Virtual event: EAG Online 2021 Expo

A highly successful virtual event attracting almost 1,000 attendees from across the globe

  • Advertising
  • Branding
  • Digital marketing
  • Exhibitions & events
  • Graphic design
  • Marketing strategy
  • Packaging
  • Web design & SEO

Challenge

To organise an engaging trade exhibition during lockdown when no face-to-face events were allowed

The Entertainment, Attractions and Gaming International Expo (EAG) is an annual trade exhibition that usually takes place at ExCeL London in January. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic the event organisers made the difficult decision to cancel the physical event in January 2021. This was because the UK was in lockdown and all visitor attractions were closed, which had a knock-on effect for leisure industry suppliers who would be exhibiting at EAG Expo.  

Instead, the organisers of EAG approached Oyster with the idea of staging a virtual event to keep the industry connected, informed and optimistic for the future during this very challenging period. In addition to creating an exciting, interactive virtual event, Oyster was also tasked with developing a low-budget promotional campaign that was sufficiently powerful to drive traffic and sign-ups to the event.

Solution 

An engaging live event with a virtual exhibition hall, a mix of live and pre-recorded seminars, breakout sessions and lots of opportunities for networking

EAG Online 2021 was originally going to be held on 20th and 21st January 2021, but it was later postponed to 20th and 21stApril since the extension of the furlough scheme meant that many people were unable to participate in January. The online event we created adopted a mix of live and pre-recorded content, breakout sessions and lots of opportunities for networking, courtesy of live and video chat functionality, enabling the event to be engaging, sociable and interactive despite being online. 

When creating EAG Online 2021, our design team carefully considered the visitor experience from start to finish, to ensure the event was extremely easy to navigate. The online event featured a striking entrance hall, leading to the virtual exhibition hall, a networking lounge and a seminar room, which featured a programme of live and pre-recorded seminars. The event gave exhibitors and attendees the opportunity to connect with other users online via live chat, video and text. In total, 31 exhibitors attended the event, choosing from bronze, silver and gold exhibition booth packages, each meticulously designed by our creative team.

We also developed avatars of key guests and speakers as well as a bespoke stand for one exhibitor which helped to bring a more human element to the virtual event.

As part of the project, we also created a digital user guide for exhibitors to explain the exhibition stand functionality. We also assisted with uploading each exhibitor’s content onto their stand to ensure all stands looked professional and engaging. This enabled us to ensure that videos and PDFs were all uploaded correctly.

Due to budget restrictions, our promotional activity for the 2021 event was scaled back compared to previous years, yet it still proved extremely effective. We developed a social media strategy and a schedule of social media posts to encourage leisure industry suppliers to exhibit at EAG Online 2021, as well as to persuade theme park and leisure operators to sign up to attend the event. Starting with twice weekly posts, we increased the frequency to daily social media posts closer to the event, which generated a dramatic increase in the number of sign-ups. Once the seminar programme was released, we used it as a hook to encourage further sign-ups since the topics were extremely relevant to our target audience.

In addition, we developed a programme of press releases to raise awareness of EAG Online 2021 to previous EAG attendees and the wider leisure industry via key trade press.


EAG broke new ground this year with its online event and I’m delighted it was so well-received. While nothing beats meeting face-to-face, Oyster worked incredibly hard and succeeded in creating an interactive and engaging international online event that bridged the gap and gave exhibitors and visitors the opportunity to connect and have meaningful conversations. We’re looking forward to working with Oyster again to promote EAG Expo 2022.

Karen Cooke, Director, Swan Events

Results 

A ground-breaking online event that boosted EAG’s profile and succeeded in bringing the industry together at a very difficult time 

Although on a smaller scale to the usual face-to-face exhibition, EAG Online 2021 succeeded in attracting over 30 exhibitors and nearly 1000 registrations. The 2-day event gave exhibitors and visitors alike the opportunity to come together during lockdown to discuss the future of the industry. With a combination of virtual exhibition stands, a lively, varied seminar programme and bacta’s (the sector’s trade body) networking lounge, manufacturers of coin-operated attractions and the wider entertainment and leisure industry had a platform to meet, exchange ideas and plan for the future.

The event exceeded all expectations; it was visually appealing, engaging and succeeded in projecting a professional image. It provided the industry with a much-needed platform to connect, do business, share information and plan for the future during an incredibly challenging period. Feedback from exhibitors and attendees alike was extremely positive and our client, Swan Events, was extremely happy with the end result.

We are now working with Swan Events to plan EAG 2022 which is returning to ExCeL as a face-to-face exhibition from 11th-13thJanuary 2022. This will be Oyster’s 4th year of working on EAG and, as confidence starts returning to the industry, we hope it will be the best show yet.

If you need assistance with organising a face-to-face or virtual event, please contact us to find out how we can help.

31 exhibitors
981 registrations
4 press releases
51 social media posts
20+ banner ads
3,624 social media followers