Event trends 2022 are here and let us tell you, it’s an exciting year for event planners who dare to dream big. Those who’ve read our guide to event trends in 2022 already know how which hybrid event models hold the most promise and the role of event technology moving forward. Most trends in our guide are beginner-friendly. Others, however, might seem a little bit too daunting for a novice planner, but they’re just what innovative and tech-savvy planners are looking for.
Today, we’ll focus on five such 2022 event trends. The entire events industry has recently been forced to start thinking outside the box. However, innovative event planners can take this a step further. Thinking outside of the box still acknowledges the existence of the box, luring us back to our comfort zones. In 2022, it’s time to crush that box altogether and approach event strategy with a fresh set of eyes!
Data-Informed Event Strategy
While big data has been around for much longer than the pandemic, most event planners have been sleeping on this game-changing trend. In the last two years, event technology exploded. Event platforms with all their data insights offer a whole new world of possibilities for measuring event success. Therefore, in 2022, your event strategy should lean onto event technology.
You can set quantifiable KPIs and measure session analytics, attendee and sponsorship satisfaction, event registration trends, and other event data that offers insights into your attendees’ behavior and preferences at the event. You can then make changes to your event in real-time based on data. For example, you can communicate efficiently, change the schedule, and even crowdshape your event. And even more importantly, these data points can then inform your future strategy.
It looks like the long reign of impersonal hotel ballrooms is over. Instead, planners should consider hosting their event in unique and exciting venues that bring out the local flavor. This trend has been a long time coming, but all things in-person were unfortunately put on hold two years ago.
The same goes for dining: go local. Give your attendees a list of local restaurants and let them choose where they want to dine. Buffets, however, are not exactly what constitutes a COVID-compliant event.
Hybrid Events: The Satellite Model
Hybrid events often pose a challenge for even the most experienced event planners out there, but the only way to master them is to try them out. Innovative planners can test their talents with the Satellite model, in many ways the most ambitious of them all.
The Satellite model consists of small to medium independent venues (pods) with a small stage for regional speakers receiving the live stream feed. You can have a pod in any region, country, or continent where your speakers and sponsors are. Localized pods enable region-focused networking and prioritize comfort for the attendee above all. Have these smaller in-person meet-ups tune in virtually with one another. And here’s where the true hybrid emerges: every attendee is in essence both an in-person attendee as well as a virtual one.
Because event planners cannot be at several locations at the same time (even though they often try to be), this hybrid event has to be co-created to some extent. Innovative planners have to lean on their network, tap their ambassadors, and give people a chance to plan their pod independently.
And on a more personal side, the Satellite model is an opportunity for event planners to let go of their perfectionist and controlling tendencies and trust others to do some of the work they’re used to doing all by themselves.
The events industry is moving from focusing on big, spectacular in-person events to the so-called community model. When virtual events took over in 2020, event platforms became the new venues. But this is no fad; the best event platforms will persist way beyond 2022 and the pandemic. And they’ll be the place where your community convenes – anytime, anywhere.
Why community? The value of the events doesn’t just lie in entertainment, sponsorships, and content. The biggest asset are attendees themselves. A great community means year-round attendee engagement and a great opportunity to market your events. Allow your audience to enjoy asynchronous content delivery. Plan virtual networking events, build anticipation for your upcoming in-person and hybrid events, and receive their feedback continuously. In fact, by giving attendees an active voice on your platform, you organically boost engagement and foster higher levels of trust and belonging.
And last but not least, a community model offers great opportunities for your exhibitors and sponsors who have been let down by in-person events in the past two years due to low attendance.
Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Audience Engagement
As one of the biggest pain points, audience engagement remains one of the most talked-about subjects in the events industry. While planners have always given some thought to audience engagement, they’re now outright preoccupied with it. It’s as if before 2020, everybody was engaged 24/7!
However, the anxiety around engagement is understandable. As Ellis Davis pointed out in a recent #EventIcons episode, “if you cannot keep your remote attendees engaged for more than three minutes, they’re going to check out and won’t come back”.
In-person events more readily offer attendees freedom and autonomy to do as they please – virtual and hybrid events need to follow suit. That demands more intentional design. Attendees should choose how they want to engage with the event and regain that autonomy they enjoy at in-person events. Don’t shove engagement down their throats or make them interact with avatars if they don’t want to. The solutions to this complex challenge differ depending on your event goals, though.
Innovative Event Trends 2022
Hopefully, these five event trends gave you some inspiration to crush the box of expectations and be the trend-setter of the events industry. If you’re interested in learning more about 2022 event trends, download our free guide!
In conclusion, do not let fear and doubt steer your events. Sure, the Satellite model demands more diligent planning and there’s a learning curve to all the event tech, but remember: you don’t have to plan and manage events on all your own. The Endless Events team has an impressive resume of producing and managing all kinds of events, hybrid included. We’re technology agnostic and can advise you on event technology that best suits your particular event strategy. And while we’re at it, we help planners strategize too. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we’re here to help!