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Taking the "event" out of the Event - Virtual Event Planning

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

The world is spinning and it doesn't appear to be slowing anytime soon. As each industry is buzzing to find its unique new default setting, we are learning that our biggest value is likely in responding creatively in the face of uncertainty.

Of all the industries that have been turned upside down - the event industry (trade shows, meetings, conventions, fundraising, social events) is near the top of the list and estimated to be valued at $325 billion annually (in the US alone). With an estimated two million events planned in 2020, event strategists and convention planners have been busy responding - usually in one of three ways:

1. Canceling or Postponing the Event 2. Re-Engineering a Hybrid Physically Distanced Event Experience 3. Converting to a Virtual Event Model Social events (whose goal is to help people to have fun) are proving harder to convert to a virtual event. Probably because when you take the "event" out of the "event" you can be left with, well - it can be similar to nonalcoholic beer or decaffeinated coffee. It's good, you know..but, do you really need it? On the other side of events, you find the business of events (trade shows, conventions, fundraising events, meetings) where you have the largest organizations and companies in the world dedicating large portions of their marketing and advertising budgets to produce event marketing concepts, trade shows, meetings, conventions, and other consumer engagement strategies. And with each budgeted event, there was a planned return on investment (ROI) which is now lost or at risk - which has left companies challenged to innovate new ways of engaging stakeholders. 

Trade shows drive innovation, product launches sell products, sales conferences motivate sales forces and fundraising events fill community needs. So what now? Here are some resources and ideas on how to navigate the new events industry. Association of Destination Management Executives International "Build Meaningful (and Profitable) Relationships in an On-Screen World"

Events Industry Council created a fact sheet of key messages and FAQs

Six Things to Know - About Postponing Your Event - Post-COVID

Hotel & Lodging Association's Facts About Coronavirus 

Top Trade Shows in the United States

COVID-19 - Event Cancellation and Postponement Check List

Calculator Tool Helps You Plan Physically Distanced Events and Exhibitions

Protocol for imagining spaces, services, and attendees for smaller in-person events

Hilton Expands CleanStay Program to Meeting Spaces

For Conference Planners, Virus Means a ‘Huge Learning Curve Trade Show Organizers Respond to the Coronavirus Outbreak

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