Experience Creators You Should Know - Gautam Kumar, Boston Consulting Group

Gautam Kumar, of Boston Consulting Group, discusses how he honed his skills over the pandemic to now be in position to overcome the challenges that the new meetings/events landscape brings.



This post is part of the HopSkip Planner Spotlight Series where HopSkip spotlights planners across the industry to bring awareness of how they adapted to COVID-19, communicating and lessons learned and sharing how they are viewing the meetings and events industry in a post-pandemic world. 


Name: Gautam Kumar

Company Name: Boston Consulting Group

Job Title: Senior IT Meetings and Events Tech Specialist

Years of Experience: 6

How did you get your start in the events industry? What made you pursue this role?
I’d say it was a happy accident. I started my career as a digital marketing consultant. While working for a client’s event, I got to know about event execution & management. Later, I got an opportunity to join as a coordinator (event & marketing), which involved speakers & delegate management, sponsor management, and event registration marketing. Moving ahead, what I liked about the role was:-Thriving into the virtual landscape-Global reach and accessibility-Creativity with Innovation-Rich data insights 
How would you describe your role or responsibilities as a professional event planner?
As a virtual event planner, my roles and responsibilities include:
Event Strategy and Planning: I work closely with clients or stakeholders to understand their objectives and goals for the virtual event. I develop an event strategy that aligns with their vision and ensure all necessary components are considered, such as event format, duration, target audience, and technology requirements.
Event Platform Selection and Setup: I research and recommend suitable virtual event platforms that meet the specific requirements of the event. This includes features like live streaming, chat functions, interactive tools, and networking capabilities. I coordinate the setup and configuration of the platform, ensuring a smooth user experience for participants.
Technical Support and Troubleshooting: During the event, I oversee technical aspects, such as audio and video quality, live streaming, and participant support. I work closely with the technical team to address any technical issues promptly and ensure a seamless virtual experience for all attendees.
Participant Engagement and Interaction: I design and implement strategies to enhance participant engagement and interaction during the virtual event. This includes incorporating interactive elements like live polls, Q&A sessions, chat rooms, and gamification elements to keep attendees actively involved and connected.
Post-event Evaluation and Reporting: After the event, I analyze data and feedback to evaluate the event's success and identify areas for improvement. I prepare post-event reports, including metrics such as attendance, engagement levels, participant feedback, and return on investment (ROI), to provide insights for future events.
Stay Updated with Industry Trends: As a virtual event planner, it is crucial to stay updated with the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in the field. I continuously research and explore new tools, platforms, and strategies to deliver innovative and impactful virtual events.
Are there any key lessons or insights that have shaped your approach to event planning over the years?
Certainly! Virtual event planning has its unique considerations and challenges. Here are some key lessons and insights that have shaped my approach to virtual event planning over the years:
Technology Selection: Choosing the right technology platform is crucial for a seamless virtual event experience. Evaluating various platforms, and considering their features, user-friendliness, and reliability, helps ensure smooth event execution and attendee engagement.
Engaging Content and Interactivity: Virtual events require captivating content and interactive elements to keep attendees engaged. Incorporating live polls, Q&A sessions, breakout rooms, and interactive presentations enhances participation and creates a dynamic virtual environment.
Simplicity and User-Friendliness: Keeping the virtual event interface simple and intuitive is vital. Attendees should be able to navigate easily, access information, and participate in sessions without confusion. Minimizing technical barriers helps maximize attendee satisfaction.
Pre-event Communication and Preparation: Clear and timely communication with attendees, speakers, and sponsors is crucial in virtual event planning. Providing detailed instructions, technical support, and pre-event resources ensures that everyone is well-prepared and familiar with the virtual event platform.
Post-event Engagement and Follow-up: The event experience shouldn't end with the closing session. Engaging attendees post-event through surveys, follow-up emails, and virtual networking opportunities helps maintain connections, gather feedback, and build lasting relationships.
Data Analytics and Measurement: Virtual events provide an abundance of data and analytics. Leveraging this information helps measure the event's success, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions for future virtual events.
Accessibility and Inclusivity: Virtual events offer the opportunity to create accessible and inclusive experiences. Providing closed captioning, sign language interpretation, and ensuring compatibility with assistive technologies allow attendees with diverse needs to participate fully. These lessons and insights have shaped my approach to virtual event planning, enabling me to create engaging, user-friendly, and successful virtual experiences that meet the needs and expectations of attendees in the digital realm.
Due to the pandemic, our events community had to evolve, adapt, and grow. Many planners started to embrace new technologies as a result of the pandemic. What new tech are you using today in your planning process as a result?
As a virtual event specialist, I have embraced several new technologies in my planning process as a result of the pandemic. Here are some of the key technologies I use today:
Virtual Event Platforms: I utilize advanced virtual event platforms that provide comprehensive features for hosting virtual events like ZOOM, Webex, Zuddl, 6Connex, and others. These platforms offer interactive session management, networking tools, attendee engagement features, and analytics to enhance the virtual event experience.
Live Streaming and Webinar Tools: Live streaming platforms and webinar tools like ZOOM Webinar & ZOOM Events allow me to broadcast keynote speeches, panel discussions, and presentations in real-time. These tools often come with interactive features like chat, Q&A, and polling, enabling audience engagement during the live sessions.
Virtual Networking and Collaboration Tools: Virtual networking tools facilitate attendee interaction, allowing participants to connect with one another through chat functions, breakout rooms, and virtual meetups. These tools simulate the networking experience of physical events and foster meaningful connections.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Chatbots: AI-powered chatbots offer automated support and assistance to attendees by answering frequently asked questions, providing event information, and guiding participants through the virtual event experience. This technology improves efficiency and enhances attendee satisfaction.
By embracing these new technologies, I can create engaging, interactive, and immersive virtual event experiences that cater to the evolving needs of the events community in the post-pandemic era.
Since education and relationships are two major pillars in the meetings and events industry, any suggestions on how other planners can learn and network with their peers across the industry?
Absolutely! Here are some suggestions on how planners can learn and network with their peers across the meetings and events industry:
Attend Industry Conferences and Events: Participate in industry conferences, trade shows, and networking events. These gatherings provide opportunities to learn from industry experts through educational sessions and panel discussions, as well as connect with fellow planners in a face-to-face setting.
Engage in Online Communities and Forums: Join online platforms, forums, and social media groups focused on event planning. Engaging in these communities allows you to ask questions, share knowledge, and learn from the experiences of other industry professionals. LinkedIn groups, Facebook communities, and specialized event planning forums can be excellent resources.
Seek Mentors and Peer-to-Peer Learning: Identify experienced event planners who can serve as mentors or industry guides. Reach out to them for advice, attend their workshops, or participate in mentorship programs. Additionally, consider forming peer groups or mastermind groups with fellow planners where you can regularly meet, share challenges, and exchange ideas.
Continuous Professional Development: Stay updated with industry trends, best practices, and emerging technologies through continuous professional development. Attend workshops, online courses, and certifications relevant to event planning. Learning and enhancing your skill set will not only improve your capabilities but also open doors for networking and collaboration.
Building relationships and learning from peers is an ongoing process. Actively seek opportunities to engage, share knowledge, and contribute to the community. By connecting with other planners and industry professionals, you can foster meaningful relationships, gain valuable insights, and stay at the forefront of the ever-evolving events industry.
This post is part of the HopSkip Planner Spotlight Series where HopSkip spotlights planners across the industry to bring awareness of how they adapted to COVID-19, communicating and lessons learned and sharing how they are viewing the meetings and events industry in a post-pandemic w,orld. 

Stay up to date on the latest insights across the meetings and events industry

Stay ahead of the curve with the latest trends and insights in the meetings and events industry.