January 31, 2022
Over the past two years, the uncertainty of COVID-19 has changed the world of networking and event planning. With lockdowns and forced isolations, in-person corporate events were essentially not possible, and we all moved to virtual.
If anything, the pandemic has taught the true value of networking and corporate events, and important in-person human interaction is for our businesses and health. So what will corporate events look like moving forward?
We have learned these past two years how important corporate events are for the health of our businesses and networks. But what will in-person corporate events look like in 2022? We predict that there will be more in-person events, but there will be an emphasis on safety and health.
The Events Industry Council (EIC) found a significant upswing in global group demand during Q3 2021, while overall, business meetings and events activity has recovered to approximately half of pre-pandemic levels.
The barometer found that during Q3 2021, RFP activity rose 124.4%, and hotel group room nights increased 68.8% compared to the same period in 2020. Additionally, 57% of companies reported conducting domestic business travel, more than twice as 2020,
As events come back, rapid testing and vaccine requirements for large-scale events will help corporate event planners ensure that they are incorporating protocols that are helping to keep their guests safe. These will most likely be a requirement for big corporate trade shows and conferences. We also see conferences may be postponed and moved depending on the number of cases.
Events will evolve to become more human-centric. We have learned from the past two years, that human interaction is what makes these events so important, and the events will revolve around ensuring these connections can be made in a more genuine manner. Content, networking hours, and others will have these in mind, and the best events will make this the focus of their gatherings.
While we have all missed in-person gatherings and meetings, virtual events and meetings are here to stay. For businesses, virtual meetings are much more efficient, cutting out costs of flights, and gas and time spent traveling. Therefore, we predict that for many companies, business travel will diminish and meetings and even many events will remain virtual.
This is particularly true for webinars, lunch and learns, and training sessions. Spending time traveling to and from training sessions, while they can’t be taken from the comfort of your office, will no longer be something that companies encourage, or executives will want to do. There is too much time lost, while many of these can be held virtually.
This is why, less will be more, and there will be fewer, but higher quality events that people will attend in person.
Finally, virtual events will also evolve. Keeping people’s attention after two years of virtual webinars will be difficult, so event planners will have to mount interesting productions and tell stories using tactics similar to those used in film, to make the virtual appealing.