Virtual Events getting traction with traditional event organizers

During the last 30 days, I’ve witnessed the progress that traditional physical event organizers are making in integrating virtual events into their portfolios.

As Program Chair of the American Business Media (ABM) Event Summit last month, we heard first hand examples in specific terms from Northstar Travel Media, TechWeb, American Lawyer Media and New Bay Media illustrating how they are all creating incremental value for their companies with various virtual event models. It was interesting to see the wide array of models being deployed and how each company is making a point of ensuring that these virtual events compliment and extend their physical event businesses.

The ABM meeting was followed by this weeks’ Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) Annual Meeting where the merits of virtual events were debated and one organizer illustrated how they successfully launched a virtual event in 2009 that generated both sponsor and registration revenue.

In my view, things are moving along and the adoption of virtual events by physical event organizers is slowly gaining momentum.

With that said, the one event that’s really captured my interest is COMDEX. As noted in my earlier post, I’m betting UBM will be the first event organizer to use a virtual event to resurrect a defunct physical tradeshow by first creating a virtual event and then following up with a repositioned physical tradeshow. This one will be interesting to watch over the next 18 months.

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