Even while several key events were getting cancelled or postponed resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, a Tri-City tech business maintained its mission of firming connection and conversation.
Forekast is a website that keeps its users up-to-date on events, dates and popular trends — locally, provincially and even internationally.
This can range from entertainment and sports to unusual weather sightings and holidays in hopes of keeping the community connected, even if that meant staying at home.
Justin Kerby started Forekast in 2019. He currently runs a social media marketing agency and explains the idea came when National Margarita Day was nearing and needed to create awareness in just one day.
After completing the campaign with hours to spare, he tells Tri-City News that was the "eureka" moment to kickstart a new trend forecasting base.
"Existing websites that highlight national days of significance are full of ads and don’t offer any way to add the events to your calendar. They also only focus on holidays - they don’t highlight any of the current events that marketers need to know about," says Kerby.
"We decided to build Forekast as a tool to use at our agency, but it’s taken on a life of its own. Marketers, PR professionals, business owners and journalists all use the tool to see what’s going to be trending and schedule content around those topics. We also have a large group of non-marketers that use the website just so they know what to look forward to throughout the week."
And that's generated a lot of attraction to the site itself, Kerby adds, noting that users — currently at more than 10,000 — can add content to alert others about upcoming events or notable popular "days," which has become ideal with the prospect of social media influencers or anyone looking to contribute to the conversation.
The Port Coquitlam resident says this has included:
- Solar eclipses
- Movie or television premieres
- Sporting events
- Video game releases
- National days of interests or holidays
- Social media trends or hashtags
- And more!
"Our users see Forekast as a resource that they can use to plan ahead — whether that’s planning what to watch on TV next week, or planning what to post about on social media," adds Kerby.
"Ultimately, we think that our goal is to make our user’s calendars packed with more things to look forward to - that’s something that no other event-finding website is doing."
When COVID-19 became a global pandemic, it was roughly a year after Forekast was created, leaving Kerby and his team to worry if website visitors would deter away.
"But it did the opposite," he says.
"People wanted to know about what was still happening, what wasn’t being cancelled, and instead of wanting something to look forward to — like a new show called Tiger King or the UFC’s Fight Island — they almost needed something to look forward to. We’ve seen huge adoption during the last year and a lot of that can be attributed to people proactively looking for more things to look forward to."
With Step Three of B.C.'s restart plan coming into effect July 1, it also comes with the hope of more in-person events Forekast could see pop-up on its website as people aim to reconnect with the gatherings they missed the past 16 months.
Ultimately, Kerby believes the calendar can grow with more local campaigns as that's been the primary focus of most communities during COVID-19.
"We want to keep adding resources and features like local filters and continue on our path of becoming the place where you go to find out what’s happening," he explains.
"Our users are awesome people and I’m not just pandering to the crowd. They’re people who are passionate. [...] We’ve seen a ton of users take responsibility for adding events to the site in categories they’re passionate about, and that’s been really cool to see. Users have made Forekast their own and we’re much better for it."