There is no better person to look to for a summary of the events industry than Miguel Neves, the Editor in Chief at Skift Meetings. He reports from Event Tech Live London 2022, the largest gathering of event tech pros and platforms in Europe, that while “gathering together was inspiring, there was a feeling of deflation.” He added that “Most companies are doing well, even doubling their revenue compared to 2019. The problem is that the doubling occurred mainly during the peak of the virtual event tech bubble.” Neves feels that the event business will be living with the aftershocks of the pandemic for a while, despite the fact that event tech companies have beefed up their tech stacks, grown more sophisticated with sales and marketing, and generally learned to establish their place in the event world. Me, I’m thinking that event tech companies have a chip on their shoulders because they were demoted from saviors of the world to their rightful place as part of a mixed bag of event delights.
Who Was There and Who Was Not
Neves continues “The largest exhibit space belonged to Hubilo, one of the last companies to receive a large round of funding, back in October 2021. Stova (the new aggregate of a few event tech companies) was the headline sponsor and provided the online platform and event app. Other companies with a significant presence in virtual events included Cvent, RainFocus, Noonah, One World Rental, Yoonity (rebranded, for better or worse, from 3D-VR Live), Bizzabo, First Sight Media, Pylon One, Klay Event Technology, EventsAIR, Notified, and Exposure Analytics.” There were plenty of exhibitors showcasing physical event trappings, too. The organizers handed out awards for everything from “best platform” to “most immersive experience.” Congratulations to Lisa Farrell and the MEETYOO team for winning the Sustainability Award. If you’re going to win one, it’s the most important.
Notable absences at the event include Hopin, the event tech company receiving the single most investment during the pandemic. Though they did announce a new product approach called Chapter Two the day before the show. Hopin is dicing its all-in-one event tech solution into a portfolio of pieces, making it possible to buy individual bits like a streaming component or a webinar platform.
A large part of Event Tech Live focused on education, and believe me, they get it. You can listen on demand and see if you’re as convinced as I am that the metaverse and NFTs will play an important part in events.
Event Companies that Aren’t Event Companies, but Communities
While event tech platforms may be on uneasy ground, I suggest paying close attention to non-traditional event tech stacks as well. Slack gave a talk at Event Tech Live about how it’s being used for events, and you can find out more on their website. Naturally, it’s best used with communities that are already formed.
And of course there’s LinkedIn, another community-driven platform that gets better at virtual events daily.