The event business has been pushed to undergo significant alterations during the last two years. We were expected to go from large-scale in-person events to virtual experiences that required some creative thinking.
Though in-person events returned in 2021, each Covid variant throws us a new curveball. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned from the pandemic, it’s that well-prepared event planner can bat these curve balls out of the park.
With the start of a new year, let’s take a look at some of the event trends we expect to see in the coming months.
Based on EventMB trend report of 2022, we’ve compiled our top 7 event trends:
Virtual rewrites the event professional’s blueprint
Virtual events are here to stay, industry experts believe. While some may be resistant to this new reality, a paradigm shift has occurred, and ignoring it is unlikely to yield many benefits.
Virtual will not vanish. We need to envision a future in which the majority of our work will be virtual. We need to plan accordingly.
More than half of event professionals are comfortable or savvy about virtual event technology. As a result of the pandemic, event planners are increasingly using event technology. They have been compelled to become acquainted with virtual technology offers if they were not previously. Less than a quarter of planners are uncomfortable with or completely unfamiliar with virtual event technology. This is a positive development for the industry, as fewer and fewer planners appear to be resistant to technology.
It’s unsurprising that technology firms were among the first to use virtual event platforms. During the pandemic, #TeamDOREMi conducted hundreds of virtual events and then leveraged the data-driven insights from those online encounters to reinvent their in-person conference in 2021.
Apart from affecting future in-person encounters, virtual event technology enables event professionals to diversify their toolkits and experiment with new techniques.
2. The Return of In-Person Event
The resurgence of in-person gatherings is a community-driven phenomenon.
Are you eager to return to on-site events but unsure how to proceed?
You are not alone in this. Only a quarter of event professionals is confident in their ability to plan in-person events.
While significant work has been achieved toward the restoration of physical gatherings, new COVID variants can give the impression that the proverbial light at the end of an ever-lengthening tunnel is approaching.
Without a doubt, the way back to in-person will be unfamiliar territory for many organizers, with additional impediments such as changeable health and safety standards.
However, uncertainty is nothing new when it comes to in-person events. Speakers have been late for flights, and caterers have been late for deliveries. After all, things do happen.
The key to handling uncertainty, particularly in light of the ongoing pandemic is to anticipate potential obstacles in advance and to plan with the community in mind.
When planning in-person events for 2022, keep these principles in mind.
a) Consistently establish and adhere to ground rules
Establish a solid foundation by defining a set of rules that your event staff will adhere to at all times. While policies and social conventions change over time, your rulebook remains consistent throughout the planning process, ensuring that everyone understands what to anticipate.
Establishing consistent criteria also enables an event staff to focus on how they will foster connections and community among on-site guests – rather than on adhering to the week’s area legislation.
b) Budget for further health and safety measures.
New health and safety regulations necessitate the addition of new line items to your event budget. Rapid testing, collecting confirmation of vaccination, and requiring masks all incur additional expenditures.
Increase your budget to include health and safety elements that will benefit your community –don’t allow the additional expense to catch you off guard later in the planning process.
c) Communicate plans proactively
Once you’ve established event details, connect with all parties involved early and frequently.
Be forthright and proactive. Inform them of both plans A and B so they are aware of what would happen if you are forced to use the contingency plan. Do not let attendees forget that your primary concern is for their safety and comfort. Additionally, effective communication aids in the development and maintenance of partner connections.
Finally, unpredictability will always be a factor in arranging in-person events. And, while event professionals are among the most competent at coping with the unknown, constantly worrying about how and if the show will proceed as planned can take a toll.
3. Hybrid is the Future
If virtual events require more deliberate planning, hybrid events do as well.
Widely regarded as the future of events, the hybrid format actually spans the spectrum from a straightforward, stream-the-stage approach to specialized, complimentary in-person and virtual experiences brought to life with cutting-edge technology in a television production style.
She emphasizes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to hybrid events and encourages fellow organizers to adjust the hybrid model according to budget, resources, and what is best for the event’s audience.
In 2022, anticipate deliberate innovation and testing across hybrid experiences. Hartline suggests a few viable strategies for your future hybrid event strategy.
Consider the relationship between the physical and virtual components.
Consider substituting a series of smaller, more intimate networking and community events for huge, in-person events, along with a large virtual experience that precedes or follows them.
When it comes to hybrid, there are no hard-and-fast rules; thus, if you have the budget and resources, think creatively about how the on-site and online components complement one another.
Provide online attendees with exclusive material and experiences.
Enhance the perceived value of your event’s online component by providing virtual guests with special content and experiences.
4. Consolidation Will Take the Lead
It’s a well-known fact that the last few years have seen an extraordinary increase in both event technology investment and mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
The event technology business has seen tremendous expansion and increased focus in 2020. Investments in event technology have expanded significantly over the last year, as businesses launched new virtual features and platforms and a slew of new tools developed to match the rising demand.
5. Connect with a Larger Audience Using App Interpreters
Electronic translators are not new for 2021, but their importance has increased as the industry transitions to virtual and hybrid events. Offering content in many languages enables you to maximize the reach of virtual and hybrid events. Many virtual event platforms now include translation capabilities that are reliable enough to provide a nice experience for attendees and help bridge some of the previously-existing communication gaps. Bridge the communication chasm:
Include live interpretation and closed captioning powered by AI in live-streamed sessions to ensure international participants have access to the content.
When possible –particularly with regard to on-demand content – assess translations for accuracy and make appropriate corrections. Machine-learning-assisted interpretations will be able to recall and apply unique choices to subsequent translations.
6. Increased investment in event technology
Throughout 2021, multiple rounds of investment have been announced for virtual technology solutions, and event professionals have grown accustomed to investing in virtual event technology.
There are a variety of possible explanations for this, but the most likely one is that as more businesses embrace virtual events and planners encounter Zoom fatigue from their participants, they are forced to improve their virtual offering in order to compete and achieve a positive ROI. In any case, event technology suppliers must bear this in mind when targeting the appropriate markets and may need to work harder to demonstrate their value and justify their price tag as they cater to the higher cost tiers notably in terms of revenue generation.
7. Employ AV Producer Demands
“New normal” demands new audiovisual concerns.
We can continue debating the existential dilemma of 2022: should we hybridize or not? However, industry analysts feel that expansion in the area of hybrid events is unavoidable. Now, all that remains is to see how that universe develops over time.
With hybrid events embracing a broad spectrum of sub-formats, the technology supporting them – specifically, audio-visual technology – has advanced significantly.
However, the pandemic disrupted this trajectory, and it has progressed well beyond the straight faces on a screen scenario that existed for many years.
Meanwhile, for future innovations, these are some of our recommendations for event professionals who are prepared to embrace hybrids in 2022.
To attain A/V excellence, rethink venue strategy.
Let us refer to a spade’s spade: The cost of an on-site venue, in addition to the technical infrastructure required to carry off a high-production hybrid event, is prohibitively expensive for many budgets.
To make hybrid a more viable choice –– while maintaining A/V quality –– the following is suggested:
Conscious cost-cutting when selecting a physical venue: Choose one that provides inexpensive, all-inclusive pricing for network solutions and other integrated equipment. Generally, the only difference between recording your event and hosting a hybrid event is an internet connection.
Using specialized audiovisual teams to bring audiovisual components to life: Whether it’s an internal team or external A/V professionals, enlist their assistance in running the show and capturing high-quality live event video that can be made asynchronously available to virtual attendees.
Consider the benefits of both in-person and virtual attendance and advertise both experiences in such a way that the attendee may choose which one is best for them. Both options will be valuable, but choosing not to have a hybrid option should not be an option.
Increase the value of the product and the level of inventiveness
While high-quality production technology already exists, innovating and creatively utilising it will be critical in 2022.
To wrap it up,
With pictures of hybrid dancing in our thoughts and champagne pops still ringing in our ears, we can mutually admit we’re all authoring the future of the event industry, together, every day.
So, go forth bravely this year, armed with the advice of our industry experts.
For further details and enquiry, feel free to connect with us at DOREMi.