As event planners and businesses of all sizes begin building out their event schedules for 2022 and beyond, now is a great time to take a look at what’s coming in event tech.
2022 looks to be a refining and iterating year, one that brings stability and consistency to the wild innovations and disruptions of the past two years.
Through a recent survey, Event MB identified several trends that every event manager should be aware of in 2022 and beyond. We’re focusing on the tech-related trends here, along with how Bluewater can support event managers and event planners with their technology needs.
Virtual and Hybrid Events Are Here to Stay
The push toward virtual and hybrid events certainly happened faster than seemed likely thanks to the sudden and ongoing effects of the pandemic. But through variants, variances in restrictions, and shifting public attitudes toward pandemic restrictions, one trend is crystal clear: now that virtual and hybrid events are here, they aren’t going away.
Yes, there’s a future where in-person attendance rebounds, maybe even considerably. But both the businesses and groups hosting events and the people interested in attending have gained too much value from the possibility of remote attendance for things to return to how they worked before the pandemic.
Put simply, organizations can reach more people, businesses, contacts, prospects, and so on when they include a virtual component to their events. Some people can’t afford to travel, don’t want the inconvenience, or are located too far away to make travel feasible. The only way to capture this share of the attendance pool is through virtual.
Internally focused opportunities also often make more sense with a virtual component. Larger organizations can leverage hybrid and virtual to include more of their workforce (such as a company-wide end-of-year party) or more of their sales team and vendors (with a virtual sales kickoff meeting).
The takeaway for event planners is this: if your attitude or approach toward virtual or hybrid has been “let’s do the minimum so we can get through this crisis,” it’s time to adjust. We will get through this crisis. But on the other side of it, your audiences will expect — maybe even demand — virtual offerings.
Now is the time to make those offerings robust and compelling.
New Tech and New Platforms Bring New Support Woes
One of the challenges of adopting any new platform or technology is getting your team fluent in using the new event technology. As tech tools become both more numerous and more complex, the technical side of using those tools grows more difficult, too.
Pulling off an immaculate in-person event is challenging enough. Now event planners are expected to pile on one or more new layers of technology — and keep all modes of the event running smoothly.
Providers of event technology need to step up their support game and, in some cases, improve their onboarding efforts. Clients who never get comfortable with a tool or platform aren’t likely to stick with that tool or platform.
Another solution to the challenge of support is partnering with a better events enablement partner, one that understands the intricacies of hybrid events. Or, better still, event planners can partner with an event tech firm that offers its own, well-supported virtual event platform. (We think Parallel.live is a great place to start!)
Better Use of Analytics, More Focus on Engagement
As virtual events platforms mature, expect a greater focus on both analytics and engagement. Both of these areas were early promises of going digital, but it takes nuance and care to make the most of either.
Virtual events platforms certainly offer better analytics than even the most tech-forward in-person events. You know who is planning to attend, who shows up, how long they stay, what they watch or participate in, and more.
The analytics data is richer, but interpreting it remains challenging. The event planners (and vendors) that can turn these troves of data into actionable insights in 2022 will see significant gains from doing so.
Engagement also remains a focus for 2022, but here again, the key is finding the right strategy. Digital engagement is different: people pop in and out much more casually than they would if they booked flights to New York for the same content.
Expecting engagement numbers to reach similar levels to in-person events isn’t realistic in most contexts. Still, engagement matters, and putting causes and motivations to any perceived lapses in engagement can help an event planner iterate, improving engagement for the next event on the calendar.
Whatever You Need in Event Tech, Bluewater Is Your Trusted Provider
As you make event plans for 2022 and beyond, Bluewater is ready to partner with you with state-of-the-art event tech. We’ve also created Parallel.live, a hybrid and virtual events platform built by events professionals.Whatever your objectives, we help you meet or exceed them. Reach out today to start a conversation about how we can help.