Predictions are that 40% of 2022 events are projected to happen online, there will be a 37% increase in companies’ virtual event spending, and 20% of trade shows will remain virtual.

Organizers would expect that all of this translates into more opportunities for revenue.

But the reality is that 80% of virtual attendance is free.

“Virtual events have added layers of data, which have been rarely capitalized on in the past,” says Marco Giberti, founder and CEO of Vesuvio Ventures and co-author of Reinventing Live: The Always-On Future of Events, a book penned during the pandemic. “Understanding that data is a key component in reinventing the business model that’s right for your event.”

Giberti sat down to discuss the biggest revenue opportunities now available because of virtual or hybrid models.

“Events should move from 3 days to 365 days, and from a week activation into a year-long activation with technology being a part of that solution,” said Giberti. “Customers, sponsors, and exhibitors are demanding a different value proposition. Plus visitors and speakers want a different way to engage with the event.”

He also shared a new definition of “Leads as a Service,” evolving from Software as a Service (SAAS). “It’s a business model on how organizers should think about how to keep creating leads as a value proposition,” suggests Giberti.

With a new cohort of planners and organizers, aptly named “The Google Generation” now in event leadership roles, Giberti considers them to be the driving force behind the acceleration of technology in the industry.

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Those less than 40 years of age that have grown up with the internet, combined with the technology growth during the pandemic is what Giberti calls “the perfect storm” for the event business model to change.

“Although the in-person events model worked for decades,” Giberti proposes “it is time for an industry transformation – and not just until in-person attendance comes back.”

“We’ve seen corporate event organizers become dramatically more creative than for-profit organizations and associations.” Giberti advises that “business models for trade shows will dramatically need to change to offer a value proposition to their sponsors and customers in the future.”

Giberti thinks a combination of “innovation and engagement” is finally coming together, but he advises to:

  • “Unlearn what you have learned”
  • “Start small but think big”
  • “Create a new business model, but expect it will need just as much reflection and innovation in another two to three years”.

Explore new business models

Giberti will provide additional business model insights, including subscription and hybrid, during his upcoming session at the one-day virtual Innovation and Growth Summit, organized by the Event Leadership Institute.

The Summit, which is designed to showcase evolving event tech, the science of audience engagement, and the latest innovative thinking from over a dozen thought-leaders, will take place April 20 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

In addition to Giberti’s session, event participants will take a deeper dive into emerging event tech like holograms, drones, and AI, learn tips for maximizing meaningful connections at hybrid, virtual, and in-person events, and gain insights on how to reinvent and reimagine events with an innovation mindset.

Learn more and register here.

See a whole roster of classes available through Event Leadership Institute’s partnership with Smart U here.