Trends we saw (and wrote about) in the event industry last year.

There’s no doubt that 2021 was the year of change in the event industry. From one minute to the next, it seemed like everything we all knew about planning events was being jumbled up and rearranged. 

In the face of all these continuing changes, event organizers learned not only to quickly adapt, but to thrive in the new event industry world.

Last year might have brought some confusion to the typical planning processes, but it also brought a wave of amazing event trends that we are definitely carrying into 2022! These are the top event trends we saw (and wrote about) last year.

Man giving a presentation on stage with Virtual attendees being projected on the stage screen

Hybrid Events (and venues) are all the rage.

Zoom fatigue is absolutely real. A lot of people are itching to close their laptops ang get back out into the real world for some human-to-human interaction. Others would rather stay in the comfort of the virtual status quo. 

The perfect solution? Hybrid!

We noticed that event organizers and attendees can’t get enough of hybrid events (and hybrid venues). We even dedicated an entire post to the topic of best of in-person and hybrid venue.The best thing about hybrid events is the way they can tailor to attendees of all kinds. Those who are ready to meet face-to-face can get those interactions, while those who aren’t quite ready to venture out can still get in on the action. 

Hybrid events also allow for a really unique structure. For example, at the AWS 2020, the in person keynote involved virtual attendees into the mix by projecting them on the stage, how cool! Hybrid has really proven to be a win-win for any event.

GIF of socially distanced in-person meeting at the Hilton in Norfolk, VA

Safety is on the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Having a safe event has always been a priority for organizers, but in the midst of COVID-19 it has become more important than ever. 

Right now, hosting an in person event means taking the extra time to put safety protocols in place. Attendees want to meet in person, but they want to do it safely. Things like temperature checks, onsite testing, and social distancing are easy ways to ensure that your event operates smoothly.

We wrote about how you can host an in person event safely right now, and know that it’s possible to have a super fun (and super safe) face-to-face event! 

Safety protocols aren’t necessarily a burden. Social distancing measures, like we see in the above GIF of an event at Hilton in Norfolk, VA, allow for attendees to have more space than ever before. Instead of dealing with cramped convention spaces and smelling what the person beside you ate for lunch, attendees can have a little more elbow space now.

Blue Ted Lasso marketing truck with big yellow sign painted on the sign saying "BELIEVE"

Event marketing is going next-level.

Events that stand out from the rest know how to keep their audience excited. That’s where marketing comes in. While planners have always known that marketing is a big component of the event process, we’ve seen events really take their efforts to the next level.

Sure, we all know that pre-event marketing is essential, and the interactive Ted Lasso marketing activations pictured above are a great example of how to get interest piqued before a big launch. People love something that catches their eye, and that makes them want to learn more.

What we’ve noticed that’s really taking marketing efforts to the next level is the marketing happening after the event is over. Getting your attendees excited before the event is one thing, but keeping them excited once it’s ended is the true sign of a great event that will keep people coming back for more.

Gif of bearded man saying "And what about very old friends?"

Community involvement is on the rise. 

The phrase “it takes a village” has never been more true. 

Events have a lot of moving parts. Keeping attendees engaged, safe, fed, and present is a very big job. What if you could have a little help? Well, partnering with the local community has proven to be a great way to take your event up a notch. There are so many ways to involve the community in a way that will spice up your event, and have a positive impact on the overall satisfaction. 

Getting a hip new food spot to cater the event is a great way to give attendees a unique experience outside of speaker presentations and breakout sessions. Sponsorship from city officials to enhance safety procedures can help ease concerns and make people feel more comfortable. Even a merch collaboration to highlight a small business can show that your event just means more.

These partnerships are just a phone call away, so start dialing!

We may be cozying up into 2022, but the event trends we saw last year aren’t going anywhere just yet.

Staying on top of what’s hot in the industry is the best way to be sure you’re hosting an amazing event that your attendees will remember. With a year of so much uncertainty, constant change can feel like the worst case scenario. In reality, it’s the exact opposite.

Change ≠ chaos. Instead, embrace these trends and keep them in your back pocket as you plan your next event. This is just the beginning of the excitement to come for the industry. Keep your eye on these trends, and the many more we will see in 2022!

January 13, 2022

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January 13, 2022

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