The Emerging Event Trends for 2022
The pandemic accelerated changes that would have taken years to catch on. The event industry is still catching up and 2022 is bringing with it new challenges, new trends, and new innovations, changing the way we work and engage with one another and driving us into a new universe – the metaverse!
1. Hybrid is Here to Stay
With the penetration of advanced technology and growing competitiveness in the market, event professionals who look to a future that allows for more in-persons events, have started to include hybrid and entirely virtual events in their portfolio.
While there are many benefits to in-person meetings that cannot be replicated virtually, we will continue to see gateway-type events such as industry summits and regional meetings hosted as virtual events to minimize costs and maximize content distribution, reach and syndication.
According to event professional community EventMB’s 2021 research, 67% of event planners stated that hybrid is the future of events. Practically speaking, hybrid will continue to be dominant trend and it will likely include many different configurations of in-person and virtual offerings. With innovation at its core, these events are designed to be interactive, dynamic, and engaging from start to end.
2. Events Become Powerful PR Tool
Allowing attendees to participate from wherever they sit in the world – either in-person or online – offers everyone flexibility and convenience and allows events to expand their impact regardless of geography.
With a virtual/hybrid event you will get a full video recording of your entire event (including slides, speakers, online Q&A, etc.) which you can archive on your website or other platform(s) to share for years to come. You can also edit the full program into smaller segments/highlights and re-purpose the content on your social media channels or other platforms to extend the life and reach of your event forever. In this way, online events have become a form of mass communication akin to PR.
As the reach of events expands, the messaging will likely change to accommodate a less niche audience at the top of the sales funnel. In addition, newer platforms are curated to offer maximum visibility to event sponsors, organizers, panelists, and even attendees who wish to network within and outside their community.
3. Sustainability is the Key
With the rise in awareness towards environment conservation, sustainable event planning has caught the eyeballs of the industry in recent years. Now more than ever, we are aware of the impact that meetings & events can leave on the environment.
A truly sustainable event will be one that considers the environmental, social, and economic effects, and aims to reduce it. From reusable cutlery to eco-friendly swag and sustainable event venues, event organizers do everything they can to ensure their events are environment friendly. Commonly referred to as green events, the notion has seen initiatives focusing on creating communities that save the environment and sharing social responsibility of organizing events as their key roles.
4. Physical & Virtual Safety
Despite the decline of the pandemic, event safety will likely never go out of style. As we welcome back in-person events, event planners are implementing best practices that allow their attendees to feel safe, comfortable, and inclusive. Expect to continue to see pre-screening requirements, socially distanced layouts, protective personal equipment, specialized cleaning crews, and advanced air-filtration systems at events in the coming years.
Though virtual events bypass these health risks, they present new risks in cybersecurity. The FBI reported a 300% increase in cybercrimes since 2020.
To respond to this need for increased online security, Industry experts recommend adding two-factor authentication, using a VPN, and using a password manager among others. The next step is to only use reliable platforms and digital tools that have the appropriate cybersecurity protocols and accreditations. For example, companies that are ISO 27001 compliant follow strict and secure frameworks when dealing with data and are far more trustworthy than those that aren’t.
5. Focus on creating Experiential Events
84% of event planners agree that the attendee experience remains a crucial factor in creating successful events and that technology remains key in enabling new event experiences. 68% of marketers believe it is harder to provide networking opportunities in the virtual world comparing to the unique value proposition of face-to-face events.
The more event planners cater to the needs of attendees and provide them with ways to better engage, by shifting away from a focus on content to transformational experience, the more valuable and memorable the event will be. Tools like online ticketing, remote registration, seating, and real-time interpretation have all added to the overall experience.
We will likely see this trend develop further, because the success of an event isn’t measured just by how many people attend, but also the quality of their experiences and whether those people felt involved.
6. Increase in Events Technology Investment
To ensure events continue engaging attendees, 59% of companies assessed plan to increase their investment in event technology in 2022. Event technology that integrates virtual platforms with on-site event execution and pre-and post-event communications allows all attendees, whether in-person or online, to engage fully with the content, presenters, sponsors, and other attendees. And that’s key for optimizing the event experience for all attendees, but also for generating the business outcomes stakeholders expect. By building on the popularity and tech-enabled viability of virtual and hybrid event programs, event professionals can deliver real results for their companies and enjoy a productive 2022.
Across the globe, event professionals anticipate a year of real recovery for the industry. They’re not surprised by the event resurgence they’ve been planning for it.
Contact us now to check if your event strategy is applying the lessons of the pandemic so you generate more impactful events this year.