The global pandemic has changed the way businesses conduct events. Business travel is the core of the events industry and when the pandemic broke out and lockdowns were put in place, everything came to a halt. But as with many other businesses, the events industry has gradually adapted to the new normal.
Be++ featured Ali Lord, CEO of HeadBox Australia, an event-tech company that was originally from the UK and has now expanded across Europe and Australia. We talked about how HeadBox aims to reinvent the global events industry through technology and digital transformation, how the events industry has pivoted during the pandemic, and what the future holds for businesses at large.
Ali Lord started out as a HeadBox client herself on the corporate side for about three and a half years. HeadBox provided her with the right resources that she needed at the time and after having her interest piqued with the tech HeadBox had to offer, Ali decided to partner with the company, which is what led to the launch of HeadBox Australia in 2019. However, soon after, COVID-19 broke out and business events including live events, conferences, and business travel were put to an absolute standstill. Many businesses including HeadBox had to re-think its proposition and the way it operates in order to survive.
Fortunately, Ali and the rest of the HeadBox team were agile and quick to act. With live events getting canceled left and right, HeadBox had decided to change to shift into doing virtual events.
The transition wasn’t easy. Virtual events were a nice touchpoint for HeadBox, but this solution came out as completely foreign at first to their client-base. HeadBox had to re-shift their events calendar for the rest of 2020. But after a month or two and with everyone already getting the rhythm of working from home, their team adapted to the new normal. HeadBox rolled out their virtual and hybrid event offerings and even managed to hit their third-largest revenue in the history of the company during October 2020.
HeadBox provides an ecosystem of proprietary software that streamlines processes to secure an end-to-end booking process for businesses and events. Whether you’re a booker or a business, HeadBox can connect you with the perfect venue for your meeting or conference, may it be off-site or in-person.
For businesses, HeadBox offers a Saas product that allows them to organize their events agenda for one whole year. This software streamlines contract and payment processes and gives businesses the right visibility and control so they can monitor all of their events programs. Headbox’s software provides them intelligent insights, reporting, and data consolidation. This feature lets them see their ROI instantly so they can make significant savings on their annual event spend and see the efficiencies that they need to improve on.
For hosts, HeadBox has a subscription-based platform that helps them generate more leads and reach proactive inquiries. Aside from this AI-powered tech, HeadBox also provides an excellent accounts management team for large events, which adds a nice human touch to their high-quality services.
Technology has been progressively reinventing the events industry space for quite a while now and it will only continue to do so. When asked about the future of business events, Ali is positive that despite our current circumstances, people will manage to bounce back and eventually back to doing live events where face-to-face interactions remain to be its heart and soul.
Events remain to be critical to a company’s success. It’s the perfect avenue for them to reach out to other businesses and to build long-lasting relationships. Ali believes that the future of the industry lies in hybrid solutions, where clients will have the option to pick between doing virtual events and live ones.
While virtual meetings provide an efficient and agile solution for clients in our current pandemic-stricken world, there is still much to be said about conducting business in person. People will always crave for face to face experience, where the human experience is much richer and more personal. The key is to find the balance in evolving along with tech and adding a good touch of human conversations.
Abhii Dabas is an active member of the tech community, and through his companies (including Webpuppies), he conducts outreach programs across different universities with a focus on entrepreneurship. Over the past months, he has already trained over 1,000 university students to help them prepare to join the workforce.
Ali Lord is the CEO of HeadBox Australia, an event-tech company that aims to unlock brilliant events through human-kind tech. Ali is currently based in Brisbane, Australia.