Virtual Events 101 with Allie Magyar

What is the difference between a webinar and a virtual event? What is a hybrid event? With the event landscape changing overnight we have all adopted these terms. Allie Magyar, an event expert, shares the ins and outs of a virtual event!


How did you get into the events world?

I got into the events world when I was 18, I loved street racing. I was a street racer in Portland. That’s how I got started. I did all the movie premiers for the Fast and the Furious. I decided I wanted to through a car show and bring those people together, I ended up with $45,000 in my pocket. I decided to reinvest and for 6 years I really cut my teeth on what it meant to be a lifestyle trade show producer. That is my start. Then I pivoted into corporate events. I took a job at a company in Seattle and quickly understood there are huge opportunities in corporate events to do something different and better. The founder and I didn’t align and after 6 months I said I would leave or she sell to me.

As a part of that, fax machines were my technology. I looked at my team and we were planning events for Microsoft and I decided to build software to first help them. I built the software and saw it help my team and I saw the industry needed it so they can spend more time in strategic and I decided to spend more time on software and brought Hubb to market. I’m in the software side with a meeting planner hat on.

The term virtual event gets thrown around quite a bit, how are you seeing organizations shift to virtual and how is it coming together.

The statement that I keep saying, a webinar is not a virtual event. You probably have 100’s of email invitations saying come to my virtual event that is just a webinar. It’s been interesting to watch our industry pivot and change and the realization that events happen because of human connection. As I think of virtual events in today’s day and age and as we make the transition to hybrid, virtual events are basically thinking about planning remote experiences for your attendees. A lot of planners think they haven’t done one and don’t know how to do a virtual event, but it’s not different it’s just in a different medium.

Meetings and events will always be in my heart. As we saw this whole world start to shift and change, my phone started to be a crisis line for meeting planners. Everyone was triggered personally and professionally so it’s hard to do new things. I decided to throw an event for the industry to get our hands on virtual and explore everything, what worked and what didn’t work. It was just for us, not our customers. From idea to event it was less than 6 weeks.

What are mistakes or pitfalls we should avoid?

Always remember the 101, what are your goals, objectives? Then align everything you are doing in the virtual event to achieve those. So many people people are getting locked into virtual experiences that are cookie cutter looking like a competitor one week prior.

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