Tech Giants: JUNO CEO Josh Hotsenpiller on Building Event Ecosystems

July 27, 2021

When Josh Hotsenpiller developed the idea of a platform launching events into the virtual world, he sought a name that matched what he believed to be an out-of-this-world idea. Juno, the name of a satellite orbiting Jupiter, immediately jumped out. 

JUNO, Hotsenpiller’s company, has been firing on all cylinders since launching in mid-2020. Already a successful entrepreneur through CrowdHub and three previous start-ups, Hotsenpiller saw there was space in the ever-evolving events industry to reach a new level of connection. He has not so quietly been building an all-star team to meet the needs of the company’s 61-and-growing clients.

At the core of JUNO are “seven Es” — principles that serve as a North Star as the platform takes off. They are:

  • Expect Greatness
  • Energy
  • Effort
  • Engaged
  • Excellence
  • Earn Everything
  • End Well

The energy certainly comes from JUNO's exuberant CEO. Here, he walks — well, maybe flies — us through his vision of the hybrid events world.

With the rush to move back to in-person, why is there a need for virtual event platforms?

People are excited to get back physically, but I think there’s a realization that we leave a lot of people out of the connection who can't travel. People are now connecting virtually all the time, whereas we used to see people and share ideas maybe once or twice a year. So what we really see is moving away from a singular live event and into a living ecosystem year-round. Organizations will keep their physical time but are realizing it's time to move into the actual virtual engagement world year-round.

Travel is expensive, it's more expensive than it's ever been. And there is inflation. We don't know what's going to happen to our economy but inflation seems to be on the horizon. These things are going to affect travel.

What will 365 engagement really look like?

There are two things to consider. One is the power of networking. One of the things we're coming out with our second screen companion experience is where members can actually record like a 15-30 second video of themselves and then it’s similar to a dating app, and we find people you should connect with.

The other is themes. It has to be the right subject matter, and you find 14 other people or experts talking about a subject and you join in.

What do you make of Zoom fatigue?

I think everybody gets fatigued about everything. People just love to say it but don’t really mean it. Do we want to do every single thing on a video? No, but if all of a sudden we said we're going to take away Zoom, how do you think people would respond? Nobody wants to be stuck on any one thing. And when they do, they complain about it. If all I could go to was one restaurant, I'd get fatigued.

How should content be dispersed online?

I think the world is all about microlearning. It's three to five minutes in chunks, and if they want to go to the next three to five minutes they can, and if they don't, they won’t. For example, with Netflix, when you get done with one season or episode, and that little ticker comes to watch the next one in under a second. I think it's all about taking your content, putting it into micro experiences. Let them build on each other and then let the user go at their pace.

Do you think the rise of virtual events will negatively affect in-person?

If you look at it, you realize that most organizations get 15%, maybe 20% of their members to show up at a conference. That’s 80% of your audience who did not show up to your grand Super Bowl. Are you going to just leave them on the field? I don't think so. I think there's a big opportunity for both.

Plus, it’s smart business, right? 

Why would any of us want to bet everything on one day? It just defies logic. I think the idea is to want a vision, tools and strategies that drive revenue all year long.

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.