VEG’ers are not just sitting around twiddling their digits. The pandemic has not ended events. Instead, and very quickly, it has evolved them. Here is this week’s news in the world of events, brought to you by the VEG.
February 25 | 3PM EST
Next VEG Group Meetup

This is seriously your last chance to join our Feb 25th meeting at 3 PM EST. RSVP here to VEG with us tomorrow.

March 25, 2021 | 3:00pm
Up Next:
Bob Preist-Heck has had one heck of a career as the CEO of Freeman, and one helluva a year shepherding his team, clients and the industry through the pandemic as the leader of one of the world’s largest events company. Bob will be doing an Ask Me Anything session at our March 25th meeting. I’ll interview Bob and then he’ll take questions from the audience so start making your lists.
Room Service? I’d like a Virtual Event

Put this on the list of things that should have been done a long time ago, but were accelerated by the pandemic. Hotels that host conferences will now be able to broadcast them on location, too. With the shift to more intimate in-person events that have large virtual components, hotel chains including Accor, Marriott, Hilton, and The Four Seasons in Silicon Valley is getting into the production business. Accor hotels are teaming with Microsoft Teams by 2022. Marriott has launched a Connect with Confidence program. Hilton's new EventReady Hybrid Solutions tout clean/safe in-person facilities coupled with hybrid-ready hotels with the ability to live stream. Hyatt has a number of virtual streaming options as well. We expect to see production sites popping up like whack-a-moles in shopping malls and unused office space as well. Back in real life, Caesar’s Palace’s Convention Center in Vegas never really opened.  Now it will.

Gamers Play for High Stakes

The pandemic proved to be fantastic for gaming sales (up 13%) and gaming scandals (Gamespot). Not so much for traditional gaming shows like E3. Last June’s E3 event was canceled. This year it’s set to be an online event. According to sources, all that’s been announced is an awards dinner and some keynote speeches. That didn’t please former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé who said a digital E3 that wouldn't offer hands-on with the games and didn’t "sound all that compelling." The message to ESA, creators of E3 is clear. Attendees will demand an experiential hands-on show. 

Smaller, more nimble players have an opportunity to fill the void. Last summer, Geoff Keighley hosted a 4 month long Summer Game Fest on Twitch. It featured a blend of free-play, breaking gaming news, and in-game events. Adding salt to the wound, the Fest took place the same week as E3 was to start. This may turn out to be a textbook case of the David/Goliath reset on events.

Another event  on our watch list is MWC in Barcelona. Last year MWC was one of the first conferences that canceled. But, they pulled the trigger only after major brands like LG, ZTE, Sony, and Amazon pulled out of the venue. This year MWC is  bullishly moving forward with plans for onsite testing, mask-wearing  at an in person event. Eyebrows raised,  for the second time around. 

  • Trade Shows, The Ugly Stepchild
    Event Manager puts the Pollyanna aside and takes a good look at why trade shows are the stepchild of virtual events. 

    If job fairs are your thing watch the Smart Kitchen Summit as a model for how to reskill workers for next-gen jobs. 

  • Taxing Questions 
    How do you pay sales tax for a booth in a virtual space? If you want the short answer look at Ask Alfred on our website this week. For a long answer (that basically says the same thing) look at Successful Meetings’s article.

  • A new meme for you
    Check out the growing number of quiet rooms in Clubhouse by reading through this Reddit chat, or find out about quiet rooms in China’s Clubhouse.. Like Amtrak’s famous quiet car, the point here is the silence of the group.

  • Skittish Makes Events More Game Like
    The newest kid on the event platform block comes with a pedigree. Andy Baio, co-founder of the XOXO festival revealed Skittish, a complete online world for virtual events. Sort of what would happen if you crossed Second Life with Burning Man. Stay tuned.

  • China Creates Events that Sell 
    Watch how China deftly mixes shopping and virtual events with clever live streaming e-commerce. It's an over $150 billion industry in China that the world is rushing to copy, and the state just signaled it's all in by inviting the country's top streamer onto its top annual television event, as Zeyi Yang explains. Those looking to monetize events elsewhere should take note. 
Feel the need to stay up on the virtual events scene but have a few other to-dos on your list?
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Send any tips and thoughts you have about virtual events. contact Robin Raskin,
Founder, Solving For Tech
201.564.7900 | 917.215.3160 | @robinr