Skip navigation
Set on the exhibit-hall floor of IBTM World Barcelona, the Accelerate Stage featured more than a dozen presentations for planners.

IBTM World Barcelona Hosts the Global Events Industry

The November 30-December 2 event was in-person; the virtual version will happen December 14-15. Here, a few helpful tips from a hybrid-events expert who spoke at the in-person gathering.

Last week, for the first time in two years, the IBTM franchise representing six shows for the meeting, convention, incentive, and trade-show industry was able to conduct an in-person event: IBTM World Barcelona.

More than 1,400 hosted buyers and 1,200 exhibiting destinations, hotels, DMCs, technology firms, and other companies came to Gran Via Fira Barcelona, engaging in nearly 30,000 one-on-one appointments and attending educational sessions across corporate and association tracks.

With an overall conference theme of “New Business, New Tech, New World,” IBTM World’s main-session speakers were tasked with delivering insight to help planners recover their organizations’ event portfolios in 2022 regardless of whether the Covid pandemic fades or persists.

Matthew Allen, managing director of CrowdComms, a hybrid- and virtual-events platform, presented a few observations for planners who will continue host online events for the foreseeable future. For instance, he noted that security, scalability, and sustainability are three issues that require more consideration from planners going forward.

Why is that? First, “a fully online event holds much more content and delegate information that needs to be protected. Understandably, event clients want to be assured that their platform meets the top security requirements.”

Second, “due to the potential volume of online content and the numbers of attendees needing access, being able to cope with demands of scale is a must.” Asking a platform provider about its ability to scale up its capabilities on short notice should be on a planner’s to-do list.

Lastly, “we’ve seen a recognition of the benefits of a virtual or hybrid model in terms of sustainability. Not only are event organizers able to choose how they wish to deliver events, but they can now take environmental impact into account” when they deliver post-event reports to executive stakeholders and attendees.

IBTMmatthewAllen.pngAnother topic Allen (pictured here) touched on is the importance of robust Q&A and chat functionality for virtual attendees, which includes having staff dedicated to keeping those features moderated smartly and operating smoothly. “We all know the feeling of speaking to an audience in an online room and the hollow atmosphere that can arise through the absence of natural noise and feedback from attendees,” he said. “A slick Q&A capability has become a core focus for all speakers, to allow dialogue to flow easily and create a buzz. And the emergence of chat to simulate more of what you would experience in a physical event capacity has become a high priority for attendees. In a remote scenario, people want to feel more connected and play a more active part to make up for the lack of in-person interaction.”

When it comes to another trending virtual and hybrid element—gamification—Allen noted that “we want to incentivize attendees to log in and complete their profiles before the event, to engage with sponsors during the event, to complete our surveys after the event, and more. The key is to ensure that gamification is closely tied to these and other specific event objectives, ensuring that every incentive has a purpose.”

As for event marketing, Allen suggested “sharing some content ahead of time; a video library, for example. Give people teasers and a taste of what’s to come if they attend. It’s also a great idea to open networking early and encourage people to start making connections” a few days before the event begins.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.