According to a report on event services by Allied Market Research, the global event services industry generated $515.80 billion in 2021 and is expected to generate $1,349.00 billion by 2031. Some key determinants of market growth include a massive increase in business activities, such as conferences/seminars, brand promotions, employee training activities, and more. In turn, this demand is predicted to fuel growth in related sectors like event planning, personnel service providers, and furniture & equipment rentals. With this prominent uptake, here are five emerging trends we’re seeing this year:
In-person events and travel are on the rise again
Due to the waning of COVID-19, we are looking at the return of in-person meetings, events, and business travel in general. People are planning more trips to attend conferences, conventions, trade shows, trainings, and celebrations in 2022. Our post ‘Corporate Incentive Travel is Catching Up!’ highlights how hotels are currently seeing more sold-out rooms, larger group functions, and a regularly packed house within their outlets thanks to this shift. Travelers are hitting the road to engage with colleagues and clients, but they may be doing so with some reservations — so the events industry should stay as alert as possible.
Hybrid events will feature AR and VR capabilities
We’ve seen hybrid events with virtual and in-person components take off in the past few years, reaching wider audiences and lowering overhead costs for organizers. In its simplest form, hybrid events feature a physical event taking place at a venue with a virtual event tuned in at the same time. To elevate this experience, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies will be incorporated. AR tools are effective for product demos, networking, entertainment, and engagement, as well as interactive maps for events and venue tours. On the other hand, VR tools can work well for event gamification and virtual tours, depending on your attendees’ needs.
Strong focus on events as networking opportunities
For years, networking has remained one of the top reasons to attend events. Professionals crave human interaction and want to build meaningful relationships, especially as work has become increasingly decentralized over the past few years. It’s important for event organizers to recognize this need. As insights on maximizing network connections from LHH point out, people want to form connections that allow them to share advice, discuss their experiences, and expand their reach to more people. An event should be a “hub” that facilitates introductions between mutual connections to provide value for attendees. Creative networking ideas like speed networking, idea walls, and digital badges are some easy ways you can improve the experience for event attendees.
Prioritizing health, safety, and cybersecurity in events
We’ve seen how damaging certain risks can be over the past few years, and these are top-of-mind for many event attendees. For one, health concerns can be assuaged with the right strategy; investing in sanitation, touchless technology, and proximity alerts may help attendees feel more comfortable. You can also look into outdoor venues and onsite health screenings as well. Moreover, we’ve become more tech-reliant worldwide, so cybersecurity is almost as important as our physical safety. It’s not impossible for cybersecurity issues, data breaches, and hacks to crop up in the events industry, which is why increasing cybersecurity efforts will be essential to maintain individual security and privacy.
Greater focus on sustainability
Generally speaking, guests, merchandisers, vendors, and suppliers are committed to sustainability in business practices, which is why eco-friendly events will be on-trend this year. For example, event professionals are looking into creating circular economies to reuse and recycle items after an event. One article on events published in The Journal of Sustainable Tourism argues that events should also aim to contribute to sustainable development, rather than simply exploring how to make individual events more carbon-neutral. Case in point, the Formula E motor racing series began to use electric cars, glamorizing the vehicles and advancing related tech. We need to rethink event sustainability as more than a marketing tool or a form of differentiation moving forward.