What are the event trends to watch out for in 2022?
New year, new challenges! As we navigate the world of events in 2022, what are the trends that event planners and marketers need to keep in mind? Here, we explore some of the top trends that are expected to have a massive impact in the event industry in 2022.
- 1. Full Embrace of Virtual and Hybrid
- 2. The Rise of Micro Events and On-Demand Content
- 3. Revisiting The Event Experience
- 4. Analytics = ROI April
- 5. Conversion via Omni/Virtual Channels
- 6. Bonus trend: Hello Metaverse?
Do you also want to know the important virtual and hybrid events in tech and AIOT to look forward to in 1H-2022? Check out our definitive list here: Tech & AIOT Virtual/Hybrid Events to Check Out in 1H-2022
Top trends that will dominate in 2022
1. Full Embrace of Virtual and Hybrid
With the continued uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, event professionals are finally accepting that virtual and hybrid events are here to stay.
In 2020 when everyone was just starting to realize what a huge disruption Covid-19 was to the event industry, virtual events were seen as merely stop-gap measures – a pivot that was “forced” on us so that we can continue to engage and conduct business with our audience. A few event organizers were even more in denial – opting to cancel their events altogether with a vow to come back with face-to-face events the following year.
Enter 2021. Although there were some brave warriors among us who (successfully) planned and staged in-person events, they were the exceptions rather than the norm. The majority of event organizers have transitioned to online conferences and webinars – but still with the view that the days of face-to-face events are not too far on the horizon.
Now in 2022, with multiple variants of the virus existing and different countries at various stages of infection spread and/or control, event professionals are ready to fully embrace virtual and hybrid events. Online events are now the go-to or preferred format for many organizers, as opposed to only previously considered as replacements or ad hoc in case of in-person event cancellation.
2. The Rise of Micro Events and On-Demand Content
The days of large-scale events with tens of thousands of attendees may be gone – at least for the meantime. For face-to-face (and hybrid) events, enforcing health and safety protocols and restrictions will become standard practice moving forward. These can limit attendance, such as half capacity venues, vaccine passes, among others. Virtual events are not affected by group gathering restrictions so can possibly accommodate higher attendance. But engagement and interaction tend to decrease as virtual attendee numbers increase. Thus, the industry is predicting to see a rise in micro-events, be it online or face-to-face – engaging a smaller, but likely more targeted audience.
The good news is micro events tend to be less costly to organize. As such, one can offer more events throughout the year. The event contents can then be parlayed into on-demand resource centers that keep attendees (and even those who missed out) coming back long after the event is held to continue learning, engaging, and more.
3. Revisiting The Event Experience (with technology & presentation improvements)
With the (abrupt) shift to online events when the pandemic’s effects started to take hold in 2020, event professionals felt they had to make do with simple and basic online meeting platforms to hold their virtual events. Many chose to stick with what they know or what they are already using in their office meetings. The view (or hope) that the situation is only temporary also discouraged them to invest in more advanced virtual conferencing systems. With this, the event experience (the wow factor) was severely affected – with event organizers focusing more on content versus delivery or presentation.
In 2021, it became more apparent that event experience is a key ingredient to an event’s success, and a major differentiator among the hundreds of online conferences and webinars being offered by other companies. The attendees are demanding better, more engaging presentation and longing for live event experiences like networking, visiting booths, branding etc. At the same time, online conference platform providers are coming up with new features and apps to deliver that wow factor to virtual event participants.
Thus, in 2022, event professionals are expected to have taken the leap and made the investment to deliver a more interactive, glossy, high-impact virtual event that could be at-par with in-person events. The return of sponsorship opportunities, branding & customization, networking and VIP lounge service – albeit in a virtual world – are some of the event experiences organizers should strive to deliver in 2022, on top of relevant content.
4. Analytics = ROI
The pandemic has been credited as having super-charged the shift to all-things digital – from contactless banking to food and grocery delivery, and of course, to online webinars and conferences. This digital shift has enabled data gathering and machine learning that can help companies better understand their audience and thus, provide improved products and services. For events, this means more relevant content, on-demand content and specific audience segmentation, among others, are expected in 2022.
The latest generation of event technology is also now more equipped to pair with CRM and marketing automation tools, thus allowing for a company to design a dedicated and integrated marketing journey with their clients. Event planners are now able to see their events not as a standalone marketing tactic, but as one of the tools available in their overall marketing arsenal. This in turn leads to higher client satisfaction and improved ROI.
If you are interested in getting sophisticated data-driven insights that utilize top-notch AI calculations and generate accessible dashboards for your events, talk to us about ExpoGENIE – a market unique event data analytics console from Vootprint solutions.
5. Conversion via Omni/Virtual Channels
Going digital is a two-way street. As the way companies address their client’s needs have shifted online, so too the way their audience are receiving and consuming their products and services. If your sales event or tradeshow is happening virtually, it does not make sense if the audience still needs to go to a physical store or office to sign up for and pick up whatever it is you are selling. The same goes for after-sales service and customer support. In 2022 and beyond, companies should be ready to see through all stages of the marketing journey – from prospecting to conversion to delivery and support – in the digital world.
6. Bonus trend: Hello Metaverse?
We might still be a long way off from hosting events in the metaverse, but that’s no reason to ignore it. Event organizers would do well to take this time in 2022 to explore and learn as much as possible on the opportunities provided by this new technology and assess if this is something to seriously consider and invest in for the coming years. With the rapid pace of tech changes in today’s world, it’s never too early.
As the saying goes, the show must go on! Leverage these event trends to succeed in 2022.