SISO, Web Summit Collaborate to Provide Events Industry Thought Leadership

December 10, 2020
trade show, trade shows

The Society of Independent Show Organizer recently collaborated not once, but twice, for its members in two valuable ways with Web Summit and its Founder and CEO Paddy Cosgrave.

In October, SISO Chair and Tarsus Group CEO Douglas Emslie interviewed Cosgrave as part of SISO’s high-value webinar series.

The talk - "Is Virtual the new Emperor's clothes? - Lessons from taking a major event virtual” - focused on the transition of Web Summit – the mega-event for the tech industry that runs annually in Lisbon, Portugal – to a virtual event that ran Dec. 2-4.

As part of the virtual event, several SISO members spoke on panels specific to the events industry, as well as Web Summit gave complimentary passes to SISO members and other events industry professionals, totaling more than 800.

“Following up on the excellent interview between Douglas Emslie and Paddy Cosgrave, discussing the online expansion of the Web Summit and their other events, Douglas was invited to participate in an online session during this month’s Web Summit, and SISO Members were offered complimentary registrations to attend the online event,” said David Audrain, SISO executive director.

He added, “So Doug’s initial idea of interviewing Paddy for the SISO Webinar series expanded into a number of added-value benefits to SISO members and the industry!”

The Web Summit panels focused on "How We'll Meet in 2021" and "Getting Past the Crisis of Gatherings", which Emslie spoke on, as well as IMEX CEO Carina Bauer and JWC Partner Jochen Witt.

“SISO has been very excited to have been working with Paddy Cosgrave and the Web Summit,” Emslie said.

He added, “We have had exceptional feedback from our members on Paddy’s SISO webinar last month. The event talks and roundtables at the Web Summit last week have given our members unique insight as to how technology will continue to change our industry. The Web Summit is clearly the place where event professionals should go to see the future technology trends.”

Roundtables focused on getting 'back to normal', hybrid events, lessons from virtual and re-shaping the events industry.

The roundtables included trade show industry professionals from around the world in engaging chat sessions directly with the panelists.

Here are a few key takeaways from the panels and roundtables:

  • What people want to see in the live world does not fit in the virtual world. It’s important to deliver business opportunities to clients online.
  • Virtual attendees were forgiving with any hurdles with the online experience when the pandemic first hit, they won’t be as much now.
  • Trade shows are back in Asia, but not in the U.S.
  • Digital revenue streams have helped some shows bridge the gap to bring in something before live starts up again.
  • Live events should consider having a ‘code of conduct’ for attendees around health and safety measures onsite.

To see the SISO Interview by Douglas Emslie with Paddy Cosgrave, click HERE.

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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: