What Can ‘Petrol-Heads’ Tell Us About Events in Spring 2022?
Events are back. For anyone hesitant about the return of in-person events (despite high covid infection numbers, event staff shortages, instability with suppliers, possible new energy rationing, etc…) you’d struggle to find a more positive sign than last week’s Techno Classica in Essen. After two years, one of the world’s largest gatherings for automotive enthusiasts filled all halls at Messe Essen to capacity with 150,000 visitors from 46 different countries, 1,000 exhibitors, and of course, 2,700 collector cars. And the digital side, if you weren’t up to traveling to Essen? Well, let’s say that you just had to be there. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
With the strong return of physical events, it doesn’t mean it’s time to toss out your digital plans. Far from it. It’s time to apply those digital components in smart and creative ways, using them to improve accessibility and connect with new audiences, especially the younger generation. Consider the case of US-based classic car exhibition and auction, Barrett-Jackson, who were early to livestream and digitize their events on the internet way back in 1995. Barrett-Jackson’s digital strategy has continued to complement their physical events and further grow their audience. In January, Barrett-Jackson welcomed 300,000+ visitors in-person to their flagship event, but those numbers were dwarfed by the 15.3 million viewers who tuned in online and on the TV thanks to the 38+ hours of live broadcast coverage.
But the show doesn’t end when the event concludes. Each day, tens of thousands of viewers turn to Barrett-Jackson’s livestream replays on their YouTube channel, where their content has been viewed an additional 15 million times. Unfortunately, classic car enthusiasts looking to catch up on what happened at Techno-Classica last week might be disappointed. There’s no secret to Barrett-Jackson’s digital success. Just a conscious approach to making their events accessible to a wider audience. The investment in sharing their event digitally does not come at the expense of their physical event. It only makes their impact even bigger.
As your events return in person this spring, consider how you can retain some of the lessons learned from going digital over the past pandemic years. Keep challenging yourself to incorporate more digital elements into your physical formats, and strive for ways to make your events even more accessible.
There’s no reason why your 150,000 visitors couldn’t become 15 million.
Here’s what I’ve been catching up on this week:
The Event Industry:
- „Neustart“-Programm infolge der Coronakrise: Berliner Senat will Wirtschaft und Kultur mit 330 Millionen Euro anschieben [Tagesspiegel] Berlin’s Senate has contributed a significant portion of it’s New Start program funds to support the local event industry’s recovery. Several initiatives are planned including a new event series “Meetings of Tomorrow” and Bestival, a summer gathering for event professionals.
- 54% of people say they’re now happy to take part in physical events [UK Fundraising] Physical events are back for a growing majority of attendees, according to some recent surveys in the UK. As mask mandates subside, more and more attendees are feeling more confident to return to physical events.
- Planners are embracing diverse event formats, says Cvent [Conference News] Coverage of Cvent’s latest European Sourcing report finds that event planners are more enthusiastic about physical events, with 70% of respondents saying that in-person events will make up the majority of their event programs for the year ahead. While returning to physical, planners are also looking for more adaptive formats and thus venues that can accommodate different types of event concepts. Check out the full report here.
- Cisco makes key holistic meetings move with Webex Events launch [Exhibition World] Cisco Webex’s Socio event management platform is now Webex events. Socio, acquired last year, has become a key component in Cisco’s strategy to transition to hybrid events. Across the industry, event technology companies are transitioning to shift event experiences away from contained experiences towards frequent venues of interaction. #
How to do it:
- VAT and the Metaverse—Taxing Virtual Events [Bloomberg] There’s a lot that’s not so straightforward when it comes to running events in the metaverse, least of all when it comes to accounting. How can you ensure that what happens in a virtual world can be properly accounted for in the physical one? As organizers know well, EU VAT Law does not define “event”, so when it comes to digital services in the metaverse, there’s an even bigger grey area. This piece examines some of the pitfalls and challenges when it comes to the tax treatment of events, and suggests some ways organizers can ensure they are operating legally.
- 5 Ways to Successfully Integrate Digital Elements into Your Physical Events [PIRATEx] As events return in person, there are lots of ways you can creatively enhance your events using digital features. This piece explores some of the smart ways you can incorporate technology into your physical events, without it becoming a distraction or hindrance.
- Pinterest’s Tips for Accessibility and Inclusion at Events [BizBash] Inclusive events aren’t an accident, they are created by design. Here are some top tips and suggestions from Sean Doyle, who heads experience marketing at Pinterest, the global inspiration platform that draws 400 million visitors each month.
- 6 Tipps für Nachhaltige Events [PIRATEx] April is the beginning of Sustainability month as we celebrate Earth Day and recognize the importance of lowering our impact on the planet. Your events are no exception. Here are six quick ways you can begin incorporating sustainable practices into your events.
Don’t miss it:
- How Hollywood and streaming series are revolutionizing virtual events [Martech] Experience designers Little Cinema are known for their creative film premieres. But they’ve now turned their hand to creating virtual and hybrid experiences for Hollywood, and the results are rewriting everything you might have thought when it comes to digital events. Have a look at some of the lessons from their virtual premieres, and how you can expand the digital reach of your events through some creative marketing.
- 6 Most Important Features of a Virtual Event Platform in 2022 [PIRATEx] There are now more choices for event technology than ever before. Choosing the right platform can certainly be a headache. Help narrow down your alternatives by focusing on these key features, chosen for their impact on your attendee experience.
- Could Hybrid Music Events Be Next Post-Pandemic Trend? [Cnet] Despite the question in this article’s title, I don’t think there is much of a question posed with this piece– hybrid music events are definitely here to stay. We’ve seen considerable growth in how people are connecting with musical events over the past two years that has been facilitated by digital platforms. For event professionals, encouraging a digital component at your next in person music event is a must.
- 10 Event Marketing Tipps zur Steigerung der Reichweite deiner Veranstaltung [PIRATEx] With a crowded event calendar coming up, how to stand out from the crowd? Digital has changed the game when it comes to event marketing. Here are some quick ways to stand out from the competition, and to let your message make an impact despite a very busy summer event season.
That’s all for this edition of The Lookout! If you’re looking for some more great content, don’t miss the PIRATEx Event Resources Hub. If you’d like to be featured here, just reach out!
In the meantime, let’s stay connected if we’re not already on Linkedin or follow the PIRATEx team on Twitter. If there’s anything you would like to read about when it comes to online, or digital events, let me know! I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions.
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See you in 2 weeks!
The Lookout Newsletter #58
PIRATEx Managing Director