The pandemic has not ended events. It has evolved them. Here is this week’s news in the world of events, brought to you by the VEG.
Towards the Light: Holiday Cheer with VEG
December 22 | 3:00pm
December 21 marks the darkest day of the year. Then, magically things slowly turn towards the light. Mark your calendars for our Towards the Light Shindig on December 22 at 3:00pm. Hosted by Shindig’s Steve Gottleib and the VEG Group, we’ll bring the music, trivia, stories and a toast to all things virtual. Mark your calendars. We’ll be sending out invites shortly.
Ben Hindman Makes a Splash
In our last meeting of the VEG, we got to meet Ben Hindman, CEO of Splash, a platform for creating mouthwateringly good digital invites, collecting RSVPs and making check-ins fun. Hindman mapped out the world of digital events in the most succinct, intelligent and rapid fire way possible. If you missed the meeting, you can watch it here. Make sure to take notes as Ben maps out the pieces of the virtual events puzzle.

And if you missed Hindman’s rapid fire overview of Zoomtopia’s news, you can watch that, too. We’re dubbing him the Knight in Shining Armor for making us feel like the world of virtual events is not an impenetrable moat.
Endless Events Offers Endless Advice
Will Curran is another guy who knows how to throw a virtual party. Named one of the 40 under 40 event industry leaders, his company, Endless Events, tackles thorny issues like live vs pre-recorded and what the hell we do when hybrid events become the norm.
Reasons for Frustration
At a recent webinar on the State of Virtual Events, Julius Solaris, Editor of Skift’s Event Marketer and Corey McCarthy, CMO of Socio, showed virtual events’ pain points.

A Grim Analysis
The business of events is filled with December doom and gloom. Dr. Fauci’s latest “time to recovery” estimates, even with a vaccine, are long. Bill Gates expects that the travel industry is not ever going back to the way things were. And events platforms are scurrying to gather enough data to make intelligent predictions.
As of May 2020, industry experts predicted that among the 82% of shows that have been postponed since the onset of Covid-19, half would eventually be permanently canceled. Looking ahead to the rest of the year, AMR International forecasts a 60% contraction in the global exhibitions market by the end of 2020. Yikes!

How do we see our way out of this fine mess? The bright side seems to be anywhere but here in the US. And it’s especially brighter in Asia, where live events are queuing up. A report compiled by Skift and The Venetian details a plan for safely opening event venues again. Freeman also weighs on on when and how we’ll reopen with a focus on how to develop a post-COVID sensibility. It’s looking like most eyes are on Fall of 2021.
And Bizzabo‘s Evolution of Events Report analyzes responses from nearly 400 event marketing professionals in mid-senior level positions, and it paints a picture of a world in transition. Some findings:
  • 97% of respondents expect to see more hybrid events moving forward
  • 82% of respondents plan to wait until 2021 or later before resuming in-person events
  • 76% of respondents have never hosted a hybrid event before
Bottom Line: While IRL events continue to be a clusterf**k, it’s been a knockout year for the virtual world. Intrado’s latest findings:
  • Total number of webcasts and virtual events increased by over 360%
  • Over 1.8 billion minutes of webcasts and virtual events were viewed on Intrado’s platform, a 350% increase from 2019
  • 995% growth in gamification with over 1.3 million games played on Intrado’s platform
  • 472% year-over-year increase of in-booth visits during virtual events
Veggie Slices: News from Across the Sphere
Are we so hungry for new connections that we’ll pay? LinkUpConferenceShow promises 100 connections for $150. It uses an algorithm to predict your best matches. And it comes with a comedy show where presumably you won’t be laughed at by the fact you just paid a buck fifty for a new contact.

Did you hear the one about the chess set shortage for the holidays, thanks to the popularity of Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit?” I’ll trade my rook for your toilet paper.
At our last meeting, Alfred Poor, a VEG Board of Advisor, asked for a simple photo booth application for virtual events. This one’s for you (and him). Virtual Photo Booth.
Gaming Your Next Event
If you’re a terrible gamer and a terrible virtual events planner, you can throw caution to the wind and host your next event in an online gaming world. Roblox recent concert with an animated (in every sense of the word) Lil Nas hosted 4 shows with 33 million viewers tuning in to watch (Roblox is prepping for an IPO). Online community platforms like Discord and Twitch are also filling their calendars with virtual events.
Welcome News
I’m not keen on companies whose names confuse me, nor on websites that offer little but eyecandy. That said, feast your holiday eyes on Welcome, a new platform for virtual events that features slick camera effects, overlays and even photo booths. More than other virtual platforms, it takes its cue from interactive TV and not live events. Green rooms, audience participation and easily mixable pre-recorded and live coverage are a few of its hallmarks. Welcome to the world, Welcome.
Professor Poor’s Platform Picker
Each month we’ll bring you an indepth look at a virtual events platform, focusing on its standout features. This month it’s 6Connext.
It’s a good year to spare a turkey, store up the hugs and food fests for 2021, give thanks and try to do a good deed or two in these crazy-ass times. Have a great holiday.
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About Us
Got a real tip on a virtual event? We’d love to hear from you. contact Robin Raskin,
Founder, Solving For Tech
201.564.7900 | 917.215.3160 | @robinr