Top 8 events industry trends to look out for in 2022

The global pandemic had a resounding impact on the $1.5 trillion worldwide events industry. The past two years witnessed a swifter and heavier dependency on technology, with more and more organizations embracing online platforms in light of social distancing and lockdown norms. Event planners had to adopt virtual event platforms to deliver unique and realistic event experiences. Studies show that the year 2020 witnessed a 290% rise in the number of virtual events hosted all over the world compared to 2019. In 2021, welcoming changes such as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, ease in travel restrictions, and the popularity of hybrid events have made positive waves for the events industry. The virtual stage has been modified with a hybrid twist, allowing event organizers to cater for the needs of both in-person and global audiences seamlessly.

As 2021 comes to a close, the event industry has a lot of reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the future. Here is a list of the top 8 events industry trends to look out for in 2022.

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1. Hybrid Events Are The Future

Hybrid events leverage virtual event technologies along with in-person event components. Aiming to capture the best out of both worlds, hybrid events are becoming the perfect model for planners. While most of the event professionals across the globe are looking forward to returning to in-person events, there are still many aspects of virtual events that planners don’t want to give up on. Organizations and attendees have found significant benefits from the virtual event model including global audience reach, reduced event cost and time, user behavior tracking, and many more. According to research by EventMB, 63% of event professionals are planning their future events in a hybrid format.

To complement physical setups, hybrid event platforms provide event registration and check-in for attendees, premium video streaming, live polling, Q&As, data analytics, and lead tracking features to measure event engagement and ROI easily. Provided that a well-equipped venue is chosen with a robust hybrid event platform, hybrid events are likely to stay as a key trend in 2022.

2. Focus On Health & Safety Protocols

Covid-19 has put safety measures at the prime position in the public’s mind. Even when physical events are back in place, some people are still hesitant to participate in face-to-face gatherings. As per a report, attendee safety is considered the biggest obstacle to event planning, while 48% of event designers say commitment to following local health guidelines is the most important concern when it comes to venue selection. 

From touchless technology, thermal scanning to digital signage, many technological solutions are emerging that promise a Covid-19 free experience at events. EventScan, the largest global COVID-19 prevention service for live events, has rolled out unique thermal scanning stations for speedy temperature-taking and consulting services for venues trying to adhere to local health guidelines. Health services like Curative Health are offering free rapid and PCR testing at kiosks set up outside venues in large cities around the US. 

Event planners are taking the necessary steps to ensure attendees safety throughout the duration of the event. Some of the safety measures include:

  • Regular sanitation
  • Proximity alerts 
  • Hand sanitizing stations in multiple areas of the venue
  • UV-C Purifiers
  • Online registrations to prevent crowding
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3. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

As companies are seeking new ways to increase audience engagement at the events, virtual and augmented reality are becoming more commonplace in the events industry. The AR and VR industry is forecasted to grow by over 25% over the next two years, with AR leading the pack.

While VR has already been used in the events industry over the past few years, AR is now taking over as the most hyped technology. VR can certainly help to engage your event attendees and can be useful for virtual tours and event gamification. While virtual reality creates a completely virtual world, augmented reality changes the perception of reality by superimposing sounds, videos, and graphics to it with the physical real-world environment. Augmented Reality can be used to create interactive venue maps, visually enhanced product demonstrations, or provide attendees with opportunities for networking, engagement, and more.

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4. Shift To Outdoor Events

Another trend to watch out for in 2022 is outdoor events. As the risk of COVID-19 contraction is significantly increased due to indoor airborne transmission, organizations and venue operators are taking full measures and utilizing outdoor spaces to be on the safer side. Outdoor events can accommodate large groups of people while maintaining social distancing protocols. Moreover, event planners can strictly set safety guidelines, put up signages, and floor markers to remind participants of social distancing.

5. High-quality Content As A Priority

In an age where information is easily available because of technological innovations, it comes as no surprise that attendees crave quality content in events as well. As the event industry continues to bounce back, planners are understanding the underlying importance of “valuable content” for their participants. In 2022, event organizers will focus on bringing professional and knowledgeable speakers to deliver informative keynotes and increase audience engagement. Many participants find in-person interactions engaging. Activities like live polls, Q&As, or gamified activities can be incorporated be keep the audiences engaged throughout the event.

6. Use of AI in Event Organization and Analysis

Another emerging technology that we’ll see more of in the events industry next year is the use of artificial intelligence. Event organizers can make use of AI in a variety of ways from event planning to during the event and for post-event analysis as well. Various event planning software that use AI to help organizers by finding potential sponsors, speakers, attendees. They also suggest optimal venue locations, dates and times for an event. AI-powered Chatbots can be used for pre-event marketing and customer service to automate ticketing, follow up leads, and answer common questions. Facial recognition is another highly useful application of AI that can be used in events for everything from security and streamlining registration to personalizing experiences.

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7. Event Apps

An event app can be used to supply event information to help facilitate connection with other attendees both before the event and in real-time. Having a direct line to your attendees via an app is a practical way to get information to those who need it, without relying on loudspeaker announcements which can be misheard or exclude hard-of-hearing attendees. When it comes to facilitating connection, these apps can be used to add contacts and “friends” on the event floor that can be contacted later for further networking, either through the app or on other platforms. This helps encourage discussion while discouraging close contact with others on the event floor.

8. Data Collection During and After Events

Data collection and analytics can help event organizers meet the rapidly changing consumer expectations. In a virtual event, tracking clicks, how long a user remains in a presentation, and even who they interact with can provide companies valuable insights into who their target demographic is and what they want. One major driving force behind data collection is the struggle for online engagement. Currently, research indicates that only 42% of all attendees watch the entirety of a virtual session. Virtual event platforms offer access to the user behavior at the event. Real-time data collection will be the main tool to bridge the gap between where events are, and where they should be. 

The pandemic necessitated rapid changes in the event industry, which is finding footing again by creating new value virtually. And whether they happen online, offline, or in a hybrid model, events that remain flexible, prioritize safety and emphasize meaning will likely become the norm. FLOOR is a comprehensive virtual and hybrid platform that allows users to connect with a global audience, drive engagement, create community and meet their specific business goals. With custom branding options, data capture capabilities, and friendly customer support, FLOOR offers the best opportunities for both virtual and hybrid events. Contact us today to build your own FLOOR.

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