Event planning terms glossary

Event planning terms are nothing new. But throw in event tech terms like ‘breakout rooms’, ‘RTMP’, and ‘VOD’ that are crucial to know for hybrid and virtual event planning. And suddenly, it can all become a bit confusing.

Hybrid events are here to stay, with more than a third of event organizers saying they plan to put more money into these types of experiences over the next few years.

Since virtual and hybrid events are quickly becoming the new normal, it’s important to know the key event planning terminology behind each – especially if you’re the one organizing the event.

If you’re feeling unsure about common hybrid and virtual event terms, check out our event glossary for 150+ event planner words you need to know.

Accessibility is the process of ensuring your event is available to as many people as possible. Its main focus is on enabling access to people with disabilities. Examples of event accessibility are providing wheelchair access at in-person events, and live captioning at hybrid or virtual events.

Activity challenge is an engagement tool used to create challenges and generate points during virtual and hybrid events, usually through an event app. This encourages healthy competition between attendees and keeps them engaged.

The agenda is your event itinerary. It outlines each day of the event, including the location and time of all keynotes, breakout sessions, and any other event-related activities. Within a virtual event platform, participants can use the agenda to browse and sign up for event sessions.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to computer systems that simulate human intelligence. An example of using AI at in-person events is facial recognition software for check-in. A hybrid or virtual event example is data insights created during polls.

An amplifier is a technical device that increases the volume of sound. This equipment is important at in-person and hybrid events to ensure all participants can hear clearly.

API stands for ‘Application Programming Interface’. An API allows different software to communicate with each other and share data securely. It, therefore, allows your CRM software and event management software to link with your virtual event platform.

App is short for ‘application’, which refers to a software program developed for a specific purpose. Many event software companies have event mobile apps (IOS and Android) and web apps, so that audiences can participate in events via mobile or desktop.

An app menu is the main menu you can find in an application. An event app menu usually contains icons to access different functions and content.

An aspect ratio is how wide a screen display is compared to its height. It’s important to have the right aspect ratio so that presenters can ensure the content they share looks as clean as possible. The most common standard nowadays is 16:9 (widescreen).

Attendance tracking refers to the process of monitoring the journey attendees take before, during, and after events. For example, how and when they sign up for an event and which sessions they participate in. This tracking helps you measure your event ROI (return on investment), analyze marketing effectiveness, and follow up after your event.

Attendee relationship management is most easily carried out using specific software. It allows you to build a central database of your attendee’s contact information. That way, you can better track, manage, and maintain relationships with event participants.

The attrition rate measures how many of those who signed up for your event actually attend. To get your event attrition rate, simply divide the number of no-shows by the total number of people who signed up. For example, if 1,000 people sign up for an event and 700 end up attending, the rate will be 30%.

Abbreviated as A/V, audiovisual refers to the recording and video equipment, such as microphones, cameras, projectors, and other items used to record and live stream the event and its sessions.

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that makes a real-world environment interactive using virtual elements. This way, the event experience is enhanced for participants. An example of augmented reality at events is creating an interactive venue map that attendees can use to explore a venue.

You hold a B2B (business to business) event when you’re putting on an event with the aim of marketing to other businesses. For example, a trade show is a B2B event.

You hold a B2C (business to consumer) event when your event caters to your business’ customers. For example, a conference or a networking event are B2C events.

Backstage refers to the place you’ll manage your event if you use a virtual event platform. Here, you can add workspaces for different users, control your app, access event data, and more.

Some virtual event platforms allow you to generate badges, certificates, and PDFs for attendees. This is a great way to boost event engagement.

Bandwidth concerns the amount of data that you can send over an internet connection. It’s key to have top-quality bandwidth when live streaming to virtual or hybrid audiences.

An event manager submits an invitation to tender (ITT) to a potential event supplier. This describes in detail what the event manager needs support with. The supplier then submits a bid document to explain what services they can offer.

A blackout date is a specific period when you make your tickets or prices unavailable. This might be because you’ve had a lot of interest in your event and only have limited tickets.

Braindate is a third-party web-based platform that encourages conversations among event participants. It can be integrated with virtual event platforms.

If an app is branded, it means it’s customized to your brand with logos, colors, banners, designs, etc. This helps remind event attendees that your company is running the event and ensures your brand sticks in their minds.

A breakdown, load out, or strike are words used to describe the process of taking down equipment after an event.

Breakout rooms are small meeting rooms created for a virtual audience in which attendees can divide into small groups to discuss the topic at hand. Speakers can break up a larger audience into breakout rooms and then call everyone back together at the end of the session.

A Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) is an event professional who has a certification from the Convention Industry Council program. This means they’ve shown they can successfully run an event.

Chat is one of the most common features in hybrid and virtual event platforms and apps. It allows participants to engage in written one-to-one and group communication.

A chatbot is an automated program that simulates human conversation using a computer. You can set up a chatbot in virtual event apps to provide a kind of personalized concierge service. For example, if attendees need the WiFi password or want to know what time a session will start.

Check-in apps are applications you can download on mobile devices or computers to check attendees in when they arrive at your event. Many check-in apps now use QR codes to make checking participants in quick and easy.

Closed captions (aka live event captioning) refer to text that is simultaneously created from speech. Closed captions appear on screen in written form at the same time as an event presenter or host is speaking. They were originally developed for the hearing impaired and are now a way to create a more inclusive experience for virtual and hybrid event attendees.

Concurrent sessions happen when more than one session is running at the same time. You’ll need to let your hybrid event software team know how many concurrent sessions you plan to have so they can plan the live streaming details.

Conferences (also known as conventions) are formal events people attend to discuss a common interest, such as an industry or profession. They can be in-person, hybrid, or virtual.

A conference pack is a bundle of important information about your conference. It could be printed for in-person events or digitalized and shared on the event platform or app for hybrid and virtual events. It may include the event agenda and information about the speakers and sponsors, for example.

Configuration refers to how something will be set up and work within a hybrid or virtual event platform.

You may organize a consumer show when you want to present a new product or service to potential buyers. It’s a B2C event that can be in-person, hybrid, or virtual.

A content management system (CMS) is software that allows event planners, marketers, and anybody else in the event team, to create, edit, collaborate on, save, and publish digital content. Some hybrid and virtual event platforms have an in-built CMS.

‘Contingency plan’ is a professional way of saying ‘backup plan’. You should create a contingency plan before your event so that all those involved know what to do if there’s an emergency or if there are any last-minute changes.

Copyright issues can occur if you share or post something, for example, a research paper, without the copyright holder’s (usually the author’s) permission to do so. Ensure you don’t create any issues for your events by accidentally sharing copyrighted content on your event platform or app.

Cross-device check-in is a process that allows event managers to use different devices to check attendees in at the same time. One member of staff at the main door may use his/her mobile phone while another at a different entrance uses a tablet. Check-in is synced on the app across all devices.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) refers to a central database in which you can store customer and attendee details. It contains information such as contact and communication history. Event marketers use it to communicate with and track communication with event participants.

A dashboard is the main screen users first see when they enter a hybrid or virtual event platform. It provides an overview of data and functions that users can access easily.

Data residency is the physical or geographical location of a company’s information.

Day Delegate Rate (DDR) is the amount a venue charges per attendee per full-day event. The cost usually includes equipment, room hire, and catering.

You and your attendees can download this kind of app to your desktop and use it on your laptop. Hybrid and virtual event platform companies provide a desktop app.

Early bird registration is when you offer people the chance to buy a ticket for your event at a discounted price for a limited time when you first start promoting it. This is a great marketing technique for any type of event.

Email marketing automation is the ability to set up automatic emails that are sent to your event attendees. Some hybrid and virtual event platforms have this tool built into their software, so you can send customized emails directly from your event platform.

Event engagement is all about keeping your attendees captivated by getting them to interact with your event content. Hybrid and virtual event platforms have various engagement tools you can use. From polls, Q&A, and chats to quizzes, challenges, and applause.

An event is the gathering of people for a specific purpose. Event examples include conferences, trade shows, seminars, workshops, master classes, product launches, event sponsorships, expos, festivals, webinars, and networking sessions. Events can be in-person, hybrid, or virtual.

Event Management Software (EMS) is a collective term that refers to the hybrid and virtual event platforms you use to manage and run events.

Event marketing is the technique of organizing an event to promote a product or service. Other methods that go hand in hand with event marketing are content marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing.

Event tech is a collective term to talk about software, apps, platforms, and integrations developed to help event managers plan, run, and follow up after events. Hybrid and virtual event platforms and technical event equipment fall under the event tech category.

A feed is a hybrid or virtual event platform feature that event organizers (and sometimes attendees) can post on to share news or exchange information. It works in a similar way to a social media feed.

Floor plans clearly show the layout of a room or venue, so they are key when preparing contingency plans at in-person events. They contain specific details such as emergency exits, windows, and electrical outlets.

A force majeure clause is a clause included in most venue contracts. It basically states that the event venue is not responsible for events such as war, labor disputes, or “acts of God” like hurricanes, floods, or fires that could result in your event being canceled.

Gamification is an event engagement technique. It’s the process of turning elements of your event into a game to incite your attendees to actively participate and enjoy themselves.

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulations and sets forth guidelines for data collection from individuals residing in the European Union. If you’re collecting data from anyone in the EU for your event, you need to make sure you’re adhering to GDPR requirements.

GDPR compliance tools ensure that you meet all the GDPR requirements. This is essential for events that need to meet privacy and security obligations.

The go-live is the moment a virtual event, live session, or live streaming broadcast starts.

The green room is where you’ll have your speakers wait before their virtual event begins. In this space, you can run through technical preparations, so they know what to expect.

You can allow for group registration on your event landing page if you want to allow people to buy several tickets at once. This option is common for B2B events that are aimed at large audiences and enterprises.

An honorarium refers to the payment a guest speaker receives for his/her services.

The event host is the person in charge of running the event or live session. At a virtual or hybrid event, he/she is responsible for starting and ending the live stream broadcast, presenting and guiding the speakers, and introducing and handling live polls and Q&A.

A hybrid event involves two audiences: one that attends virtually through a digital event platform and one that attends your event in person at the venue.

A hybrid event platform is a software you use to facilitate your hybrid event and help make sure both audiences are as engaged as possible throughout the entire experience.

An in-person event is when your audience physically attends the event venue.

Installation & Dismantle (I&D) (or ‘Setup and Take Down’) is the method of setting up equipment before an event and taking it down after.

Integrations or API integrations are digital connections between platforms. A hybrid or virtual event platform has integrations with third-party providers so that data, for example, marketing information, can be synced between both types of software.

Interactivity refers to a set of tools that are added to a hybrid or virtual event app to boost attendee engagement.

An itinerary is also known as a schedule or program. You can provide your event team and attendees with an event itinerary, so they know what’s happening and when.

A keynote is a presentation that introduces the main topic of your event. It’s the opening speech and is usually carried out by your main speaker.

The keynote speaker is your main speaker, the person who opens your event. He/she literally sets the key or the tone of your event from the very beginning. He/she is often a public or famous icon who grabs the audience’s attention from the get-go.

Lead generation concerns getting potential customers’ interest in your product or service. A lead is someone who shows interest in a product or service but who perhaps isn’t ready to buy. Events can be a great technique for lead generation.

Live applause is an engagement tool that many hybrid and virtual event platforms have. It allows virtual attendees to click on the symbol of a hand on their desktop or mobile app during a live session to show their appreciation and interact with speakers directly.

A live broadcast refers to when the live stream is live and the audience can see and hear the speakers.

Live event captioning is the process of transforming speech into text on the screen while presenters are speaking. It boosts your event inclusivity and reach by making it accessible to those who are hard of hearing, but also to those who can’t have the volume turned on. Some virtual event platforms offer live event captioning in different languages to help you reach a worldwide audience.

Live previews (or stream previews) are a way to see the stream in the virtual event platform studio before your event goes live.

Live stream overlays are logos, graphics, and designs that you can place within your live streams to brand your event even more.

Live streaming is when a live event, discussion, or session is shown in real time over the internet via software to virtual event attendees, so they can participate along with the in-person attendees.

Load in is the time in which an event organizer can set up event equipment. Load out is the time in which he/she must dismantle the equipment and remove it from the venue.

The event MC (Emcee) is the host who provides entertainment at your event. This role is also known as the ‘Master of Ceremonies’.

MEEC is short for ‘Meetings, Expositions, Events, and Conventions’. It refers to these event industry sectors.

MICE is short for “Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions”. It refers to these event industry sectors.

A mobile event app usually links to your hybrid/virtual event platform. Event participants access it on their smartphones and can engage with the sessions, network with other attendees, and more.

A moderator controls the flow of panel discussions, asking the panelists questions and helping them move on to other topics. They may also ask questions from the audience, including virtual attendees.

Multimedia is the term used to describe content that contains different formats, such as text, images, video, and audio.

A native application refers to specific application software that is developed for use on a particular device.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a measurement you can use to understand how your attendees felt about the event experience. You simply send them a survey asking them to give a rating on specific topics to determine the score.

Networking involves interacting with other people and exchanging information with the aim of developing professional relationships. Some virtual event platforms have networking features to help attendees connect.

A no-show occurs when someone signs up for your event but doesn’t attend.

A notification is an event update attendees can receive in the mobile event app. It often contains information about session time changes or updates about what’s going on with exhibitors.

On-demand content is recorded content from your event that is placed in an online resource library, so attendees can watch it whenever and wherever they please.

An onsite event is an event that takes place in a physical venue.

Open broadcaster software (OBS) is third-party open source software used for video recording and live streaming.

Open rates are measurements event marketers use to see how many people have opened an email they sent. Some event platform providers allow you to track this statistic.

An overhead projector is a piece of equipment you can use at your in-person or hybrid event to project enlarged images onto a screen or wall.

A PA system is short for ‘Public Address System’. It’s equipment that amplifies the sound from one room to another. That means participants can hear the same thing from different areas of the venue.

Participants are the people attending your event, whether they’re attending virtually or in person.

Participant matching is the name of a virtual platform feature that collects participants’ common interests, fields, and skills. It uses this information to help with networking and knowledge sharing during events.

A poll is a question, or multiple questions, that are sent out by you or your staff members via the mobile event app to your attendees throughout the event. Sometimes it’s during a live session to encourage engagement, and other times it could be a way to get real-time feedback.

Post-event feedback involves asking your attendees for their comments after your event. You could do this using surveys or interviews. It’s a way for you to understand the success of your event and how you can improve in the future.

A post-event report describes brings all the details of the event in one place. For example, the number of attendees and no-shows, the total cost, and the ROI. This helps determine your event’s success.

Pre-event feedback involves asking attendees for information about themselves, usually via a questionnaire. This is a way to understand who will be attending your event and who your leads are.

You can offer pre-registration to your attendees if you want to give them the chance to sign up for a session before the day of the event.

A prize store is a place where attendees can redeem the points they earned throughout your event in exchange for a prize. This is a great way to keep your audience engaged and leave a lasting impression.

A pro forma invoice is a bill that a supplier provides before they deliver a service, so you know how much it will cost.

A proposal is an offer document a vendor writes and sends to a prospective buyer when they have inquired about their product or services. In the proposal, vendors aim to meet the buyer’s requirements and give details about costs and availabilities.

Push notifications are the types of notifications that show up on someone’s smartphone screen even when they aren’t using the event app. Encourage participants to enable these notifications so they receive important event updates.

Push to screen refers to the action of displaying a Q&A question on screen during a live stream. This is so that the host and speakers can answer the question and the audience can see what question they are responding to.

Q&A (questions & answers) is a feature that many hybrid and virtual event platforms have. It’s a tool that allows participants to send questions to the host and speakers during a live event. You can moderate questions and choose which questions to show to the audience on screen by using the ‘push to screen’ function. This is a fantastic way to keep your audience engaged.

A QR code is a black and white square made up of customized pixels. Smartphone users can scan these and be taken to the event’s website, where they can purchase tickets or find relevant information about speakers, dates, locations, agendas, and more. Event organizers can also use them for event check-in at in-person events.

A QR scanner is a device used to scan QR codes quickly and easily.

Release notes refer to the technical documentation that event software companies produce and distribute when there are product updates. They very briefly describe a new product or specific changes that have been made to the current product. It’s key to keep up to date with this information to make the most of your hybrid or virtual event platform.

A Request for Information (RFI) is the step before a Request for Proposal. It’s a document in which you enter all your research about potential vendors to gather information about their products and services.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) is a document where you enter all the information about your virtual or hybrid event and then present it to vendors (venues, caterers, AV companies) to get bids. You may need one for hybrid event platforms, event management systems, and other businesses you’ll work with for your event.

Return on Event (ROE) is about the impact an event has on a business overall. Event marketers calculate this figure by asking questions such as “How many product signups did we get after our event?” ROE helps you drive your event strategy.

Return on Investment (ROI) measures the ratio between the net profit made after your event and the amount you spent on producing your event. This helps you understand your event’s financial performance.

RTMP stands for real-time messaging protocol. This technology helps make it possible to live stream your event and cut down on latency or buffering issues.

RTMPS streaming is a streaming partner that works through RTMPS capturing and allows you to stream to your participants via your event app from a separate broadcasting tool.

A Run of Show (ROS) is a short manual that keeps your event team on the same page. It briefly lists timing, deadlines, and other key information.

Sessions are smaller meetings or workshops that can occur in a breakout room during a large hybrid or virtual event.

Participants’ sightline is their ability to see everything on stage from where they are. It’s particularly crucial for hybrid and virtual events because you want your virtual audience to be able to see everything that’s going on, so they feel like they’re physically there.

Simulive is a merge of the words ‘simulated live’. It describes pre-recorded content that you schedule to play on the day of the event. You can combine the pre-recorded video with live polls to boost virtual engagement.

Simultaneous interpretation is when a qualified interpreter interprets what’s being said orally while the presenter is speaking.

Single sign-on (SSO) is an authentication method used on many hybrid and virtual event platforms. It allows users to securely log in on multiple applications and websites using the same credentials.

Event organizers conduct site visits when they go to see what a venue is like and whether it’s suitable for their event.

Speakers are the people who are talking at your event, whether they are in person or contributing virtually.

Sponsors are companies or organizations that support and attend your event in return for brand exposure, leads, participant data, etc.

Hybrid and virtual event platforms have studios that are the virtual equivalent of live production studios. This tool allows you to live stream your events.

A tech stack is a collective term to refer to all the digital tools and platforms you use for your events. Examples of software that could be in your event stack are event management software, CRM platforms, event apps, and video conferencing tools.

Technical rehearsals are must-haves for any type of event, but especially for hybrid and virtual ones. You should rehearse all the technicalities to make sure everything will run smoothly on the day of the event.

Some hybrid and virtual event software include templates you can use to help you build your events. That means you don’t have to start completely from scratch and can save valuable time in the event planning stage.

Theme editors are a feature that customizable event platforms have. They allow you to personalize the colors, logo, and graphics of your event app to match your brand.

Ticketing analytics allow you to analyze all the information about ticket purchases, including the profit, revenue, average price, and the number of tickets sold, for example. Event registration software usually provides this tool.

Trade shows are B2B exhibitions where companies promote their products or services. They are usually for companies from the same industry but don’t have to be.

Transcriptions are documents that contain a speech, presentation, or discussion from an event. These can be used for on-demand content or content repurposing after an event.

Video calls are a way for people to communicate face to face using technology. During virtual events, you can use video breakouts, so that attendees can communicate in groups as if they were attending an in-person event.

Video chats are a feature of some virtual event platforms that allow participants to chat with one another during one-to-one or group video calls at events.

Video conferencing is the real-time, two-way communication of video and audio between two different locations or time zones. You’ll use this for breakout sessions and other events where virtual attendees interact with each other or with in-person audience members.

Video on-demand is a recorded session or video from an event that people can view whenever and wherever it suits them. This is a great way to make event content available to those who couldn’t attend.

Virtual booths are spaces within large virtual and hybrid events where sponsors and exhibitors can market their products and services to attendees. They can upload resources about what they offer and also set up breakout rooms to interact with attendees directly.

Instead of an event at a physical location, a virtual event is held entirely online and provides a place for attendees to network and interact virtually.

A virtual event platform is a technology that hosts all aspects of your virtual event, from the virtual exhibition hall to the event registration information.

A virtual private network (VPN) protects people’s internet connection and privacy online by encrypting the connection. This is key when establishing a protected network connection at your hybrid and virtual events.

Virtual reality (VR) is an artificial, immersive experience that can be similar to or entirely different from real life. It is an interactive environment created by computer-generated simulation. It’s a great way to engage attendees at your events.

You create a waitlist for people who sign up for an event or a session that has no spaces left. If a place becomes available, you can offer people from your waitlist the chance to attend your event.

You and your attendees can use this kind of app on your desktop browser. Hybrid and virtual event platform providers have a desktop app.

Webcasts are presentations or videos broadcasted on the internet using live streaming technology.

A webinar is a smaller virtual event, usually focused on one specific topic a presenter or panel will discuss. It can also be hosted on a virtual event platform.

WebRTC is an HTML5 technology that allows video communication and audio to work on web pages without installing any kind of plug-in. This technology helps power webinars and other virtual events.

A wrap-up refers to the meeting or debrief you hold straight after an event. It’s a way to bring together event data, celebrate your event’s success, and find ways to improve for future events.

When it comes to virtual and hybrid events, there’s a lot to learn – and a lot to do to make sure your event provides a strong ROI.

Now that you’re familiar with these essential event terms, you might feel ready to book a demo with our hybrid and virtual event experts who can show you how SpotMe’s event platform works.

And remember, if you hear any event planner terms and forget what they mean, come back to this glossary to jog your memory.

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