And seriously fast. Take my new grandson, in a few short months he has gone from a tiny helpless bundle to, still helpless, but communicating, sitting up and very aware of his surroundings, the rate of change is remarkable and that rate of change has reminded me of the virtual conference market (notice the clever link!).
Back in January we had started to look at alternatives to live events, not because of the pandemic, which wasn’t a big thing at that stage, but because our clients had started to look more closely at the cost of travel and the impact air travel was having on the environment.
As event managers we were, at that time, working closely with one or two platforms to understand how best we could pivot our clients from in-person events to hybrid events and how those events paralleled the direction we were moving in with in-person events.
At that stage the virtual market was operating in quite a small market segment and progress was relatively slow, with vast disparities between some of the platforms. Fast forward to now and the change is mind blowing with an explosion in the number of platforms and an explosion in the functionality they are all offering. A lot of them have successfully monetised their offering and are becoming more professional in their approach to their businesses.
So where are we now? Take my new grandson, I cannot imagine what he will be like in a month’s time any more than I can predict what new innovations there will be in the virtual conference market.
What I do know and what we can clearly see now is a situation where the market is rapidly overheating, demand for the platforms, particularly over the traditional Autumn conference season, is massive. Virtual conference platforms are increasing their prices because demand is so huge, they can.
Some platforms are even turning smaller events away in favour of bigger, more lucrative events, so it is even more important to partner with agencies supplying the platforms with a number of events, particularly if you are in the smaller category of event!
I’m not clever enough to know how all this will turn out, however, I do know we need more quality players in the market otherwise it could end up in a bit of a mess, much like making sure the nappies (diapers for our American friends) are the right capacity for the grandson’s output, and that is a lesson learnt from bitter experience!
Until next time,
Malcolm Wallace, Managing Director at Dynamic Conferences & Events Ltd