The building buzz about virtual and hybrid meetings has been accelerating – and now somebody is putting their money where their mouth is as far as creating a base of professionals who can handle the phenomenon of meetings becoming increasingly reliant on attendees who are not physically present at a conference location.
Virtual Edge Institute (VEI), which is dedicated to advancing the development of virtual events and meeting technology, announced last week that bXb Online has committed $100,000 in support of the Digital Event Strategist (DES) certification program.
BXb Online, headquartered in Chicago, offers online event strategy, creative, content development and management solutions. The company is working to develop an industry platform for event marketing professionals.
Scheduled to launch this spring, the DES certification is specifically designed to help develop the talent that organizations need to effectively engage audiences using online events. Michael Doyle, founder of VEI, said, “The digital events community is an important and fast-growing category within event marketing. The scale of this industry, when compared to the available talent in the digital events category, calls for investment in the talent base. BXb Online’s commitment will help ensure growth of a robust talent pool in the industry.”
The founder of bXb Online, Tony Lorenz, said, “Importantly, the DES certification program starts with best practices around strategy, a characteristic embedded in the DNA of bXb Online.” Lorenz encouraged industry colleagues to consider a match of up to 100% to this pledge to further expand the DES certification program.
Virtual meetings have the potential to tie together all the elements of the new technologies – social media, mobile devices and connecting remote locations. While there are many high caliber meeting professionals in a field that has become increasingly professionalized, there is clearly a need to bring some consistency and standards to virtual meetings.
Another development on this front are a recent series of EventCamps, loosely coordinated conferences of meeting professionals who create open-source events so that they can all learn from one another in trying to create the meetings of the future.
And, while it’s important for meeting professionals to get ahead on virtual meetings, it’s equally important for suppliers – especially hotels – to stay on that path with them.
How many hoteliers are thinking about attracting more virtual meetings by having available the expertise and the right technology? Virtual meetings are here – and will get bigger. While it may be a loss for hotel not to be able to sell rooms to meeting attendees, there are many other ways to make money off virtual meetings – sponsorships, technology, connecting remote locations.
This initiative by bXb Online and the Virtual Edge Institute is a good step toward recognizing the growing importance of hybrid and virtual meetings. It’s still early in all this – but time to get on board.