The event planning industry is beginning to look "normal" again. It is even expected that in 2023, we will see pre-pandemic levels of in-person events. However, it’s taken plenty of changes to get us back to this point, and as an industry, we must continue to plan for anything.
Whether it’s rising costs, the transformation in the workforce, or the new generation of event programs, there’s a lot to consider as you plan your 2023 program strategy. Check out our review of the top six trends of before kicking off the new year.
The Top 6 Trends of 2022
Over the past year, we saw six major trends in the meeting and events industry. Take a look at these insights to get an understanding of where we are now and what you might expect to see in the new year.
1. Continued Uncertainty
While we are continuing to go back to in-person, we are still recovering from the massive impact that the pandemic had on the events industry. There are many parts of the puzzle that we are still unsure about, such as the effects of inflation, shortages, and even attendee volume. In the past year, we’ve seen health and budget restrictions become two of the most significant drivers of uncertainty. As we go into 2023, we expect that these trends will continue and anticipate many adaptions as a result.
Keeping your attendees safe is always a planner’s top priority, so new rules and restrictions have been added to the mix. And as many of us have seen firsthand, budgets are tight throughout the industry. These factors have forced us to adapt, leading us to realize how invaluable virtual and hybrid options are for the near future.
2. Tech Stack Consolidation
Consolidation of technology has grown over the past year due to issues with efficiency, costs, and inconsistencies. By integrating your tech stack, you can house your event and attendee data in a single source of truth. This will make the process of gathering and using insights much easier, ensuring greater success for your event.
There are several integration options that could be right for you. Some of the most effective platforms are Marketo, Eloqua, Concur, and Salesforce. These integrations make it possible for you to achieve seamless dataflow, limiting the waste of man-hours and driving event impact.
3. Insight-Driven Engagement
Due to the growth in virtual and hybrid events, we have been able to gather more insights on attendees than ever before. This has caused a direct growth in attendee engagement based on those insights. But to be able to gather this information, you need the right tools.
When hosting an event, your event platform should be able to show you key metrics, including how many sessions an attendee has joined, how long they stayed, and how deeply they engaged. These attendee insights are invaluable when it comes to creating the most valuable experience for your attendees. You can utilize data-driven decision-making for future event planning to ensure you get deeper insights for every event type in 2023.
4. Up-Leveled Production
Due to attendee fatigue when it comes to virtual events, the need for up-leveled production has increased to capture and maintain your audience’s attention. Event planners have adapted by improving the quality of tools and traditional production procedures.
With the right tools, you can raise the value of your events with professional-grade production. Your production solution should provide ample professional services, including guidance from a session director, consultations about production strategy, and even assistance in video layout configuration. Your attendees will be impressed when you use these features to level up your production.
5. Extended Engagement
A set time and place for events is becoming a thing of the past. Attendees are now looking to participate according to their own schedule, meaning on-demand sessions are needed to help keep attendees engaged before, during, and even after the close of an event. This also means that in-person events are becoming more digitalized, allowing attendees to view content anytime, anywhere. But with this shift, how do you motivate your audience to participate in your event at all?
The first challenge is getting attendees interested in registering, but it doesn’t stop there. What we have realized is that getting attendees to sign up is no longer enough. You have to get them through the door, and it’s become harder to do so. What we are seeing now is that a lot of registrants don’t end up making it to the event. Being aware of this issue is important, but what do you do to solve it?
There are tools out there to make that part of the job easy. With the right registration, you can build your event sites, personalize the experience, and get attendees there with promotions. Not only are you able to use Registration to help kick off your event, but after your event, you can analyze the data, including feedback, traffic, and your registration count. Keeping your attendees engaged from before your event to after is key, and the right platform makes it simple.
6. Evolution of the Workforce
Many factors over the past few years have reshaped the workforce. Right now, we are figuring out how to adapt to the great resignation, the potential recession, and the continued remote work lifestyle. All of this means that your attendees’ behaviors have changed as well.
The people who attend your events now are not the same as they were pre-pandemic. Many have different jobs and different goals. They also have new skill sets that require training and continuing education. When they attend your event, they are looking to get something different out of it now than they were three years ago.
They are looking for bite-sized content that fits their schedule, to grow their new skills, and for a means of connecting with fellow industry professionals. As such, one of the biggest trends that we’re seeing attendees look for now is networking opportunities.
Prior to the pandemic, it was common for people to see one another every day in the office or attend social events to build those all-important connections. But now, with many people only going into the office a couple of times a week, networking has changed. This makes networking at events even more important, whether in-person or virtually. Networking is quickly becoming one of the main drivers of attendance for events, whether virtual, hybrid, or in-person.
The Next Generation of Events
Over the last few years, we have seen many evolutions of event programs. Pre-pandemic, events that didn’t use event tech had little visibility into key data and often suffered from inefficiencies. With the adoption of technological solutions, we saw more standardized processes and improved insights based on data-driven decision-making.
Now, we are at the precipice of a new era of events. The next generation of event programs is poised to be the most efficient and cost-effective yet. These event programs will have standardized processes, quick adoption of technology, and most importantly, will be able to prove impact in terms of value to the business.
The next generation of events has many benefits that align with cost savings, maintaining relationships with attendees, and ensuring integrity. The next-generation event program can benefit you through:
- Increased Savings
- Consolidation of Technology Stack
- Operational Efficiency
- Duty of Care
- Efficient Meeting Design
- Data Integrity
- Regulatory Compliance
Drive Cost Savings with the Right Vendors
Costs have increased in many areas of the industry, including a 50% or more increase in food and beverage, transportation, hotel, and event technology costs. This has significantly affected the events industry, but there are options to combat the rising costs.
The first thing to know is what your biggest costs are. Venue contracts are shown to be one of the largest expenses you’ll have, taking up an estimated 30-40% of most event budgets. But you need to consider more than just spending. Numerous man-hours are used for venue sourcing, which can easily add up. It is estimated that it takes 20+ man hours to manage the event venue sourcing process through manual means. When you realize how much time, money, and effort is going into this process, it’s clear that an automated solution is necessary.
Luckily, an automated solution already exists! Now, you can eliminate countless hours of manual work and even gain impressive savings when it comes to your venue contacts, making it easy to negotiate with venues, view availability, and search through thousands of venues to pick the perfect one for your event. Check out this blog for more information about cost savings with an automated vendor sourcing solution.
Get Prepared for 2023
The meetings and events industry has been faced with record levels of change, making the ability to adapt and weather any storm crucial. Events have evolved with this need and redefined the standard, not only for events, but in terms of daily work practices. But as we’ve seen, with this rapid progress comes new and impactful trends.
This ability to adapt over the last few years is rooted in preparedness. Be ready for every shift the industry may face in 2023 by examining current insights, understanding the importance of standardized processes, and learning how the right tools can help you stay on track. Reflecting on 2022 is the first step toward your success in 2023.