The spring is coming, and with it, we hope that we will be able to end the pandemic. In-person events are regaining popularity in many areas of the world. This is a major turning point for the event industry. Although there are still many unknowns about the Future, certain trends identified in the Covid context appear likely to influence. Planning and Budgeting Still Influenced by Uncertainty
Participants at the summit in 2022 reported overwhelming that they are following Covid data to plan future events. Nearly half of those polled said they follow Covid information worldwide and 30 percent of them stayed on top of local numbers.
However, knowing the numbers is not enough to predict future probabilities. Michael Dominguez is the president and CEO at ALHI. He stressed that it is important to understand the data, which includes knowing what data is relevant. Clear-eyed planning will require objective thinking, particularly for larger events or those that involve locking down vendors. The management of Covid-related risk will influence event budgets.
Online Communities Hosted by Event Platforms
FEI 2022 poll respondents indicate that just over 40% of them either have thriving event communities or are beginning to build them. Another 29 percent indicated that they were planning to build them. These results show that digital event platforms developed in response to the pandemic have become a powerful tool for managing and building event-specific digital communities. Nolan Ether from Socio is the content marketing leader. He shared tips with attendees at FEI 2022. Ether says, “We should have built communities all along.” Ether points out that event planners don’t need only rely on social media platforms to build their communities. Event planners may have access to relevant online networks, such as LinkedIn, that can be used to increase engagement. “Putting yourself out there” by reaching out to existing communities can help build trust and connections, translating into ongoing engagement via the event platform throughout and after the event. He says that the advantage of the event platform is that organizers can own the space.
Experience Design Will Not Be Influenced by Virtual Reality
Hugh Forrest (SXSW’s chief programming officer) shared his experiences of moving to a completely virtual festival in 2021 after having to cancel the 2020 event. The best thing about the virtual event was that there were no physical limitations on access to popular events. It was also much easier to navigate from one event to the next, which allowed people to absorb more content according to their interests than if they had been physically moving from one venue to another for an event like SXSW.
Forrest described the difficulties in getting this content to viewers, especially for live broadcast events. He says, “The lesson is that we should have just done all the prerecorded stuff,” but that might not be possible for hybrid events where remote attendees may wish to share the live experience with those in person. These challenges may be overcome as recording methods improve.
Associations Increase Member Engagement
Associations must be creative to keep their members’ attention during a highly competitive information environment. Senthil Gopinath, ICCA’s Senthil Gopinath and Sheriff Karamat of PCMA have distinct focuses. The ICCA provides corporate memberships while PCMA serves individual members. However, both agree that understanding their members is best to expand their associations’ horizons.
Agile Event Planning is now the gold standard
Jennifer Kellogg is VP of Operations. She spoke to Miguel Neves, editor-in-chief, about how pivoting quickly will continue to be a driving force behind agile event planning. Planning is a skill that requires agility. It is also about understanding and thinking through every aspect of the event.
The Future of the Event Industry 2022 conference saw 51 percent of attendees believe that hybrid and virtual elements of events will be more popular in the third quarter and fourth quarters. Kellogg encourages event planners to make sure they are combining the strategic goals of an event with the appropriate hybrid and virtual applications to harness the technological advances of the past year and address the challenges presented by this shift in work culture. This means that agility can be achieved best when clients’ goals are at the forefront of every aspect of planning.