As the pandemic unfolded in 2020 and well into 2021, we felt disruption in all industries. We faced changes in the way we worked, traveled, and learned, most of which was done virtually.
The events and meetings industry was no exception and had to reinvent quickly and adapt to the changes. Here are the top trends we are seeing in the event industry today that are working during the pandemic.
Virtual and hybrid events are the future
Virtual and hybrid events are becoming a massive part of how we run our events; no question about it. Although the industry initially scrambled to get updated with virtual event technology, it has swiftly adapted.
Even with vaccinations on the rise, it will take a while for industries to hold large-scale events because of the fear of becoming a super spreader. Until this stigma goes away, virtual or hybrid events will be the way to proceed.
Micro events will continue
When in-person events come back, micro-events will be the trend in 2021, no doubt. Micro events limit your event to a smaller gathering. You can control the number of people in the venue and enforce safety precautions such as social distancing and mask-wearing.
Although this means a smaller number of attendees, promoters will need a larger venue to accommodate these precautions and social spacing. Micro events are used to reduce the stress on event planners while preparing for events. Micro events are an easy fix to mass gatherings and larger experiences; just offer smaller sessions instead of canceling the entire event.
Outdoor events are becoming extremely popular because it is easier to maintain a distance outdoors and follow CDC’s guidelines for events. We can also hold outdoor events for more extended periods, as opposed to indoor events, which have time restrictions in place and capacity. We expect the outdoor event trend to continue in 2021.
Engagement remains one of the biggest challenges for virtual events. Although virtual event tech has evolved rapidly, the tech platforms still need significant improvements to increase engagement. Availability of the live chat functionality, the ability to provide commentary over video and Q&A have all improved virtual event space. We can expect to see more advancements in the tech space for virtual and hybrid events.
Shift to audio
Zoom fatigue, caused by our brains constantly trying to interpret visual cues, can take a toll on events. Events are also shifting to the audio-only mode, which gives attendees the convenience of attending events from anywhere. Event formats are adapting to accommodate both audio and video attendees. Think podcasts!
The travel and hospitality industry was and still is one of the hardest-hit sectors. Group travel is and will be limited for a while to only few people instead of large groups, and the travel industry will align its incentives accordingly. Exclusive destinations will be in demand.
As we gear up towards more virtual events with smaller audiences, content needs to be tailored to its audience and their current needs. Content creators and marketers are becoming more creative, reimagining ways to engage audiences via digital content.
With more data collecting technology and formats (apps, polls, lead magnets, etc.), we are seeing more personalized content being put out specifically tailored to an audience and what they are searching for.
- Popular content creation types:
- Ebooks and downloadable guides
- Webinars and seminars
- Online classes and certificate programs
- Membership options
- Training courses and workshops
Gamification has been the rising trend when it comes to ways promoters are boosting engagement for online events. Engaging attendees in competition and providing rewards, whether it’s a spot on the leaderboard or other recognition at the event, Gamification will play a more prominent role in the new format of events in the future.
Although we will be rebuilding industries long after the pandemic, the innovation arising out of this crisis will leave the event industry in a better place through these game-changer trends!
Author: Amrapali Rai
Amrapali is a digital marketing consultant who blogs about
business and marketing at Bazaar Expert.