The events industry remains forever changed by COVID-19. Even with a return to in-person events, hybrid and virtual options are here to stay. And new formats bring new lingo (or enhanced definitions of old terms).

Whether you’re a green event planner or a seasoned pro looking to brush up on all the latest acronyms, learn to talk shop with the following event industry terms glossary.

Talk the talk: event industry terms

From A/V to VoD, crack the code on these must-know event terms.

1. A/V 

A/V stands for audio/visual and refers to the equipment used to power sound and visual technology.

2. Accessibility tools

Accessibility tools refer to the tools required to promote accessibility at your event, including translators, live captions, and visual adjustments, such as text magnifier and content scaling.

3. Agenda

An agenda, whether printed or digital, provides an event schedule that features times and locations for conference sessions, meals, happy hours, and more.

4. Attrition rate

An attrition rate, or a decrease in attendance compared to what was expected, is calculated by dividing event no-shows by the total number of people registered for the event. 

5. B2B

B2B stands for business to business, and in terms of event production, means an event is geared toward other businesses (trade shows, for example). 

6. B2C

B2C stands for business to consumer. A B2C event’s audience is customers or the general public.

7. Back of house

Back of house is an event industry term that refers to the event professionals not seen by attendees, such as culinary or A/V teams.

8. Branding

The elements that tie together a cohesive event — such as a logo, hashtag, app, stage design, swag, and more — make up the event branding.

9. Breakout rooms

At in-person events, breakout rooms are meeting rooms used for small group sessions, which take place as part of a larger event. With virtual events, large groups of attendees can be broken into video breakout rooms.

10. Budget

In the event world, a budget can be used to track the total time or total dollars allocated to or needed for an event.

11. Certified Meeting Professional

A Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) is an individual who has received CMP certification through the Events Industry Council. This certification — globally recognized as a badge of excellence in the events industry — requires experience, education, and passing an exam.

12. Click-through rate

Click-through rate (CTR) is the ratio of users who click on a specific call to action compared to the total users who viewed the page or email. An example is how many users clicked the registration button in an email versus how many people opened the email. 

13. Community platform

Community platform refers to a virtual space where a group of users with common interests or goals can connect with one another.

14. Contact tracing

Contract tracing is the process of identifying and warning people who may have come in contact with an infected person. Most recently, this term is used in context with COVID-19.

15. Cross-device check-in

Cross-device check-in means event organizers are able to check in attendees using a variety of devices, such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops. 

16. Customer relationship management

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a technology used to manage your company or organization’s relationships and interactions with customers and attendees. This helps marketing and events teams communicate with attendees and track engagement.

17. Dashboard

A dashboard, or report, is a graphical user interface that displays key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to a particular business objective. An event dashboard consolidates and displays event data. 

18. Data & analytics

Data refers to information and statistics collected, and analytics is the process of interpreting the data for business insights.

19. Day delegate rate 

A day delegate rate (DDR), or a venue’s rate, is calculated by the number of attendees per day at full capacity. 

20. Event management software (EMS)

Event management software refers to the software used to power events. Impactful EMS should include management features for check-in, attendee engagement, sponsor promotion, event production, live streaming, networking, and more.

21. Gamification 

Gamification is a way to incentivize virtual, in-person, or hybrid event engagement with friendly competition. Examples include networking contests, trivia, and prize drawings.

How RFMS uses gamification to boost attendee engagement at events

See how RFMS used event gamification to level up their hybrid trade show.

22. Hybrid event

A hybrid event combines in-person and virtual components to engage attendees no matter their attendance preference.

23. In-person event

An in-person event takes place entirely in person at a physical venue.

24. Itinerary

An itinerary is another word for agenda and gives attendees an outline of the day’s schedule. Events professionals also use itineraries internally to provide event staff with a guide for what happens and where they need to be at certain times throughout the event.

25. Keynote

A keynote, typically someone high-profile, refers to the main speaker of the event, who delivers remarks that pertain to the event theme. 

26. Live streaming

Live streaming — used to reach virtual event attendees — is the process of using video to broadcast event happenings.

27. Polling

Polling is when you survey event attendees. It’s used to promote engagement. Polling can be as simple as a raise of hands, but event management platforms allow you to poll in-person and virtual attendees at the same time through an app. 

28. Q&A

Q&A stands for question and answer. Speakers typically hold a Q&A session after they finish their presentations. Modern event software allows virtual attendees to participate in Q&As as well.

29. ROI

ROI, or return on investment, requires comparing event spend to the event’s benefit to your company or organization. Event planners must choose how to measure benefit, whether it be attendees, leads, or dollars raised.

30. Run of show

Run-of-show is a by-the-minute document given to event management teams to communicate what is required of them and when. 

31. Speaker

A speaker is a person designated to address attendees at an event.

32. Sponsorship

Sponsorship refers to the funds contributed to the event cost by a business in exchange for visibility in front of event attendees.

33. Venue

A venue is a location in which an event takes place. A venue can be a physical or online space.

34. Video-on-demand

Video-on-demand (VoD) is pre-recorded video that a viewer can watch at their leisure. VoD allows attendees to watch sessions they may have missed at a later time, or to rewatch sessions they found particularly useful.

35. Virtual event

A virtual event takes place entirely online.

Event industry terms: bonus term

We hope you found this event industry terms glossary helpful. And while you’re here, might we add a bonus term?

Webex Events: an all-in-one event management software that powers continuous engagement to drive better results for virtual, in-person, and hybrid events. 

Schedule a free demo today to learn how Webex Events can help you host exceptional hybrid, virtual, and in-person events.

Yvonne deFuria
Yvonne deFuria

Yvonne is an Event Production Manager at Webex Events (formerly Socio). With over 10 years of event management experience, she is passionate about creating memorable and engaging events.