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Case study: How organisers pulled off the Women in Security Awards 2020

One way or another, the professional security community were going to celebrate the brilliant achievements of the females in the industry, they just had to navigate a pandemic to do it. Holly Patrick finds out how the Women in Security Awards 2020 remained as glitzy as ever, even behind a screen…

  • Client/brand name: Women in Security
  • Event organiser: Liz Lloyd
  • Event date: 10 February 2021
  • Event name: Women in Security Awards 2020
  • Number of delegates: Virtual event, 250 attended virtually and the awards are available to
  • Location: Virtual awards streamed live via The Belfry Live at The Belfry Hotel & Resort

The Women in Security Awards is an annual event run by The Professional Security Magazine to celebrate the accomplishments and talent of women working within the security industry.

The awards usually take place in September each year in a London venue however, due to the pandemic the 2020 awards were postponed to February 2021. The organisers planned a black-tie dinner and dance event but when new tiered restrictions came into place in December, they realised that an in-person event for 300 people in February would not be possible.

The organisers had read about The Belfry Live, The Belfry Hotel and Resort’s professional virtual meetings and events solution that allows organisations to connect live with audiences across the globe. They decided to opt for The Belfry Live to host their 2020 awards safely in line with government guidelines, with just two members of the event team attending the resort to present and stream the virtual awards.

The Belfry Live package provided the team with a suite of technology in the resort’s Woodlands Suite which included a 6m by 3m LED wall with full branding, HD cameras and a cameraman, lapel microphones, a teleprompter, and a PA system, all supported by an on-site team of technical experts.

As the awards were now virtual, the event organisers had to rethink how they could retain their sponsors while still delivering their return on investment as they would at an in-person awards ceremony. To give the same value, between each award sponsors were able to have a 30-second advert which was broadcast live and was also uploaded to YouTube, extending exposure for their sponsors. The setup of the awards with the LED branded backdrop created eye-catching images for social media and on the night the awards trended on Twitter.

Another challenge the team had to overcome was that each attendee is usually given a brochure at the event which lists the nominees however, due to Covid-19 this wasn’t possible. Instead, the nominations were read out before each award was presented which lengthened the awards compared to normal but was well received by the attendees.

Professional Security Magazine wanted to retain the whole ethos of the awards as a fun event to celebrate the women in the industry. Every attendee was sent a party hamper with sparkling wine and snacks to enjoy instead of the usual sit-down three-course dinner. This went down very well with the attendees as they were able to enjoy the evening and celebrate wins with their families around them. This also meant that the reaction from the winners was even better than in previous years as they had their family around them to cheer them on.

Despite the awards being the first virtual event they had ever hosted and taking the organisers completely out of their comfort zone, the 70-minute event was a huge success for the client and attendees. They were delighted with the seamless running, which created an engaging virtual event ensuring the awards were a successful and exciting celebration for all.

The Belfry offered a safe and secure environment for those visiting the resort. The Belfry has adapted and invested in new cleaning equipment to ensure they meet the highest standard cleaning procedures and protocols across all areas of the resort. It has been awarded the AIM secure accreditation and ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard and staff and guests have access to daily rapid testing.

“The Belfry team were great to work with. They made it a really fun experience for us and helped to allay most of our nerves. Everyone is commenting on how professional the production was and we have set the bar high for our competitors. I would thoroughly recommend using The Belfry’s facilities and look forward to a time when we can use the Belfry again in all its glory!” said Liz Lloyd, organiser of Security TWENTY Events and Women in Security Awards at Professional Security Magazine.

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