The world has a funny way of surprising us and showing us who we are, sometimes. The events industry is a perfect example of this. Events – something that seems completely evergreen, untouchable, classic – was arguably one of the first global industries to be impacted by COVID-19. Yet, it’s somehow still standing and thriving in the face of all of this hardship.
Before COVID-19, the event planning business generated $325 billion of direct spending in the USA and helped support more than 5.9 million jobs with $249 billion of labor income, according to an Oxford Economics and Events Industry Council study in 2018. This is just in the United States alone.
Since COVID-19, the number of organizations planning virtual events have doubled, yet jobs in the event industry were initially greatly impacted – some roles still left vacant even now. Major corporations were forced to furlough and layoff their employees, leaving the industry scratching their heads wondering what was yet to come. Thankfully, event professionals persevered and most importantly, innovated.
“For an event canceled on March 12, the respondent said: “100 people dropped out of the meeting in one day.” (PCMA Convene-COVID 19 Survey)
Event professionals persevered through the destruction of COVID-19 and created a new world for event professionals and goers, alike. Now, events have more options, better technology, more accessibility, and more opportunity than ever.
70% of event professionals moved portions of their event, if not their entire event, to a virtual platform in 2020. (PCMA Convene-COVID 19 Survey)
The Start of the Event Industry’s New Beginning
Resilience, perseverance, and innovation are all words to describe what has happened in the past year. Looking back, most event professionals can likely pinpoint the exact moment they felt their jobs shift, their event contracts cancel, and the subsequent move to quarantine. But the opportunity to innovate and create a new world for events is what acted as the lifeboat for most professionals and has reinvigorated the industry as a whole.
We wanted to know first-hand what our own team of event professionals thought about this opportunity to innovate and how it shaped the future of their careers. Here’s what we found:
“MeetingPlay faced a very realistic possibility of no longer existing in March 2020. Had it not been for innovative ideas at the management level, we would not be here today. Their actions and innovative mindsets have driven me to want to come up with innovative ideas of my own in order to do my part to make this a thriving company.”
Camron Giuliani, Android Developer, MeetingPlay
“There is nothing scarier than waking up in the morning and fearing that you may not have a job to go to. Linking arms with fellow event professionals and finding a way to build new event solutions not only gave me a job, but it brought me more opportunity to hone my professional skills and open doors that I never thought I would have the opportunity to open. I am thankful for this change in the industry. It has given events a new meaning, making it a more accessible, enjoyable, and an immersive experience for anyone who wants to experience it.”
Lauren Huffman, Senior Marketing Manager, MeetingPlay
“MeetingPlay has shown me that disruptive principles, the idea that a smaller but talented team, with fewer resources, can do something differently and overtake the market of larger, more established businesses. When taking risks and doing things differently, you could fail but you could also succeed. It only takes one success to change everything.
Brandee Plott, Director of Marketing, MeetingPlay
"In my almost 2 years with MeetingPlay, I have been pushed to the limit on how I can assist clients to innovate and transform their events. I do not just see myself as a “salesperson”, but as a trusted advisor. Where new or previous clients come to me to see what new and innovative enhancements MetingPlay has developed, and how that will benefit and transform their events. I am beyond grateful to be on a team that brings to life cutting edge and groundbreaking virtual event technology."
Kelly Bentzinger, Business Development Manager, MeetingPlay
The Front Runners in the Event Industry
Every single event professional is hustling right now to make their events happen using a variety of new technology and guidelines to keep their attendees engaged and safe. However, there are true frontrunners of the industry that have brought new solutions to event planners that have kept events alive, if not truly “live” for the time being.
On-site, virtual, hybrid…we have all been cycling through these options for the last year. Although we may have some virtual fatigue, virtual events have been the best solution for event planners. In fact, the coveted “2-way conversation” is now more possible than ever through the innovative technology of virtual and hybrid platforms. At MeetingPlay, we have been dedicated to creating the most cutting-edge event technology for in-person, virtual, and hybrid events.
Virtual events have brought the opportunity to engage more attendees from across the globe, access better analytics on event performance, and enhance the way we deliver content. What once was your generic “Zoom Conference” has morphed into a fully-subversive, all-encompassing event experience that you can safely enjoy from your couch (if you so choose). The opportunities are truly endless with virtual tech, so the world is your oyster. Check out all of your options, here.
“I think the explosion of online events will make associations think about what other types of education they might offer in this format, or how they may supplement their in-person events with online content.”
Hybrid events are another beast entirely. In reality, hybrid events have made us take a step back and evaluate the way our attendees want to be communicated with, in addition how they want to communicate with one another. 2-way conversation has never been more important, so finding the right hybrid technology partner to bridge your onsite and virtual attendees is paramount in the final success of your event. Not to mention, COVID-19 is still here with us, so the safety of your event attendees will always remain the #1 priority. Interested in learning what hybrid events have to offer? Learn more here.
Check out our hybrid resources:
Live events, we miss you. The opportunity to go back to live (some areas it’s already happening!) is closer than it’s been in over a year. What can we bring from all of the learnings over the past year?
- Short form content is King.
- Networking is just as important as ever.
- Opportunities to connect in new ways, like fireside chats with leadership, one-on-one meetings with exhibitors and sponsors, and network matchmaking with like-minded individuals.
- Options: the option to attend live or virtually, the option to choose what content we want to see and when, and the option to enjoy things at our own pace.
How MeetingPlay Continues to Innovate
MeetingPlay has taken this new opportunity to innovate in stride. We are dedicated to creating new features within our technology to serve our client and invigorate the event industry with a spectrum of event planning solutions. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately:
One of the best things about virtual events is that they can be enjoyed by attendees from all over the world. To make sure all of our non-native English speakers can enjoy the presented content, we have integrated with Wordly, a real-time translation tool that can translate multiple languages simultaneously. Wordly allows non-native speakers and the hearing-impaired to understand and participate in:
- Video Conference Calls
- Live Webinars & Online Training
- Pre-Recorded Video Content
- Phone Calls & In-Person Meetings
- Large Conferences
No waiting for human translators. Just send audio thru a Wordly-enabled phone or computer, and participants see and hear translations in real time on their own device, for free.
Have you ever been at an event and not known what exhibitor you should talk to? We’ve got you covered. Our exhibitor matchmaking is powered by our AI algorithm to help you find the exhibitors and sponsors that matter most to you. Simply build your network within the virtual platform by answers a few prompted questions about yourself. Once you complete the questions, you will have a customized selection of booths with services that will likely meet your interests.
Virtual Scavenger Hunts
Gamification and engagement are two of the biggest needs to consider for your attendees when planning a virtual event. That’s why we have made it easy (and fun!) to keep your attendees interacted with your platform and content throughout your event’s duration. To play, you will find familiar avatar faces hidden throughout the event platform. Click on them to answer trivia questions and unlock points that will put you in the running for exciting prizes! This will prompt your attendees to enter different parts of your platform, answer questions that will provide you will valuable data, and win prizes!
Innovate with Us!
We are your partners from event conception to completion and will work with you to bring your most imaginative events to life. Schedule a demo with us to see what we have been working on behind the scenes and what we can do for your next event!