Ignite

June Special Mini Edition 2021

A fresh resource for people who plan and manage meetings, events, business travel, promotions and incentive programs. Providing you with inspiration, guidance and great ideas.

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The Ignite Selecting a virtual event platform can be overwhelming. Planners who've been there share their journeys and advice. by Laura Bickle I n 2019, Select Group Marketing (SGM), which represents a number of international destination marketing companies (DMCs) in the Canadian travel and incentive market, held SGM Links, a marketplace where buyers met face-to-face with DMCs, at The Boulevard Club in Toronto. "Each DMC had a table and buyers could book appointments and come and go as they liked during the day," says SGM president Jan Zandboer. By all accounts, it was a successful setup. For obvious reasons, the event was forced to take a hiatus in 2020, but in 2021, Zandboer felt the time was right for his clients to catch up with Canadian buyers, even though pandemic protocols meant there would be no fancy tables at The Boulevard Club. So that's when he jumped headfi rst into the world of virtual event platforms. "It felt like there were thousands of platforms," says Zandboer. He's not far off. The market has exploded with new platforms and established brands are constantly upgrading and adding new features. It's a lot to stay on top of. But take a breath. The same rules of event planning still apply, says Melissa Deslauriers, director of marketing at bbBlanc in Toronto. "Think of your digital platform as a venue. No two are alike, each has their own pros and cons." Selecting a virtual event platform can be Selecting a virtual event platform can be overwhelming. Planners who've been there overwhelming. Planners who've been there share their journeys and advice. share their journeys and advice. share their journeys and advice. share their journeys and advice. share their journeys and advice. by Laura Bickle I n 2019, Select Group Marketing (SGM), which represents a number of international destination marketing companies (DMCs) in the Canadian travel and incentive market, held SGM Links, a marketplace where buyers met face-to-face with DMCs, at The Boulevard Club in Toronto. "Each DMC had a table and buyers could book appointments and come and go as they liked during the day," says SGM president Jan Zandboer. By all accounts, it was a successful setup. For obvious reasons, the event was forced to take a hiatus in 2020, but in 2021, Zandboer felt the time was right for his clients to catch up with Canadian buyers, even though pandemic protocols meant there would be no fancy tables at The Boulevard Club. So that's when he jumped headfi rst into the world of virtual event platforms. "It felt like there were thousands of platforms," says Zandboer. He's not far off. The market has exploded with new platforms and established brands are constantly upgrading and adding new features. It's a lot to stay on top of. But take a breath. The same rules of event planning still apply, says Melissa Deslauriers, director of marketing at PHOTO: bbBlanc June 2021 | Ignitemag.ca | 15

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