What we learned about “The Future of Live Events” at TL Insider’s fireside chat

What we learned about “The Future of Live Events” at TL Insider’s fireside chat

Get key insights from Indigo, SJC Media, and TicketSauce + Nightout on pivoting online, the impact of technology, hybrid events, and moving forward into the new normal.

Get key insights from Indigo, SJC Media, and TicketSauce + Nightout on pivoting online, the impact of technology, hybrid events, and moving forward into the new normal.

June 24, 2021

On June 2, 2021, TL Insiders chatted with Jeremy Cammy, Vice President and Executive Producer at Indigo, Chantal Roy, Director of Membership Services at SJC Media, and Travis Fisher, CEO of TicketSauce + Nightout (an integrated event ticketing and marketing solution) to chat about the future of live events post-pandemic.

Here are the key takeaways:

Pivoting online

The in-store experience is key at Indigo. “I look at the design, the employees, and I choose songs that play in the store,” said Indigo’s Jeremy Cammy. “These things are part of the in-store retail experience. Hosting Events at Indigo is in our DNA.”

When asked about how Indigo adapted during the pandemic, Cammy listed Indigo’s three-step phases of its online pivot:
1. Connect
2. Engage
3. Monetization

TicketSauce + Nightout CEO Travis Fisher pivoted by focusing on products and features. “We converted and created virtual events that create engagement,” said Fisher.

He went on to mention that hybrid events are going to continue becoming more and more popular.

Similar to Fisher, Chantal Roy, Director of Membership Services at SJC Media, also sees a bright future for hybrid events. TL Insiders, Toronto Life’s membership program, has hosted over 100 virtual events since the start of the pandemic. But, as Roy pointed out, attendance has been decreasing. The TL Insiders team has in-person events booked in the calendar and now just waiting for the go-ahead.

The impact of technology and hybrid events

Cammy wonders what the safest way will be for people to visit Indigo to create that important in-person experience. He pointed to the stats that 82 per cent of event planners are planning in-person events and 33% have a virtual component.

“We don’t know what we don’t know,” says Cammy. “And if I did know, I’d play the lottery. As of May 26, based on reports, 52% of Canadians are anxious to return to a post-pandemic life. What does the post-pandemic social life look like? Are we prepared for large gatherings or more intimate gatherings? We humans crave social connection. Indigo brings so many customers in on a daily basis. What will be safest for everyone that visits us? Will hybrid events be a good model as we come out? When people are fully confident, at which point can we be at full capacity? Lots can change.”

Cammy continued to say that there is no denying that we cannot move forward without technology. It is moving at such a rapid pace and the pandemic has accelerated the creativity and technology that may have taken years otherwise.

Roy also addressed how technology has played a huge role for TL Insiders and how lucky we are to have the tools that technology has to offer us. While virtual events will continue, there will be an increase in hybrid events Roy predicts. TL Insiders will have a team that hosts virtual events as well as a team responsible for live events. Like Cammy, Roy reinforces those important physical interactions between humans that we are all craving.

Roy also mentions that it will be interesting to see how technology will re-pivot.

When asked about AI (Artificial Intelligence), Fisher agreed that it may be something of use in the near future.

“We’re at the tip; in the introductory stage,” said Fisher. ”It’s really cool but not mainstream yet. There’s still time before that. There are a lot of different software players. What’s beneficial to you? We focused on paid dynamics when it came to virtual events. We’re also not where we should be when it comes to full hybrid events. Technology engagement; there’s an opportunity there.”

Event predictions and moving forward

Cammy believes that events will be more mannered and that the megatrend in the events industry is going to revolve highly around safety; “safety first, safety first, safety first” as he says.

“None of us want a lawsuit or be the guinea pig,” says Cammy. We don’t want fingers pointed at us if people get infected at our events. Festivals, hybrid, drive-bys, creativity creating events are all megatrends.”

When asked what the data has been showing for what the future of events looks like, Fisher also spoke to the heavy focus on safety. But large live events are being planned as well.

“There are safe, small intimate events, but we also have large concerts planned,” said Cammy. “Outdoor events are going to be very popular. Creating the type of events that are safe and creative with the ability to have more volume of people in an outdoor setting. Festivalization will be the trend, very similar to the roaring 20s. Small events to 23,000- ticket events; it’s ranging.”

Roy’s response to what life will look like as we begin going back to live events? Self-expression.

“I think fashion will make a statement this year, especially at events,” says Roy. “People are excited to get dressed up like the roaring 20s and get back out there. People are sick of staying at home and not getting dressed up.”

Fisher agreed with Roy and added that engagement from celebrities and influencers will be high. As for Cammy, he believes people will be focused on being present, living in the moment, and living with intention for where they spend money and collect moments.

The future of events looks bright. Technology has connected the world in ways we have never seen before, and that will never disappear. But neither will the need and want for human interaction. During the entire conversation, the importance of human interaction was a common topic. As we begin returning to normal life, signing off and living in the moment surrounded by others will be a refreshing feeling.


Watch the full conversation here:

Related readings:

How to plan a virtual event (based on 14 months and 200 events of experience)

What we learned about the future of communications from TL Insider’s fireside chat with Bob Ramsay

5 Covid trends that are here to stay: Lessons from Canadian Business’ first leader-in-residence, P&G President Geraldine Huse

Beyond Content newsletter

Beyond Content is SJC’s monthly newsletter sharing media & marketing insights and inspiration across print and digital. Plus, get hand-picked stories and invites to upcoming events shaping the Canadian conversation from the brands of SJC Media.