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Looking back at Year gone by & New trends in 2021- event tech industry

Authored by Jaspinder Bhatia, Co-founder and COO, Ibentos

The year 2020 was full of challenges for everyone. COVID-19 had a major impact on almost all sorts of businesses, especially the event industry. The unforeseen global pandemic came along with the travel ban and lockdown which unfortunately affected all the booming event companies, leading them to cancel all in-person events like exhibitions, conferences, B2B meets and so on. During these difficult times, event tech companies came ahead as saviours and brought a new revolution in the event industry by introducing virtual events. While they were adapting to new business models themselves and leading the digital transformation, event tech companies gave new opportunities to the event organisers- helped them stay relevant, stay connected with their customers, and evolve digital models to generate new revenue streams. For instance, in the event format called Buyer-Seller meets (where sellers and buyers of a specific industry connect with each other to generate business), has been doing really well virtually- especially the international b2b meets. With international borders closed, these business communities have still been able to network virtually, generate business for themselves, sustain their employees and boost their countries’ exports.

The transition from in-person to digital and virtual space salvaged event organizers from the depths of uncertainty and losses. It is hard to fathom how swiftly we have stepped into this new paradigm of conducting virtual events; nobody was nearly expecting an advancement in the event industry so soon. The birth of virtual events would not have taken for years if it weren't for the pandemic. Because before the pandemic, people did not see the need to go digital. Now that they have tasted the benefits of virtual/hybrid events, there is no going back to the pre-pandemic world.

Even though live events have their own charisma and advantages, yet the benefits of virtual events cannot be overlooked. Both formats are undoubtedly valuable in their own ways which is why the world will never be the same. Today, we are standing in the second quarter of 2021, with a sudden surge in covid cases again, especially in India. This only signifies that the industry will see more virtual events, followed by the hybrid model. Going ahead as well, organisers would retain the charm of physical events and enjoy the new diverse features of the virtual platform; hence, experiencing the best of both worlds.

Another point that I would like to make is that during the pandemic, the customers’ behaviour and psyche has also changed to a great extent. People are now more used to attending events from the comfort of their homes. Moreover, virtual events save a lot of time and cost involved in travelling, which is why many organisers that we have worked with, especially ones who invite speakers and attendees from different parts of the globe, are looking at continuing with this format even post-pandemic. 

My take here is that while choosing an event format, organizers should take an informed decision. They should certainly keep in consideration the perspective of their participants and try to understand what it is that they want. Are they more inclined towards an in-person event or are they looking for a hybrid model where even if they cannot make it to the event physically, they can still participate? 

 DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and Adgully.com does not necessarily subscribe to it. 

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