Virtual presence and the rise of the phantom delegate


Callum Gill, head of insight at the creative communications agency, DRPG, was welcomed onto the Brand and Buzz Stage at last year’s Event Tech Live. Here, he talked the audience through virtual and phantom delegates.

Callum kicked off his session describing the rise of the concept of brand purpose (“the natural evolution of CSR communications to more purposeful brands.”) This extends to how environmentally friendly events are as well as how event technology is utilised. He stated that the younger generations are keenly critical of how events are deploying technology.

In 2016, millennials made up 36% of the average organisation. That figure is expected to rise to 48% in 2020 and 75% in 2030. This, Callum claimed, is why organisers need to take into account the criticisms of the younger generations if they are to be successful with their events.

In the past, generations judged others and prided themselves on material matters: what watch they wore, what car they drove, etc. However, millennials strive for more experiences, for example, eating at pop-up restaurants and attending festivals.


These “event connoisseurs” expect to be provided with suitable and practical technology that will allow them to publish their attendance online.

“The gap between tolerance and expectation is narrowing extremely quickly. [Millennials] are the ones that interrogate our events the most. We’ve had questions from Generation Z and the millennials that go along the lines of ‘why did you book us into this hotel when there’s an Airbnb down the road that’s cheaper and more environmentally sound? Why are we using this coach company when you can get Ubers that are hybrid and they won’t impact the environment as much?’”

Organisers need to learn to ask these questions themselves while designing their events in order to satisfy the critical eyes of their younger audience members.

Event Tech Live is the world’s leading event technology expo and multi-strand conference. It is returning for its seventh edition at the Old Truman Brewery, London, on 4th-5th November 2020.

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This footage was kindly captured by our friends at First Sight Media.

Sam is the assistant content manager for Event Industry News (EIN). Sam is involved in publishing news stories, videos and podcasts. Sam also collates the latest stories for the EIN e-newsletter. If you have a press release or story you think we might be interested to know about please email