COVID-19 Emergency Guide on Migrating Physical Conferences to Virtual Released

ARLINGTON, VA—While nothing will ever replace the benefits of in-person meetings, and the networking and relationship-building that takes place at events and conferences, the current climate is one in which many businesses and associations are canceling or rescheduling their in-person events, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. While many events can be moved to a later date, sometimes the subject matter is too pressing to hold off. Application and review software platform OpenWater has released its COVID-19 Emergency Guide that shows how to quickly convert a physical conference to a virtual conference as the coronavirus continues to impact conferences, events and meetings.

“Conferences are being canceled and the impact of a full refund could be a knockout blow for organizations,” said Kunal Johar, CTO, OpenWater. “Besides meeting face-to-face, a lot of conferences provide educational sessions, some that are required for continuing education credits. At least keeping the sessions going provides content and value, and might avoid a full cancellation.”

Because a majority of OpenWater’s customers rely on annual meetings, conferences and summits, the company created a downloadable guide and instructional video that shows step by step how to transition a physical event into a virtual event using Zoom, or similar meeting tools like GoMeeting. OpenWater is not affiliated or being paid by either company.

Virtual conferences ensure that attendees can still benefit and view recordings from any session while keeping sponsors happy by allowing them to have dedicated virtual sessions or incorporating them in the beginning or middle of a session, according to OpenWater.

By following this guide, event managers can transition their event to be virtual in one day with ease and without prior tech experience. Attendees can also be at peace knowing their health is protected and can stay updated via Zoom on any changes that are being made. They can also create an online schedule in Outlook or Google Calendar to stay organized and ensure that they get the most out of their conference or meeting experience.

“The American Association of Geographers was instrumental in the weekend brainstorming that helped put this guide out there,” he said. “More than 1,000 people have downloaded the guide in the first 24 hours of it being posted; parts of it will certainly be adopted quickly.”

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