New Year, New Look, Limitless Possibilities
First of all: Happy New Year! We at PIRATEx wish you all the best for this upcoming year and hope that you encounter many great experiences. Be it online or offline. I’m excited to be back, and in 2021 I’ll keep bringing the latest developments & changes in the events world straight to your inbox. And the first change we’re making in 2021 concerns this very newsletter.
2020 gave us an unprecedented case of embarking into unknown waters. We learned a lot, and this spirit of exploration won’t stop in 2021.
As I’ve said previously in these mails, the events industry is evolving quicker than ever. It’s changing from a space where we have single events, several times a year in physical locations, to one where “events” are happening continuously. Everyone in the experience economy has to have both eyes on the latest developments and changes to not be missing out on opportunities.
Having your eyes out on the open and unpredictable sea was a key thing to do for pirates and it still is. It’s about exploring and keeping up the spirit of adventure – it’s about being on the lookout.
Stay tuned for the same content that I hope keeps delivering you value. As always, I greatly appreciate your feedback on the newsletter. Let me know what you think by replying to this, any thoughts and comments are very welcome!
My Online event resolutions for 2021
The changing of the calendar year is an encouragement for many to improve or work on problem areas. For full transparency, here are my 2021 new year’s resolutions:
Be more courageous.
Become more flexible.
While this might sound like resolutions to improve my yoga flow it’s actually a new perspective for online events. More specifically:
- Be more courageous by increasing the level of experimentation in the events we produce. We can only encourage our clients to test out new concepts if we’re brave enough to do them ourselves. Using our events as a test case to try out new concepts and technologies.
- Lose some excess weight by streamlining our project planning. I’ve been looking at all of these event platforms and the amount of planning software out there is really astounding. There are tools that we will try out in order to improve our processes and make them easier as the team, and the number of projects grows
- Become more flexible by building out the event tech stack. The number of event platforms out there continues to grow by the day. Of which every platform has its strengths and weaknesses. We’re constantly looking to grow the ones we use and to find out where we can optimize.
What do you think? Can I count on you to keep me more accountable?
Not to be missed:
A Globex view on the market: Finally, some hard facts and data on COVID’s impact on the event industry. New analysis indicates COVID’s cost on the 2020 exhibitions market led to a 69% drop from 2019 levels. AMR’s predictions for 2021 suggests an exhibition market that’s less positive than many might have hoped. Interesting in their analysis they don’t make much mention of the role that online events and exhibitions have played in the 2020 figures, and they don’t give much attempt to forecast 2021 either. But they bring in a dynamic that has forged in the industry– this growing division between “episodic” events and those that become 365 value creators. This has been one of the most outstanding parts of the pandemic.
Remember When 75 Percent of Events Industry Said It Would Be Back to Normal in This Quarter? Not Happening: At the end of 2020, the events industry was optimistic that things would get back to normal in 2021. But as COVID cases spike, that enthusiasm is shifting back to virtual events. Thankfully, there are more success cases than ever– and data that confirms how strategic online events can be for business outcomes. We’re glad to be a part of this important industry, as online events become more professionalized and actionable in this new year.
Virtual events came of age in 2020, but the future is hybrid: Really encompassing thought piece from VentureBeat that synthesizes many of the top players in the online event space. Some excellent quotes and takeaways here, but this suggestion from Hubilo’s CEO Vaibhav Jain matches most closely with what we’ve been seeing from our clients and stakeholders: “every company will have a virtual event strategy moving forward, regardless of what happens with physical events”. As soon as it’s safe to meet in person, hybrid will happen, but that seems like a long time yet (especially in Europe).
Imagine being blind and trying to attend a virtual event. Try that next time you stage one:This piece, written over the holiday period made a real impact on me. It really emphasized why it’s so important to design your online event from the attendee perspective– that includes understanding how you can make the experience frictionless for those with disabilities. It also made clear the barriers we might have to put ourselves in our attendees shoes– and this goes beyond disability. It’s up to event organizers to optimize each part of the attendee experience. We must work harder as organizers to truly understand where those pain points might be and where technology can alleviate them– not add to them.
Top event reads this week:
- Van Dusseldorp’s Future of events: Monique van Dusseldorp is an events veteran with a unique take on the future of the industry. She’s started a new newsletter that’s worth checking out!
- It’s Not How Hard You Get Hit…:The tradeshow industry has some warm predictions for 2021, suggesting further online events and a slow return to in-person shows.
- When Will In-Person Events Return?: Not anytime soon, and to push for in-person gatherings before a vaccine is widely available, would be irresponsible.
- Digital Storytelling Evolves: Eco-Innovators Pangaia Push The Envelope For Online Immersion: Cool read on how brands are pushing the experience economy into something that’s more immersive and personal. More events can learn from how to incorporate storytelling into their experiences.
- Carlo Chatrian on Splitting Berlin Film Festival’s 71st Edition into Virtual and Physical Events: the Berlinale Film festival is going Hybrid in 2021– both in terms of venue, and dates.
- German winners and losers of the COVID-19 pandemic: Messe Frankfurt singled out here for hosting 150 events this year, during the pandemic.
- Another Virtual Event? Not with the Spatial Web: Prepare your event for 3-D. For many people, the Web is flat. But not for much longer.
- Meetings Mean Business Launches Meet Safe Platform: US Industry coalition launches a new portal for event organizers to share experiences and know-how on producing COVID-safe events and experiences.
- Fi Europe Connect reports successful debut of virtual event: 15,400 connections, 6,300 conversations and over 8,800 meetings made Fi Europe’s virtual event a major success.
- For KC Crew, virtual events business is here to stay – Kansas City Business Journal: How a pretty unlikely company (adult recreational sports) pivoted successfully to online events during the pandemic.
That’s it for this edition of The Lookout!
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 remote, or digital events, let me know! I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions.
Don’t forget, you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter to always be updated on the news from the online event world!
And Happy New Year!
Thanks for reading!
The Lookout Newsletter #7
PIRATEx Managing Director