Eventprofs look into the crystal ball - trends & predictions for 2022

27 Jan, 2022 | Expert Opinions Eventprofs look into the crystal ball - trends & predictions for 2022

We reached out to our fellow eventprofs and asked them to share what they see happening as top trends and predictions for the events industry in 2022.

As the events industry heads into 2022, the third year of a global pandemic and tumultuous changes, it’s time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Firstly, eventprofs have proven how resilient they are by surviving the past two years and adapting so well to change. 

At the start of the new year, everyone should take a moment to acknowledge that and to be proud of themselves.

It’s also the perfect time to look at the year ahead and predict what we’ll see as emerging trends and new ways of working

With the advancement of technology over the past few years, we’ve seen more changes in our industry than over the past decade or two. There’s no doubt that 2022 will bring just as many exciting, fresh and innovative ideas to the table.

We asked eventprofs from different areas around the world for their thoughts and predictions on the event trends 2022 will bring.

Prediction: Content matters, not the format 

Simon Howard, event host & emcee:

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“While formats and platforms will vary due to personal and geographical requirements, successful events will always have great content, technical solutions and amazing presenters leading the way.”

 

Evan Babins, Events & Marketing Manager @ Klir:

“2022 will be the year event profs are finally recognized for our contributions to the behind the scenes of how events come to life both virtually, hybrid or in person.”

 

Prediction: Agility in the face of uncertainty 

Sabrina Meyers, Influencer, Social Media Strategist, Global Event Planner:

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“That the only certainty is uncertainty and that's how we need to approach planning our events and content. Keep not just plan B but C and maybe even D ready! In-person will continue with more clients exploring the versatility of tech and embrace the integration of social media for more omnichannel omnipresent events!”

 

Alecia May, Certified Digital Event Strategist, Host of 6 Figure Event Podcast:

“2022 will be a divided year of virtual, hybrid and live events depending on where you live in the world.”

 

Jack Newey, Portfolio Director - Conference News:

“Virtual and hybrid shouldn’t be seen as a completely different strategy and instead planners will look more towards implementing whichever channels necessary to achieve their event objectives.

For some objectives, perhaps running both online and in-person elements will benefit the audience to a greater extent, and for other events perhaps in-person is the most appropriate solution to truly capture the community.” 

 

Prediction: Going Local

Georgina Kay-Black, Marketing Executive for Exhibition News, Digital Event News and Mash Media:

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“Regionality will become more popular and the availability of your event will be the key to ensuring quality content is delivered to all.”

 

Trend to Watch: Community

James Cermak, Host of Trade Show University Podcast:

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“More collaboration, greater creativity, and greater support from communities as the world finally takes notice of the tremendous impact events bring!”

 

Jack Newey, Portfolio Director - Conference News:

"I think the focus will shift away from ‘return on investment’ and towards a more holistic approach to engaging with our communities, focusing instead on ‘return on objectives’ or ‘engagement’. 

Key question that will resonate with planners this year – 

What was the objective of the event and how does this impact my strategy? Was it simply for a decent investment return or was it to create a forgettable experience, grow the community, educate the audience and lead the conversation for the future?"

 

Prediction: DEI initiatives gain steam

Gabrielle Austen-Browne, Co-Founder at Diversity Ally & Diverse Speaker Bureau:

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“There are a couple of key trends I see happening in the Events/MICE industries in 2022:

First, I expect to see more diverse speakers from a variety of backgrounds on stage, at events. And not just talking about diversity, but speaking on a wide range of topics.

Secondly, speaking with my peers and clients, although everyone feels there is a lot more work to be done when it comes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), there are early adopters who really want to start sharing the amazing work they have done through case studies, sharing resources and by entering the Diversity In Events Awards.

I think this will help those who haven’t started or are at the beginning of their DEI journey, to have the confidence and be inspired to start.”

 

Trend to Watch: Having a digital strategy

Jack Newey, Portfolio Director - Conference News:

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“We have an exciting year ahead for the industry. Live events will return and virtual/hybrid will continue, but rather than seeing things as black and white as that, I think it will become the norm for all events of any type to incorporate a ‘digital strategy’ as part of total event planning."

 

Prediction: Data is king

Dylan Monorchio, Head of Marketing and Editorial at Explori:

7-2022_trends-Prioritizing Sustainability

"The event industry is recovering, but changing at the same time. Shifts in audience habits around content consumption and stronger priorities around sustainability and DEI are going to require eventprofs to step up, rethink a lot of their assumptions, and push boundaries in their event design.

Data is the key to de-risking this process. Success metrics will shift from stark revenue-oriented lagging indicators to richer customer-centric leading indicators, and savvy eventprofs will see data as something that supports them rather than something intimidating that they’re accountable for wrangling.

The ability to understand and work with event data will be a key factor that differentiates more tactical event professionals from those who can occupy a strategic seat at the table.”

 

Trend to Watch: Prioritizing Sustainability 

Jack Newey, Portfolio Director - Conference News:

“I think with sustainability and diversity being critical issues - which will remain at the forefront throughout 2022 - planners will need to analyse every element of their event strategy to ensure they are making the right decisions for their community and the wider impact, and this will lead to changes to event formats long beyond the pandemic.

Ask yourself: what would be the wider impact of the event and how does this also effect my strategy? Sustainability and diversity becoming so critical to this part of the conversation.”

 

2022 - So many possibilities! 

The one point we can all agree on is that 2022 is shaping up to be the year where we take everything we’ve learned since the pandemic started and make it better. Tailored content, data-driven decision-making, running localized events, sustainability, inclusivity, these are all growing in importance as event organizers start planning for this year. 

One of the most interesting trends of 2022 is the role community will play in the events industry. The digital strategies that we came up with on the fly in 2020 are now well-oiled machines. As the pandemic gave event organizers lemons, they went ahead and made lemonade with it.

Understanding that event organizers need to be agile and use technology to their advantage is one thing. Channeling that spirit into building and growing a community is another thing. But eventprofs are a resilient bunch, they know a great opportunity when they see it. 

Here’s to seeing where 2022 takes us!

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Written By: Annahita Mirsalari