An Overview of Industry Innovators Summit 2022

vFairs was delighted to be the Official Platform Partner for the BizBash Industry Innovators Summit 2022. The summit broke the mold of conventional virtual events with its having to cut session ideas, interesting case studies, and exciting networking opportunities, leaving audience members motivated to push the industry forward.

Attendees learned about the sector’s most critical issues: labor shortages, catering, relationships with other businesses, technological improvements, and more. The summit was divided into two parts.

Part I: October 20, 2022

The first part had five sessions with renowned speakers, followed by a networking session. Let’s take a look at what all was covered!

The Great Buffet Debate: Catering Trends that Should Be on Your Radar

Through the pandemic, catering and F&B professionals had to find clever ways to accommodate the ever-changing regulations. Food is a significant marketing component; people will likely go to events with impressive curated meals. 

In this session, Candice Davis and Sarah Kloepple invited a group of panelists, including Kashif Brown, Robin Seldon, and Thomas Whelan. They discussed the catering trends at events and food sustainability. Post-pandemic, there is a higher demand for locally sourced items or plant-based foods. 

Being sustainable or health-focused is more expensive. Robin Seldon shared his exciting collaborations with many plant-based chefs. He exclaimed that his biggest meat eater clients were excited about his vegan dishes at events and ultimately walked away, saying they couldn’t believe they ate plant-based meals!

In the end, everyone agreed that food at events should be inclusive and intersectional. You need to include everybody and make everyone feel special and complete. One can do so by focusing on menu development and providing an all-in-one solution for people. 

Snippet from The Great Buffet Debate: Catering Trends that Should Be on Your Radar
Speakers – The Great Buffet Debate: Catering Trends that Should Be on Your Radar

Built to Stick: How to Keep Audiences Hooked in Your Virtual, Hybrid & In-Person Events

Event planners struggle to energize audiences through virtual and in-person events in a post-pandemic world. In this session, Muhammad Younis, CEO of vFairs, shared how vFairs is an ideal in-person, virtual and hybrid event management platform. In addition, he shared essential tips on keeping your attendees hooked. 

  • Before the event, let guests and exhibitors mingle. vFairs mobile app allows participants to preview in-person activities.
  • Invest in your virtual event’s unique visual and navigational components to make it stand out. vFairs provide unique virtual environments.
  • Think of attendees joining in the middle. vFairs’ mobile app shows late guests what’s happening, what they missed, and how to catch up. This keeps them informed.
  • Give your audience options for attending and consuming content. For example, more breaks and shorter webinars/presentations keep attendees engaged.
  • Match the event’s networking format. Virtual events benefit from spatial networking. Smart matchmaking helps during trade exhibitions and conferences. For in-person events, schedule 1:1 meetings and group sessions.
  • Between long virtual sessions, consider adding entertainment. Activities like cornhole and golf tracks break up in-person and hybrid events and excite attendees.
  • Gamify with intent. vFairs offers scavenger hunts, leaderboards, picture booths, and gifts to attract guests.
Muhammad Younas, CEO vFairs, presenting at the Bizbash Industry Innovators Summit 2022
Muhammad Younas, CEO vFairs, presenting at the Bizbash Industry Innovators Summit 2022

Break Through the Noise: How to Grab Attention and Make Headlines in a Saturated Market

A saying claims there is no such thing as bad press. So creative agency executives and event production experts got together for this discussion to talk about how these innovators can get their events in the news and deal with the boom in the experiential industry right now.

The panelists shared their personal stories, where they worked on several projects with clients and achieved significant pillars of success. The panelists were terrific storytellers and shared tips on how to grab attention and make your work stand out!

Another critical point in the discussion was the importance of having a solid social media plan Post-pandemic, there is an excellent shift in how we look and engage with things, and the most significant thing now is listening to the community. Earlier, industries used to decide what to offer but now, the audience chooses what they want, and they influence the industry. So the consumers are pushing the industries in their direction, which helps drive attention at the end!

Speakers - Break Through the Noise: How to Grab Attention and Make Headlines in a Saturated Market
Speakers – Break Through the Noise: How to Grab Attention and Make Headlines in a Saturated Market

The Core Four: A Framework for the Future of Events

Significant changes are happening as the events and experiences industry tries to get back on its feet and start over after the pandemic. These changes have changed for good how we connect with and talk to our audiences.

Amy Blackman, the Founder/Principal of Fruition.co, spoke about how strong connections can bring people together, no matter the time, space, place, or channel of your event.

The entry point of the session was how everything has changed with time, behavior, economics, social norms, expectations, needs, etc. A good example is the event experience that is now not constrained by time and channels. The point being what seemed pretty far-fetched not too long ago is now the reality, and it’s still changing. 

Amy shared the core four elements for the future of events that were:

  • New Now
  • ARL – All Real Life
  • THERE-ness
  • Community

She dug deeper into each element and explained the framework in much detail!

Amy Blackman presenting the Framework for the Future of Events
Amy Blackman presenting the Framework for the Future of Events

The Event Industry Today: Navigating Floral and Labor Shortages, Supply-Chain Issues, Creative Blocks, and More

In this session, Deanna Nwosu (Industry Consultant) and Monique Ruff-Bell (Head of Conferences, TEDx) spoke to Shannon Thaler (Managing Editor at Bizbash). They discussed how they’re dealing with today’s industry challenges and preparing to shift gears again tomorrow. 

Deanna shared the importance of applying creativity to your work. According to her, a simple framework of using your ideas, opening your eyes, and exploring things around you can do wonders. Inspiration is everywhere, and you just have to open your eyes. 

They also shared anecdotes of when they faced challenges and labor shortages at events. The majority of the challenges were faced during in-person events. Monique stated that inflation also plays a big part in deciding quality vs. quantity. One main issue is the labor cost; therefore, now they have fewer staff. According to them, the key is to be more creative with what you can afford. 

The panel discussing the Event Industry Today
The panel discussing the Event Industry Today

Part II: October 27, 2022 

The Partnership Puzzle: Navigating Industry Relationships Today

In this session, event professionals who run fabrication, gifting, rental, staffing, and AV companies talked about how their professional relationships have changed over the past two years. They also shared their most significant problems and what they value most in their partnerships with planners and producers.

They discussed the key to creating long-term creative partnerships with event planners and organizers. They all agreed that it’s essential to have honest communication, be supportive and take care of your clients at all times. 

The panel shared how their work has transformed in the last 2-3 years. They are now more straightforward with their clients regarding expectations. They also have plans B and C because things are pretty unpredictable post-pandemic. Moreover, their partnerships focus on brainstorming together. They now tie their products to the client’s objectives, so they can provide an experience that engages guests while working on a specific goal. 

Lastly, they shared the challenges they faced in building solid partnerships. Labor has been a huge issue for them. Moreover, they also have to work hard on introducing new ideas so that the client doesn’t get bored and look out for other options. 

Panel for the session: The Partnership Puzzle: Navigating Industry Relationships Today
Panel for the session: The Partnership Puzzle: Navigating Industry Relationships Today

The Seven Change Waves Impacting the Events Industry: Why We Need to Care About Them

In this session, Becki Winchel, the Director of Thought Leadership and Innovation at Spiro, shared the seven change waves impacting the event industry. The waves of change roll in all directions. The dynamics of the events industry have altered post-pandemic. However, sustainable value propositions require a relevant solution for your customer and embrace all aspects of change.

She explained the seven waves of change as follows:

  1. Pricing Power
  2. Hype-Cyle to Shakeout
  3. Resistance is futile
  4. Innovation is the Great Equalizer of Inferiority
  5. Data
  6. From Niche to Mainstream
  7. The Customer Always, Always, ALWAYS Wins.

Finally, she shared that as an event professional, you need to get ahead of the change waves before they get ahead of you. The best way is to use innovation to get ahead of the waves. One needs to move past purpose statements and promises to instead focus on sustainable business models and efforts that generate real, lasting, meaningful change.

What in the Web3: Breaking Down the Latest Tech Advancements

In this session, top tech experts talked in depth about the metaverse and all the other decentralized technologies they’ve been using. They spoke about how they’ve been using these new creative tools to make events that are useful and keep people intrigued in more exciting ways.

Giovanna Casimiro, the Senior Producer at Decentraland, shared how virtual cities, metaverse Fashion Week and digital outfits are the talks of the town. Next, Wei Li, the Head of Zoom Events & Webinar, spoke about the ease technology offers at events. For example, event hosts can use virtual production studios to produce rich content for events in real-time. In addition, the attendees have access to various engaging tools, so they don’t feel like they are not physically networking. 

The Panel Breaking Down the Latest Tech Advancements in Event Industry
The Panel Breaking Down the Latest Tech Advancements in Event Industry

Popular Features at the Bizbash Industry Innovators Summit 2022

Apart from the insightful sessions and panel discussion, the Bizbash Industry Innovators Summit 2022, powered by vFairs, had a spectacular networking area. Attendees had access to roundtables which brought together people with their like-minded peers in one spot to engage in productive and meaningful conversations. 

vFairs Roundtables
vFairs Roundtables

A virtual poster hall was also present with posters and links to supplementary resources. In addition, attendees could click to download or email themselves a virtual copy of the posters. The content is also easily-accessible after the event.

vFairs Poster Hall
vFairs Poster Hall

Other engaging features included a leaderboard where attendees could score points to win an Apple Watch and an Echo Dot. A social wall was also up where attendees could see what people were talking about and how they were engaging with the event. vFairs has a lot of ways to get people involved in virtual events. These features make every event fun, interactive, and exciting.

Leaderboard at Bizbash Industry Innovators Summit 2022
Leaderboard at Bizbash Industry Innovators Summit 2022
Social Wall at the Bizbash Industry Innovators Summit 2022
Social Wall at the Bizbash Industry Innovators Summit 2022

Final Thoughts

The virtual summit, powered by vFairs, featured interactive sessions and panel discussions that were incredibly beneficial for attendees. In addition, there were many exciting things to look at and do at the event, which kept people interested. The combination of a poster hall, social wall, leaderboard, and photo booth ensured the event’s success.

An Overview of Industry Innovators Summit 2022

Hira Yousaf

Hira is a content writer at vFairs. She has been working in the SaaS content market for around 2 years. Hira is a Nutritionist but she believes writing is her true calling, so she looks forward to exploring different niches. When she's not writing, she's either on a trip making new friends or probably spending quality time with her cats, Rio and Dusty!

About

An Overview of Industry Innovators Summit 2022

Hira Yousaf

Hira is a content writer at vFairs. She has been working in the SaaS content market for around 2 years. Hira is a Nutritionist but she believes writing is her true calling, so she looks forward to exploring different niches. When she's not writing, she's either on a trip making new friends or probably spending quality time with her cats, Rio and Dusty!
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