After the initial blow of a global pandemic, there is no doubt that 2021 continued to disrupt and shift the events industry as we know it. After numerous cancellations, an overwhelming amount of rescheduling, never-ending changes, and the word pivot becoming our new best friend, we close out the year, knowing one thing is for sure; events will never be the same again.
So as we make our way into the post-COVID world and the events industry is finally picking up steam again, what will events look like in 2022?
To help you stay ahead of the game and on top of the expected trends for next year, we’re sharing our 5 crystal ball predictions for Event Trends in 2022!
1. Hybrid & Virtual Events Are Here to Stay
In 2020 event organisers were thrown in the deep end, and to keep events alive, they moved strictly to digital event experiences. While virtual events continued to grow in 2021 and will remain a vital part of the plan next year, it’s hybrid events that will take centre stage in 2022.
The number one reason hybrid events will move to the forefront in 2022 is that they combine the best elements of virtual and in-person attendee experiences. They allow for the flexibility and reach of a virtual event and have the power and engagement of an in-person event – truly the best of both worlds! The advantages of hybrid events are clear, and the opportunities endless!
Why Hybrid events are here to stay:
- Greater Reach: they enhance audience reach despite restrictions. Allowing people to attend online turns the world into your oyster, and reach can be expanded near and wide.
- Better Data: they can generate better event data and harness data to understand how content is consumed in more detail than ever before.
- Flexibility: hybrid events are almost disaster-proof. They allow the show to go on amidst any last-minute changes to restrictions or health guidelines.
2. Enhanced Personalisation
Brands now more than ever must focus on highly personalised events that create personal connections with attendees. Its 2022, and technological advancements mean that attendees expect more personalisation in every step of the event journey, from pre/post-event communications to personalised event schedules or a unique map of the venue with points of interest. Attendees are expecting tailored experiences — both virtually and in real life.
Tips to personalising events:
- Gather Personal Info: before the event even starts, ask attendees to weigh in on sessions, speakers, or activities that will be offered; this way, you can be sure you’re giving attendees what they want while also having them feel more invested and connected to the event.
- Create an App: use an app to provide personalised suggestions, add a customised map, and schedule.
3. Boosted Health & Wellness (Safety)
Live events are back, but the pandemic isn’t over; the topic of safety will continue to be a prominent conversation throughout 2022. Event organisers will have to focus on health and safety to remain successful and give attendees peace of mind.
We expect to continue to see pre-entry requirements, socially-distanced arrangements, specialised cleaning crews, and mask mandates in the upcoming year. These safety measures ensure the health and well-being of both the attendees and the event staff. Giving attendees a choice in how they wish to attend an event will provide them with the comfort and ability to exercise their safety preferences.
4. Smaller ‘Micro’ Events Become a Staple
Hosting a massive, flashy event used to be impressive and a sign of success, but as we make our way into 2022, demand is growing for a focus on simpler, more intimate events where attendees can relax and experience a more genuine connection.
2022 is the time to change our thinking of events and stop seeing them as purely a brand awareness opportunity and consider them more as a chance to better engage with audiences and build brand trust and loyalty. Consumers increasingly demand more authenticity from big brands and gravitate towards smaller brands that resonate with their beliefs and values. Creating more opportunities to engage one-on-one adds a personal touch and makes businesses feel less like faceless organisations.
Micro-events also open up the possibility of using unique boutique event spaces that are more exciting to attendees. While this style of event may be kept on the simple side, that doesn’t mean smaller events have to lose any of their grandiose or charm. Micro-events may even provide a more fantastic experience for your attendees.
5. A Strong Shift Towards Sustainability
“Going Green” is nothing new, but as concerns around climate change soar to new heights in 2022, an increasing number of eyes will be on event planners’ commitments to lessen the impact on the environment. The events industry has traditionally been known as quite a wasteful industry – think, plastic water bottles, catering waste, and all the freebies that often end up going straight in the bin as soon as the event is over.
But as the times are changing, so too must the events industry and sustainable events look like the only way forward in 2022. Just as consumers demand brands to have more sustainable practices, they will expect events to flow suit and be delivered in a way that will have a minimal environmental impact. Events failing to follow this trend may find their audience saying bye, bye, bye as they make their way to more eco-friendly events. Remember, any event represents your brand as a whole so make sure all aspects of planning and delivery align with your organisation’s core values.
How to make sustainability sexy:
- Altogether remove plastic from events.
- Use seasonal, local produce in catering, and donate leftover or unused food, flowers, or beverages to local community organisations like homeless shelters or senior living facilities.
- Choose biodegradable or recycled materials wherever possible. Choose sustainable name tags, registration bags, and food packaging.
2022 is set to be an exciting year in the event world, and the April5 team is looking forward to seeing the industry advance and awaken!
Are you ready to bring these trends to life in 2022? Get in touch to get in on the FUN!