Awards shows and ceremonies will never be the same. The 2020 BizBash Event Style Awards marked a new era of merging celebration, entertainment, education, and interactive experiences to keep event professionals inspired from beginning to end.
The awards show took place on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 for the first time ever on a virtual event platform, powered by MeetingPlay. The event brought together brands like Google, Nike, HBO and FILA to immersive virtual experiences to celebrate and award the best in events and meetings.
Not only did the event announce the winners of the biggest and best awards of 2020, but also uncovered secrets from some of the most successful events in history that highlighted social triumphs for minorities, including African Americans and the LGBT community.
How did we make the magic happen? Teamwork and the collaboration of awesome partners, including MeetingPlay, BizBash, Akire Productions, About Entertainment, Red Tail, 24 Carrots, Stacie Joy Yoga, and Wordly. Keep reading because we’re going to share all of what makes an awesome virtual awards experience.
The event kicked off with a jaw-dropping virtual event space that maintained the style and grandeur of previous live Event Style Awards. Themed in gold and black, the awards felt like watching the Oscars from your very own home. In addition, the event touted live case studies from the year’s most impactful events, like Marriott Connect with Confidence, the 2019 San Francisco Symphony Opening Night Gala, the National Museum of African American History & Culture's Grand Opening Dedication Ceremony & Events, LA Pride 2019 and OUTLOUD: Raising Voices, The Conversation Truck, and the Playboy Playhouse.
Event attendees were met with an immersive virtual experience that brought the best aspects of live events right to their personal screens.
The Main Stage
The main stage was just as it sounds – the epicenter of the awards show. When attendees logged into the platform, the main stage was where the action happened. Kicking off the award show, the masters of ceremony Andrew Roby and Kate Patay set the event’s tone with jokes, outfit changes, “Who wore it best” competitions, and more in between segments. Attendees were quick to interact with the hosts through the live chat feature and kept the conversation fresh and moving throughout the event’s duration.
As the event’s case studies were broadcasted live to the main stage, event attendees could listen in real time as these event leaders told incredible stories of their successes over the past year. The case studies touched on some of the biggest hot button issues found globally in 2020 and were aligned with some of the most impactful events of the year. Unlike a live audience, this year’s virtual audience could participate in the platform’s Q&A feature where they could ask questions to the presenters in real time and have them answered live. This really elevated the 2-way conversation and kept the audience totally engaged for the duration of the event.
Some other impressive features of the Main Stage included:
Who Wore it Best
Andrew Roby and Kate Patay kicked off the event with warm and comedic introductions and kept the show going with skits, outfit changes, and shoutouts. In an effort to keep the audience engaged and entertained, polls were sent out for opinions on Andrew & Kate’s outfit changes, for hard-hitting hybrid questions, and more. Participation in these polls would give attendees points in the event’s gamification feature (more on that, soon!).
One of the major pro’s of hosting an event virtually is the opportunity to reach a global audience. This year, the awards had participants tuning in from near and far, like France, Canada, Bulgaria, and more. An important aspect of catering to a global audience is making sure they can understand the content – that’s where MeetingPlay’s translation feature (powered by Wordly) comes in handy. Not only does the translation feature write out every word in real time for the hearing impaired, but those who speak languages other than English can select their preferred language and enjoy the show.
Keeping it Social
Attending a live awards show is about as social as it gets. You get to mix and mingle with event industry experts and enthusiasts alike. That’s why when planning the virtual show, BizBash and MeetingPlay made sure to program social and networking opportunities throughout the event’s duration so attendees wouldn’t miss out on the fun.
Meet with attendees who share similar interests
MeetingPlay’s AI-driven networking function prompts you to create your attendee profile and fill out networking questions to build a custom “Attendee Network”. Once your preferences are set, the platform will generate hundreds of like-minded individuals for you to network with. Chat, call, and learn about your network during the event, and after!
The event’s social feed was flooded with attendee content, stories, and sentiment as the event took place. Attendees posted themselves watching the event in their home office, their excitement for the event, shoutouts to winners, and more. In addition, attendees could ask questions to the entire platform to generate conversation and buzz around industry topics.
Topic-specific chatrooms were accessible to all event attendees and were useful in segmenting conversation topics. For attendees who wants to discuss topics around catering, there was a place just for that to happen! Surprisingly, the event’s hottest topic was swag ideas for virtual and live events. It’s a good thing we had a resource just for that.
Who doesn’t like a little competition? To encourage attendee engagement, points were awarded to attendees when they performed certain actions throughout the platform. At the end of the event, the top 5 attendees with the most points was put into a drawing to win a $100 Amazon gift card.
Meet the Hosts
BizBash and MeetingPlay both had live booths for attendees to visit to meet and greet with members of their teams. Attendees could enter the MeetingPlay booth and be met with one of our awesome sales managers to discuss products, answer questions about the platform, download product info, and even schedule time outside of the event to talk more about their needs.
It’s no secret that everyone is going seriously stir-crazy in their homes during this seemingly never-ending pandemic. BizBash and MeetingPlay took that into consideration when planning this event, and boy, they did not disappoint.
Cocktail Hour with 24 Carrots
During one of the event’s intermissions, finalist 24 Carrots got up on the Main Stage and hosted a virtual mixologist session with winter cocktails. Social posts from the event’s hosts were sent out days before the day-of session with ingredients for attendees to have on hand so they could follow along in real time. Nothing beats a middle of the workday cocktail!
Virtual Yoga with Stacie Joy Yoga
Instead of having a boring intermission during this exciting event, Stacie Joy Yoga joined the Main Stage to get attendees out of their seat and on their feet to enjoy some light stretching and chakra centering. Attendees posted on the social wall their appreciation of the much-needed stretch break!
Although the concert wasn’t live in-person, The Spazmatics still took to the main stage live from their studio in sunny Los Angeles! During the event, attendees were polled to pick what famous 80’s jam they wanted to kick the concert off with. “Take On Me” was the winner, and from there The Spazmatics started their performance, and and danced around the stage in hilarious 80’s garb. The audience loved ending the event on such a high note and boogied their hearts out from their living rooms. The band kept the show going with a half hour set filled with the 80’s biggest hits.
You’re Not too Late!
If you missed out on the event's behind-the-scenes interviews with select winners and finalists, yoga session, cocktail hour, and live concert with The Spazmatics, you can still see who took home an Event Style Award by scrolling through the award winners now. Bonus: Now you can watch (or re-watch!) BizBash and MeetingPlay's online experience—emceed by Kate Patay of Patay Consulting and Andrew Roby of Andrew Roby Events—on-demand here.