2023 is going to be the year of innovation. The past few years have been transformative for the events industry, molding and evolving it. 2020 was the year of virtual events, 2021 gave way to hybrid event platforms and 2022 made them popular like never before. So, what’s in store for 2023?
At vFairs, we’ve seen a rapid increase in the adoption of hybrid events. These events marry the best of physical and virtual events. You can expect to see more of them in the coming year, with some key trends involved.
Overarching Hybrid Event Trends
We ran a poll on LinkedIn and asked event profs how they want to host their business events in 2023. Here’s what they said:
- In-Person: 35%
- Hybrid: 34%
- Virtual: 29%
- Others: 2%
The growing interest in hybrid events is not surprising. In fact, this shift further indicates that a few trends will dictate the hybrid event space in 2023. Event planners need to pay attention to these and plan their events accordingly. Let’s have a look at what to expect:
1. Hybrid Events Will Gain Popularity
Since 2021, hybrid events have gained a lot of traction. According to the vFairs’ “The Future of Virtual Events” report, 38.8% of the surveyed people think that hybrid events will be the most popular in the next year. Therefore, 2023 will see a rise in hybrid events, their popularity and in turn their attendance numbers.
2. Multiple Micro Events Instead of Annual Extravaganzas
Another emerging trend is micro events. We’ll be seeing multiple small-scale events rather than single major ones. Hybrid event platforms allow companies to organize events on the scale of their choice more easily. This will lead to more focused micro events in 2023, spread across the calendar.
3. Hybrid Events Become a Part of PR Strategies
Previously, events were considered a source of revenue and were treated accordingly. Now, they’re also seen as PR activities. Instead of targeting a few people with gated events, companies will open up virtual and hybrid events to more attendees. This will target people at multiple points in the sales funnel.
4. Data Collection as a Driving Force
One of the biggest factors which make hybrid and virtual events stand out from their physical counterparts is the sheer potential for data collection.
This has become a driving force for companies to hold events. They see hybrid events as data mines, and orient them accordingly, with surveys, games, and visitor statistics meticulously recorded. This will become more pronounced over the coming year.
5. Increased Interest in Event Technology
More people are investing in event technology than ever before. Previously, there were only a few forerunners in the event platform industry. However, event tech stacks like the vFairs VenueGear make it much easier to host hybrid events and the interest will continue to grow over the coming year.
Industry-Specific Hybrid Event Trends
There are also some industry-specific trends that are already emerging. These will cover multiple industries, such as education, trade, IT, and human resources.
1. Hybrid Recruitment Drives
The increased popularity of remote work means that companies have access to a global pool of candidates. This will lead to international recruitment drives, with hybrid recruitment events playing a major role. You can expect to see more virtual and hybrid career fairs and job fairs in the coming year.
2. Internal Events for Remote Workforces
Remote work is a new normal for many organizations and this can start affecting company culture for some organizations. So, many of them have started working on internal events like benefits fairs, etc., in a hybrid environment. These events include every employee, both in person and virtually, so they’re a great way to conduct training and ice breaking activities.
3. Hybrid University Open Days Become the Norm
University open days are an integral part of a potential college student’s life. But travel limitations, costs, and time constraints can prevent numerous prospective students from exploring the options they want.
Hybrid events changed this aspect by opening up colleges to a much larger audience, on both physical and digital platforms. They are expected to become the norm in 2023 for colleges seeking an international student body.
4. Academic Conferences Go Global
Academic conferences have always been an important part of the education sector. Previously, universities and conference organizers needed substantial funds to invite speakers. They had to pay for their travel and accommodations.
With hybrid events, they can get the same speakers to attend virtually. This means that they don’t have to worry about schedules and funding. That’s why academic conferences will be increasingly global and accessible this year by going hybrid.
5. Trade Expos Gather a Wider Audience
Trade expos have been an important part of the calendar for many companies. However, they were usually only accessible to people within or affiliated with the relevant industry.
Recently, more and more rookies attend the virtual aspects of these events. This not only expands the event audience, but also creates more leads and prospects for the industry. Expect more audience diversity and attendance at trade expos in 2023.
5 Ways Hybrid Event Trends Will Elevate Event Experience
While there are numerous hybrid event trends coming to light in the coming year, there are some details that stand out in particular.
1. Enhanced Attendee Engagement
One of the most useful trends you’ll see in the upcoming year is interactive and immersive events with fewer resource requirements. This is because of all the opportunities for attendee engagement that a hybrid event platform can offer. You can incorporate a number of engagement boosting features, such as:
- QR Scavenger hunts
- Smart Matchmaking
- Virtual Photo Booths
- QR Contact Card Sharing
- Event Mobile Apps
- Spatial Networking
2. Lower Staffing Requirements
With more events going hybrid, there will be lower staffing requirements. Companies won’t have to spend huge amounts of resources on hiring staff to run an event. They can host a small-scale in-person event and make it available to wider audiences by using a virtual event platform. This behavior will be more common in the coming months, as the convenience and savings appeal to digital event organizers and attendees.
3. Focus on Physical Safety
2023 will also see an increasing awareness of physical and environmental safety. This is because past outbreaks have made it clear that large-scale physical events are just not sustainable anymore. In this changed and cautious environment, hybrid events make a lot more sense.
4. AR Adaptation
Going hybrid has also led to some excellent innovations in event technology. Augmented reality is one of them. While it had its uses in other sectors, hybrid event organizers are incorporating it into their signage, campaigns, and gamification. With AR getting more advanced and wearables more accessible, expect to see more AR integrated into events in the coming months.
5. Mobile Apps for Events
Most people now go online using their mobile devices. When an attendee accesses the virtual aspect of a hybrid event, they’re more likely to use their phone. Thus, event management platforms are creating their own apps. These apps, such as the vFairs mobile event app, let you be a part of all the action on the go.
In conclusion, event strategy will surely change over the coming months. This is because the past few years have been quite happening for the event industry. In many cases, organizations prefer hosting a hybrid event to get the best of both worlds. The split between in-person, hybrid, and virtual continues to become close as event professionals look for more sustainable and advanced event strategies. This will result in innovation, changing hybrid event trends, and other emerging advancements. We can’t wait to see them all.