The last 2 years have been challenging for events industry professionals but there have been some incredible growth as well. And if the last couple of years has taught us anything, it’s that while growth isn’t always smooth IT IS always exciting. We have seen the covid-19 pandemic response accelerate advancements at lightning speed but the industry is still recovering to pre-pandemic levels. There are certainly signs that 2022 is going to be an exciting year for meetings, events, conferences, incentives, galas, and more. Keep reading for our predictions for big things to come in 2022…
- Planned Safety & Flexibility on Steroids!
Covid remains unpredictable, but health & safety cannot. The most challenging part of predicting a recovery for the events industry is anticipating when another variant may flare-up. This unknown will create continued uncertainty, but 2022 will be all about working to manage and get ahead with a plan. Event professionals are nothing if not prepared, but over the last two years, even our plan B’s have had a plan B! This really all boils down to safety, and ensuring that an event continues to happen in one form or another depending on to what degree a local flare-up or government restriction may affect gatherings, but also ensuring that attendees, staff, speakers, etc. are safe and healthy. Expect a lot more contactless event interfaces and the addition of onsite health personnel handling everything from rapid testing screenings to vaccine verifications, to PPE distribution.
- The Return of the In-Person Event with the addition of a virtual overlay.
The dramatic rise of virtual events since early 2020 was out of necessity, but we will see virtual and hybrid events continue to proliferate due to their overwhelming success. According to event professional community EventMB’s 2021 research, 71% of event planners said they would continue to employ a digital strategy even after live events return. Thus, these blended events will provide the flexibility needed and will continue into the foreseeable future. You can expect to see events with elements for in-person attendees that also include pre-recorded and on-demand content, simulive broadcasts that happen across time zones and regions, digital networking engagement experiences, and more.
- The Rethinking of Event ROI.
Many organizations are changing their way of thinking and using large events as public relations opportunities rather than income generators. By offering a reduced or even free admission, organizations are using events as a way to generate an overall greater interest in their company and the products or services they’re offering. So far it has worked, with many events seeing a surge in attendance, and with more attendees comes more data and more opportunities to communicate and market to potential customers or donors after the event is finished, some even year-round. While this may not be the right approach for every organization, especially where marketing budgets may not be sufficient to offset reductions in ticket revenue, there is a case to be made for those that are able to leverage content and donor support. Consider the forward thinking approach of the Alaska Sealife Center that took their Annual Marine Gala hybrid for 2021. By utilizing the visual components of the center’s animals, and an engaged donor base, they created a hybrid – live + pre-recorded broadcast event that not only led to the center’s highest grossing Marine Gala event in its history, but also resulted in evergreen content that was then used for marketing purposes the remainder of the year, as well as promotional content for the 2022 event. Stay tuned for this……
Looking at your own event and thinking about how to strategize for the upcoming year? We are here to help, this is an ever-changing environment and we have a constant pulse on what’s going on to make sure you are best positioned for success.