Uber Eats makes meals real at virtual events
Events companies moved super-fast to transform in-person occasions into virtual events when the pandemic hit – and successful Australian-based business Encanta Event Management looked to Uber Eats to deliver on the tangible experience event attendees typically expect.
Sponsored breakfasts, lunches and dinners are staples at annual conferences and event series run by professional and special interest associations, the niche in which Encanta mainly operates and has built its strong reputation.
How do you replicate these convivial occasions and serve up a meal when events are virtual and delegates are located Australia-wide or even in other countries? This dilemma faced the Encanta team as it worked its way through countless challenges over the past 18 months, explains Jade Riolo, Encanta’s Director of Events, West Coast.
“When it came to delivering what’s traditionally been a two- or three-day conference virtually or as a hybrid event where some people attend in person and others via a device, we had to completely rethink what that meant for delegates, presenters, sponsors and exhibitors,” Riolo says.
The annual conference is a major revenue driver for many associations, she points out, and there was a broad perception that virtual events were free. So, what would drive people to still register and pay to attend?
As the Encanta team tossed up how to create more engaging virtual and hybrid events, it looked to provide new and unique experiences, and Riolo and colleagues realised Uber Eats Vouchers offered a real – and delicious – way to serve up benefits for delegates.
The real meal deal
The need to switch to virtual-only events in 2020 was imperative, but as nationwide restrictions gave way to on-again, off-again lockdowns called by different states at very short notice, a flexible approach was required to keep events rolling.
A case in point was CORE2021, the three-day Conference on Railway Excellence held at Perth’s Convention Centre from June 21.
“Our clients love Uber Eats Vouchers. Feedback shows they lead to greater delegate satisfaction and improve the overall event experience. They also justify the cost for a three-day virtual event.”Jade Riolo, Director of Events, Encanta
“Just a few weeks before CORE, the vast majority of 600 delegates had accepted to attend in person,” says Riolo. “First, Victoria announced a snap lockdown requiring about 60 delegates to cancel their travel plans and transfer to virtual attendance. Then, just days ahead of the conference, NSW had an outbreak and called a lockdown, soon followed by parts of Queensland.”
The upshot? Some 120 delegates had to go virtual and fast. Rather than let them miss the big conference dinner and awards presentation on the final evening, the Encanta team got busy on the Uber for Business platform issuing $50 Uber Eats Vouchers to encourage far-away delegates to live stream the festivities and enjoy a meal as they watched industry leaders collect their awards.
A highly popular option, 79 people took up the offer. “They weren’t missing out and they really appreciated it,” Riolo reports. What’s more, it was an all-round winner.