The Lookout #45: Revisiting our 2021 Events Predictions
We’re now well into the beginning of Q4 and the news from the industry this week has me reminiscing about this point in time last year. It was around this time last year when we began to put together some of the predictions of what we could expect for 2021. At that time, the pandemic was in full swing. Vaccinations were still months away. But thanks to some heroic vaccine and testing efforts (with a lot of support from the event industry itself) large-scale events are back and running.
This week, Anuga is meeting in Cologne, Fakuma is live in Friedrichshafen, and last week’s VISION show in Stuttgart reported a resounding success. Over in the U.S.,150,000 visitors were welcomed to New York’s Comic Con.
The return to large-scale in-person events wasn’t something that I felt comfortable adding to my predictions list at this time last year. But other predictions we made back then are bearing out:
- Event tech companies will continue to raise more investment as technology becomes a bigger and bigger part of the event experience. Before the year is out we’ll do a deep dive into the investment into event tech over the last year, but each week in this newsletter we’ve seen the growth in new companies and the amount of investment that has gone into them (check out the new deals into Hubilo, Buzzcast and Party Space to name a few this week). It’s given organizers more and more choice but has also created a ton of complications when it comes to choosing a provider as well as concerns about attendee data ownership/privacy.
- Consolidation of event tech brands and new partnerships. Just as we’ve seen a mushrooming of event tech brands over the last year (and more marketing tech companies getting into the events game) acquisitions have been on the rise, and partnerships between companies have continued to populate the ecosystem, providing more collaborative opportunities than ever before. This week we see the acquisition of Bright Group, Evvent’s new partnership, and Folloze building their own event brand.
- Brands build their own events, rather than waiting for organizers to produce them. The development of new entrants to the event organizer landscape is something that we really imagined would take off in 2021, and brands have become more creative than ever when it comes to developing experiences for their audiences. These are increasingly digital, as we’ve seen with the recent Apple event, or becoming fully virtual experiences, as shared by Welbilt in their virtual event experience in the news this week. Event organizers are transitioning too.
It’s too soon to close the chapter on 2021 just yet. There is still a lot I’m waiting to see from the industry, such as a really successful hybrid event concept, as well as an event that effectively creates a digital experience that bridges the best of the market floor space of a trade show [if you have a great example, I’d love to see it!]. There’s a lot of fertile ground for the industry as it moves towards its next phase.
In the meantime, here are some of the key innovations and changes that have taken place this week:
- Party Space raises $1M for metaverse-style virtual events [VentureBeat] The metaverse is coming for virtual events and eventtech provider Party Space is here for it. The company has announced their latest investment designed to scale their platform which combines corporate and client events with a gaming atmosphere.
- Virtual Events Platform BuzzCast Closes $4.35 Million In Seed Funding [Pulse2] Eventtech platform BuzzCast has recently emerged from “stealth mode” and announces this latest funding raise to integrate NFTs into premium virtual events. The company has already produced events for a number of top brands such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Uber.
- Virtual Events Platform Hubilo Raises $125M Series B [Pymnts] San Francisco’s Hubilo announces another large raise as it works to scale its solution globally. The company is looking to build new sales offices in key locations with the latest funding round.
- Folloze Launches Live Events [Destination CRM] B2B Buyer experience platform Folloze launches a new event tech solution. This is just another example of how Martech companies from across the landscape are incorporating event tech solutions into their existing product offerings.
- Event Tech Check: 8 New Technology Updates We’re Excited About This Month [BizBash] We really like BizBash’s regular rundown of new eventtech features and developments. In this installment, they share updates to Swapcard’s handheld app, Interprefy’s live captioning abilities and more.
The Events Industry:
- NEP Group Signs Agreement to Acquire Live Events Supplier Bright Group in Northern Europe [News Wire] Finland’sLive event supplier Bright Group is acquired by NEP to support expansion into Northern Europe. NEP is a US-based international production company working internationally to provide teleproduction services for major events.
- When Vaccination Isn’t Enough [MeetingsNet] Delves into some of the choices event professionals are making when it comes to requiring negative COVID tests for event entry into events. Here, organizers are getting creative with outdoor events, mask requirements and testing certificates in an effort to keep in-person events on the calendar as the pandemic continues.
- Are Trade Shows Still Worth Attending for Independent Product Developers? [Entrepreneur] A view from inside the trade show floor at InterZoo and a few other shows demonstrates that for some segments, attending even smaller trade shows during the pandemic can have a big payoff. The upsides? Smaller crowds make it easier to speak to people and you feel less rushed in meeting others.
- 8 in 10 planners across the UK and Europe are sourcing in-person events with nearly half organising hybrid events [Travel Daily] According to a new survey by eventtech provider Cvent, finds a majority of event organizers are planning in-person events for the upcoming year, and 46% of those are planning hybrid events.
How to do it:
- Five Must-Haves for Virtual and Hybrid Event Success [Trade Show News] Over the last year, the success factors for events have continually been re-written. Success has always been dependent on building human connections, but the way this is facilitated in hybrid and remote events has changed. In 2022, expect to create more intimate experiences and providing more engagement features for your online attendees.
- See How Other Event Pros Are Tackling Corporate Holiday Parties in 2021 [BizBash] Virtual holiday celebrations were a big part of 2020’s year-end events. Things look decidedly different this year, thanks to mass vaccinations and a desire to return to physical.
Don’t Miss it:
- SoWork just convinced investors (and Tinder) that virtual co-working is here to stay [TechCrunch] Another example of how virtual events and virtual offices begin to collide with the launch of SoWork, another virtual office setup similar to Gatherly and Teamflow.
- AstraZeneca and Slush launch virtual events to help startups [Mobihealth News] Why this is interesting– it shows more how corporates are getting into online events to connect directly with their stakeholders (in this case, patients)– and demonstrates how event companies (Slush) are increasingly turning to the partnership/agency model to help brands communicate effectively through events.
- Welbilt creates virtual event to showcase portfolio breadth [Catering Insight] Catering Equipment manufacturer Welbilt showcases their own virtual expo, highlighting their products and processes in an entirely virtual space where attendees can mingle and explore. It’s a great example of how brands are developing their own event concepts and going directly to the consumer.
That’s all for this week’s edition of The Lookout!
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Until next Friday!