A pandemic isn’t stopping pest management industry associations and organizations from holding their regularly scheduled events this year. And it shouldn’t stop you from participating.
“We understand it’s not the same as face-to-face, and we wish we could all be together,” says Alexis Wirtz, CMP, about the Oct. 13-15 virtual version of the National Pest Management Association’s (NPMA’s) PestWorld 2020. “But we feel it provides a really valuable experience and a way to connect with one another, which I think we’re all looking for.”
Wirtz, the NPMA’s senior VP of Meetings and Association Management Services, notes the PestWorld 2020 virtual platform will give attendees the impression they are at a conference; they will see a lobby area, meeting rooms, an auditorium, and booths that resemble the real things, thanks to real-life graphics.
“One of our staff members compares it to entering a video game,” she says. “It feels like so much more than viewing a webpage.”
Another benefit is on-demand content. Attendees will have access to the 20 live sessions in the virtual platform through the end of October, and nearly 50 educational sessions on demand until Dec. 31.
“Attendees have the ability to go back long after the three days of PestWorld and get additional continuing education units on demand,” says Wirtz.
Virtual events are cost-effective, too. There’s no need to pay for airfare, hotels or high-priced meals in big cities. Plus, travel time is limited to an office commute or the number of steps to a desktop, laptop or mobile device, so attendees won’t spend as much valuable time away from work as they would if they had to travel to an in-person event. As a result, it’s a great opportunity for companies to send more, instead of fewer, employees — where they can make business connections.
“We’re incorporating a number of different networking opportunities so folks can virtually see one another and interact and have a cup of coffee together in the morning,” she says. “Even though they’re at their home or office computer, that doesn’t mean they’re not going to see other people.”
A “fun zone” with links to virtual tours of Nashville, Tenn. — where the event was supposed to take place — as well as trivia and games will give attendees an opportunity to take a break.
“We want to make PestWorld 2020 very entertaining, interactive, and engaging for our members,” says Wirtz.