we had to make the tough decision, that they weren’t going to have the same experience virtually and with the short turnaround time it wouldn’t be a great experience to recreate virtually,” she said.
It was important for her team to focus on how to provide the most value and best bring those pieces of a typical live event to life digitally and be realistic about what is possible.
Hyland said she’s most excited about engaging with the community, upcoming product announcements, and sessions for users to learn about the new products.
“I’m excited about building upon what we’ve built and what we know people love,” she said.