IBTM WIRED – The Future Events Experience


Event Africa Contributor 15/07/2021 Best Practices

IBTM is a world-leading showcase for the meetings and events industry. In a recent online event hosted by IBTM, speakers and guests opened their minds to the possibilities of re-imagining and readjusting the experience of future events.

With so much changing in the events industry it is important for industry professionals to stay on top of their game. This requires thinking about what the future looks like for the event industry and readjusting your business to keep up.

IBTM Wired – the newest addition to IBTM’s global portfolio of events and meetings – wrapped up their annual four-day online event on 1 July 2021. The event united thousands of industry professionals for one-to-one business meetings, sparking new connections and renewing existing ones. It also included a programme of live and on-demand education sessions.

Hosting a keynote speaker slot for each one of the four days, IBTM Wired concluded with Virgin Galactic Commercial Director Stephen Attenborough. Attenborough inspired guests to dream big and reach for the stars with a discussion about the possibilities of sending people into space on Virgin Galactic’s commercial spacecraft.

“We’re standing at the dawn of a new space age,” Attenborough said. “This will transform our business and personal lives.” Although the cost for entry is high – at present, a ticket costs $250,000 – Attenborough believes that this cost should come down over time as more competition enters the market. This opens up lots of exciting possibilities for the events and incentives market and certainly provides food for thought as we consider how to re-imagine the events experience for the future.

Touching on what the future holds for Europe’s events market was Ben Goedegebuure, Global General Manager at EMEA, Maritz Global Events.  For Europe’s event industry, Ben mentions that the region has had to undergo a huge process of adjustment.

He pointed to a recent survey by the Strategic Alliance of European Convention Bureaux, titled ‘The Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic’, which surmises that the levels of people that will be attending events will be lower because some might not be confident to travel, or businesses might not have the financial resources to do that travel. Overall, the survey suggests that across Europe, visits will recover by 2024 but convention and events spending won’t recover until 2026.

“It’s important that our industry continues to innovate and think about its relevance into the future and learn from the period we’ve had now. We’ve all experienced digital events, but we haven’t done enough on the experience of those yet. This collaboration of organisations in the industry to innovate together is very important.”

Lastly, Matt Davies, Senior Account Manager from Cvent shared some insights into the question everyone keeps asking – How do we go from virtual to hybrid to live? He also offered up some tips on how the events industry can keep up with shifting demand.

“We shouldn’t go back to limiting the number of people who can experience our events,” reflected Davies, who noted that the switch to online formats has created massive opportunities for event planners and marketers.

For more information on IBTM Events, visit www.ibtmevents.com