When stay-at-home orders forced events creators worldwide to cancel shows, the events industry experienced a rapid and significant transformation. And while Meeting Expectations has always been on the leading edge of innovation and creativity, these challenges ushered in new motivation for us to find ways to bring people together safely and successfully.
But now, after an almost 18-month hiatus, live events are springing back to their pre-pandemic glory. Over the last few months, we’ve witnessed people’s enthusiasm to get back to face-to-face moments with their peers, some of whom they’ve never met in person before. I recently noticed some coworkers meeting for the first time, and upon warmly greeting each other, they joked about each other’s height.
After a year and a half of exploring new dimensions for meetings – be it in-person, entirely virtual, or hybrid – the demand for in-person connection is roaring back, more vital than ever.
As we look ahead, here’s what we predict about the future of events for 2022 and beyond.
In-person events are on the rise – with exclusivity.
The pandemic proved that engaging virtual events are possible for large groups – sparking a new sense of inspiration for our clients like Landis+Gyr. However, the reality is simple: a physical event is more impactful than a virtual one. Because virtual events will continue to be common, in-person events will increase in status and demand – perhaps even transforming the topics and types of attendees they attract. Between August and October 2021, we facilitated 14 live events that touched more than 8,000 individuals, with only one offering a hybrid option and two entirely virtual events.
Reunited, and it feels so good.
A staggering majority of B2B marketers believe that in-person events significantly impact business outcomes, and a key reason for that is networking. There’s no better special sauce than connecting in person to cultivate meaningful relationships. In fact, many of our recent client events have extended their reception times simply for attendees to enjoy that valuable face time with peers and colleagues.
The show must go on.
As large tech companies prepare to host in-person events, it’s evident that a major focus will be on the expo space. More than 1,000 companies plan to participate at CES, eager to do business face-to-face. The reason? In-person events facilitate more off-the-cuff meetings, allowing executives to close deals for the coming year. As such, we anticipate that the energy surrounding fresh educational content, exhibit halls, and sponsors to ignite the live events space.
The last year and a half showed us the resiliency of the meetings industry. We have successfully managed events for groups of all sizes, making the health and safety of every attendee paramount while checking the box that we are energized by coming together.