From Shakespeare’s Hamlet, 1602. The actual line from the play is ‘Though this be madness yet there is method in it’.

2020–21 has been an open house for bad decisions around the world. While the world is moving helter-skelter to make events happen, in the ambiguity of it all, we are previewing a whole new world of events — virtual events, hybrid events, live streaming AR, MR, VR, XR and so on.

In the case of events at large, much has changed over the last 20 years, of course : a shift away from merely producing and purchasing goods and services, to a focus on creating and consuming experiential value. This today we all know as ‘The Experience Economy’, is not next or emerging; it has fully arrived.

69% Marketers will increase spends on events and activation in the next two years as per Ernst & Young Marketer Survey 2019. This highlights the very fact that the events industry is ready for disruption, and the time is NOW. Each events category is different, but as event planners, there are obvious similar problems such as: managing projects, building relationships, developing best practices, managing budgets, coordinating logistics, setting agendas, overseeing F&B and procuring accommodations — not to mention practicing duty of care/risk-management and now meeting GDPR requirements and like any other problem, this opens a window of opportunity.

Now, the fundamental question that I keep thinking and debating with event owners, marketers, brands and investors is:

How can we capitalize on lessons learned from previous experiences and apply those learnings to the events industry Quintessentially, where is the METHOD TO THIS MADNESS?”

There are no two ways about the fact that there has been growth in the way events are conducted and technology has played a major role in bringing about the shift. When I saw this, I speak of only the tech that goes into transforming the face of the event using hardware technology to glamorise and bring in the feel good factor. The power of events is massive and effective to the extent that marketers have shifted 25% of their budgets to event-only strategies, given the opportunities events offer. Considering the level of deep-rooted interaction these events offer, a Deloitte report on Big Data opportunities for various industry verticals suggests that the event industry has benefited the LEAST, which is alarming.

In the era driven by Saas-based technology, tools like Hubspot, Spalba, Slack, Myro etc are changing the way we plan, collaborate, explore and generate leads. 78% of event professionals are still handling tasks manually via excel sheets, emails etc. The adaptation of SaaS-based tools and technologies not only automates and centralises, but also simplifies event planning making it less time consuming.

The event life cycle involves a chain of events with high dependency on time, and finding the right venue tops the chart. Now, while brands have started to open doors for hybrid events, they are still tip-toeing around the idea of physical recce. Even if we leave the current scenario aside, brands are looking at financially sustainable options to recuperate. Technologies like Spalba’s CLON3D helps you substitute physical recce with digital recce by creating a virtual replica (digital twin) of the physical space that is accessible from anywhere in the world, allowing for substantially reduced recce spending.

Apart from finalising the venues, real-time analytics of data, paired with marketplaces for vendors and agencies, unified through an interface, can free up almost 50% of a planner’s time, making it systematic and fool-proof to drive out the madness associated with planning.

Retracting my steps to the concept of experience economy, it is not just about the touch and feel, it is about personalisation, customer preferences, targeted approach, insights and much more. The future is built on such customisations and at the hub of it all are events. Spalba, a SaaS platform collects, integrates and analyses a broad range of event data and performance metrics against trends, benchmarks and best practices in events to provide event intelligence through predictions and insights, making event decisions less intuitive, more streamlined and data driven.

A colossal of multi-level planning that involves not just event planners, but also brands and more importantly vendors including — suppliers, designers, production houses etc, the entire needs to activate and streamline which will bring about a revolution in the events and experiences industry.