Move over, Meeting Planner, there’s a new title in town: Event Experience Leader. Do you have what it takes to shift to the new category of meeting management?
COVID-19 has poured some serious accelerant on a trend that was already on the rise before the pandemic: replacing material goods with experiences. The idea of shifting from a service economy to one that revolves around experiences began a few decades ago with the release of Jim Gilmore and Joe Pine’s book, The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre and Every Business a Stage, and those who plan meetings have gradually been moving along the continuum ever since. When Gilmore and Pine further defined their theory in 2019 to explain the importance of these experiences being cohesive and theme-based, sustained over time and personalized rather than one-size-fits-all, well, that has “events” written all over it.
When COVID-induced shutdowns, travel bans and restrictions made in-person experiences harder to come by, event specialists focused on providing engaging and educational experiences digitally — hence the introduction of the Digital Event Specialist certification, which emphasizes audience engagement as a key ingredient for online events.
And now that in-person events are coming back, albeit in fits and starts as the virus and vaccination rates ebb and flow by city, region and country, event tech company Bizzabo is betting on the industry’s ability to create online experiences that will hold as much value for attendees as their in-person counterparts. As anyone who has tried to do just that over the course of COVID knows, that’s not as easy as it may sound. As Kate Angelo says in a Bizzabo post, “While digital technology offers us limitless opportunities to create practically anything we can imagine, it simply can’t recreate the vibrancy and richness found in real-world experiences.”
To help bridge the gap between hybrid and in-person experiences, Bizzabo is offering a product that pairs its in-person conference tools with a new virtual event management platform. The company is envisioning this will be a key tool for the new category of event professional it envisions rising out of the COVID ashes, the Event Experience Leader. This new breed of event professional will be armed with the tools and knowledge to design and facilitate experiences that will engage their attendees on-site and online in hybrid events, according to Bizzabo.
As Angelo says, “Event orchestrators — event leaders — produce purposeful human experiences that orchestrate the dynamic spectrum of digital and physical moments to inspire, educate, and connect people.”
The company is planning an online event of its own, The Future of Event Experience, scheduled for Nov. 16 at 10 a.m. ET, to explain more about what this new role will entail. It also will announce product innovations it believes will help present and future Event Experience Leaders engage, educate and build connections in both the IRL (in real life) and online environments.
The company also provides more details on how events are changing and the reaction to those changes by attendees and sponsors; technology event professionals can use to meet changing needs; and the skills Event Experience Leaders will need to develop to take charge in this evolving environment in this podcast.
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