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What does event planning look like in 2023? Will eased restrictions allow for people to return to in-person? Will organizations adopt hybrid events as their main event format? What can we expect?
The ‘new normal’ finds us adapting to a post pandemic world. It is changing the way we work and the way we engage with one another. We are propelling into a new universe – the metaverse.
Just short of the Star Trek universe, individuals are ‘teleporting’ from one venue to the next. In Mark Zuckerberg’s words, “The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence — like you are right there with another person or in another place.”
Some popular names in the event industry are optimistic about the growing need of events in 2023. Popular Analyst, consultant and entrepreneur, Julius Solaris, believes that immersive displays, usage of drones and charging stations are setting up new “norms” for events in 2023.
Let’s look at a few of these trends and what the future holds in some event types.
As the world partially opens up, some of us are still not comfortable venturing out. Safe to say, people would like the flexibility of remaining remote and online or going in person. The new normal means that you can have both an in person and virtual audience. Event trends are now pushing towards hybrid events!
The future of hybrid events pretty much depends upon the right use of technology. As per the insights provided by Julius Solaris, in his video, the hottest technology trend for hybrid events in 2023 is holograms. Holograms are the ultimate way to engage and connect the online and offline audience. The survey finds the same.
Here are just a few of the benefits of hosting hybrid events:
What we can take from this is that hybrid events are here to stay.
There is some hesitation about this event type. Because hybrid event management sounds quite complicated. Do the virtual and physical worlds converge? Or do they happen at different times? The answer is it can be both! Find some key takeaways for hosting hybrid events. vFairs offers 3 major solutions to hybrid events:
The physical event takes place at a venue, while the virtual event is tuned in at the same time. All networking and Q&A’s are limited to social media and chat boxes.
The physical event takes place at a different time and venue. The virtual event takes place at a different time and virtual venue. Agenda format, exhibitors etc all remain the same.
The physical and virtual events are happening at the same time. You will have Q&A, matchmaking, workshop activities etc will all be available.
Events for the Education Industry: The education industry was the hardest hit when things went online. Now with Google classrooms and other platforms children and teachers adapted well. New event trends have seen part of the student body go back in person. The other half remained online.
This hybrid reality will be true to events like graduation ceremonies, open days and career fairs. Events like graduations might require a complex hybrid model. This is so peers can have the feeling of graduating together. However job fairs and open days can be conducted in sequence.
Internal Meetings: In a survey, 41% workers stated that they wanted to remain fully remote. With this event trend, organizations will need to adapt to meetings that cater to online and those physically present. A light hybrid model would be perfect for these kinds of circumstances.
Conferences: Large gatherings like those at conferences will be unlikely. With 3D designs and virtual environments, one can replicate the actual venue. Online individuals can feel like they are actually present. Booth hall layouts can look like those in person.
Videos can be live or available on demand. Here is your chance to find out how your attendees are behaving and analyze the data the virtual world will provide. This will help make more informed decisions for both online and offline events.
Trade Shows and Exhibitions: The virtual world offers greater access to e-commerce. For virtual trade shows, product launches and exhibitions there is a greater opportunity to showcase oneself to a global audience. Hybrid realities offer exhibitors the ability to showcase their products both in person and online. For those who prefer to touch and feel their products versus others who prefer online information.
Want to learn more about successful hybrid events. Read our ultimate guide to hybrid events!
Whether a hybrid event or a full in-person event, health and safety standards are a huge consideration with event planning in 2022. Maintaining social distance and indoor mask mandates are most likely going to persist. Where the event will take place will be determined by COVID-19 numbers as well. This makes timing and logistics all the more important. Some of the things to bear in mind;
A way event planners will have to evolve around is how to keep the event contactless. New event trends dictate how technology is adapting. Electronic watches, wristbands or badges will keep people from touching surfaces. The vFairs mobile app allows for contactless exchange through a QR code scan.
One way to offer attendees peace of mind is to provide on site lab tests. This will be particularly important for on-site staff and event personnel. If you plan to offer on site testing for attendees, you will need to plan in advance as well. Some questions will need to be answered. Where will the rapid antigen testing booths be located? How will it be organized?
During registrations and right before the event starts everyone will have to be screened. Submitting proof of their vaccinations will be one such method. This includes attendees and onsite staff. Vaccination and travel histories will be part and parcel. Whether they have been in recent contact with a sick person will also need to be considered.
In order to make sure guests are following protocol, regular reminders will have to be in place. These can be in the form of screens, signs or posters. These signs will include;
This kind of planning and expenditure might be reasons why most organizations will opt for virtual events. The market is adapting however and this may benefit the technology industry.
Trade Shows And Product Launches: Pharmaceutical and tech companies are currently developing products that address our current health and safety concerns. Especially for big gatherings. Not only will they be incorporating these products in onsite events, but will likely showcase these products at trade shows and product launches. Augmented realities will be a great way to showcase products. Giving consumers the look and feel of goods.
Events will no longer be one-offs. Instead of investing in a single annual event, organizations will have to space it out. This could be in the form of hybrid or virtual. It means breaking it up into smaller and more manageable groups. Event ‘series’ and/or niche event themes will be more popular than ever.
This will enable more personal engagement with your attendees. However, this would mean a lot of planning and strategizing. For this reason, organizers will need a personal project manager to take some of the workload.
How Does This Trend Impact Different Event Types?
Conferences: Most large-scale conferences will have to spread themselves out and have material available on demand. This offers more visibility and thus awareness. This will also create a greater sense of community as people will be able to network at a closer level.
Summits: Micro-summits could bring together a very small and highly qualified group of people to solve extremely complex problems. Rather than hosting a summit that relies on big-picture themes and breakout rooms to dig into more unique issues, micro-summits can be held throughout the year.
Job Fairs: Smaller events means easier sifting through resumes, easier ways to schedule interviews and easier ways to network. Making your job search both efficient and meaningful.
On site it is hard to track attendees, once they enter the event. How long did they stay? Which exhibits did they pay particular attention to? What purchases did they make? Did they explore the company website at all?
The virtual world offers all the data you need in order to understand your customers, and many organizations have realized this invaluable benefit throughout the pandemic.
Even as people begin to meet in person once again, data collection will be a key priority for event planners. Tools for data collection onsite and online will be crucial to inform future event decision making and optimize ROI.
Trade Shows and Product Launches: Data is the best thing for companies selling goods and services. You will be able to decipher how consumers are engaging with your products. This data will then be used to adapt marketing strategies, adapt products and drive sales.
With all attendees and administrators making use of the virtual world, heightened security will be a concern. Data breaches and the like will be a reason why updated technology will be essential. This kind of security will especially be important for internal events like meetings, or where global leaders are engaging with one another.
This can be for both internal and external hybrid events. Internal hybrid events are those that are limited to your stakeholders, leaders and employees. While external hybrid events are those for your external audiences.
This is important to know when planning events that might require extra security. A meeting for employees on the company’s sale trajectories versus a product launch for consumers.
Internal Meeting, Summits and Conferences: Individual security and privacy is crucial. Meetings that involve global leaders would require high security and privacy, in order to protect diplomatic information. This would also fall true for any company-wide internal meetings where important information and data about the company would need to be shared.
The carbon market is set to explode post COP26. This means companies will be able to generate revenue every time they reduce carbon emissions. For every one tonne of carbon NOT emitted, companies will acquire credits. These credits can then be sold to buyers looking to become carbon neutral.
Businesses will be all the more relevant in the age of climate change this way. Any business not engaging in environmental or sustainable activities is likely to suffer in the public eye. When your events are virtual, you are saving not only costs but you are saving trees, reducing carbon emissions and adding to landfills. This is an event trend that most companies should bag.
Conferences: A scientific paper has concluded that a shift to virtual conferences has made significant reductions in carbon emissions. As it is conferences that require attendees to travel long distances. A single commercial jet plane emits 866,000 tonnes of CO2 over its lifespan.
As more people find themselves at home, they are now looking to up-skill. People need the know-how in the age of digital transformation. Traditional jobs are changing – take event planning as an example! Many skills will become obsolete and the workforce will need to acquire new skill sets. These might include:
Even for virtual event planning, platforms will require a certification for the best of the best. For event organizers it will be essential to train as Digital Event Strategists (DES).
Education Events: Students will need to develop the skill sets for the constantly evolving digital world. In doing so, schools and colleges will have to research and prepare them for these skill sets.
Conferences: As virtual events continue, the demand for certification courses and skill building workshops are expected to continue. As organizers, you will have to identify what are some of the ‘goals’ your audience wants to achieve. What kind of content are they looking to consume? You would then have to zero in on speakers and material that offer or compliment these goals. E-books, case studies, interactive modules will all have to be part and parcel of your future events.
Career Fairs: As more people find themselves upskilling, career fairs will need to adapt to the changing market. Some of the jobs that are in high demand in 2022 include careers in information technology, health care and data analytics. Fairs will need to offer these insights
Internal Meeting: Employers will want to provide their employees with workshops and skills to meet market needs.
Millennials are stressed and are aware that they are. Unlike their baby boomer parents, they want to do something about it. They aren’t letting stressful environments take over their lives. Mindfulness and wellbeing are major priorities for them. Workspaces and events without these breaks are now ‘politically incorrect’. Company retreats too can be virtual now.
Users are also no longer looking for just ‘content’. They are looking for ‘experiences’. Ask yourself; does your event offer anything transformative? Interactive and engaging features will be a major component of your event.
Part of wellness includes looking for routes of self care. Translated in many ways, self care can include spending time with friends. In doing so, entertainment events also fall under this category. Virtual holidays and parties will be the new way to keep things light. However, this can’t simply be a company wide call. You will need interactive tools and creative ways to keep your audience engaged and improve attendee experience.
How to keep things interactive and engaging will be a major driver in this trend.
The market is ever changing and adapting. Events are a crucial part of any business or organization as they keep up with market needs and stay connected with their stakeholders. As we hop into 2022, get a headstart and make yourself aware of all new event trends in order to benefit the most.
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