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We recently wrote a blog post about what our team of event experts thinks the future of events will look like in a post-pandemic landscape, including hybrid events, virtual events, and in-person events. But we don’t just want you to take our word for it…

Today, we’re rounding up what 5 of the top event experts across different industries and experiences have to say about the future of events, along with some tips for how you can apply their updated event strategies to your 2021 and 2022 event calendars. 

Jim Louderback – General manager of VidCon 

“The events industry has been fairly hidebound for a long time,” Louderback told Fast Company. “Success now means you have to be as nimble and practice as much creative destruction as startups were doing in the tech space over the last 10 or 15 years. Before COVID-19, we had vague plans to do these types of things, but they were more long term. COVID-19 forced us to accelerate.” 

What COVID-19 did for events is to help them focus on why they exist. It helped us home in on what our audience really wants. They want community, they want content, and they want connection. When you go back to face-to-face, it shouldn’t start and end with the event. It should be an experience that you can deliver every day and every week that culminates in a face-to-face event. 

Keneisha Williams – Co-Founder of Black in Events 

“There will always be virtual and hybrid events — but in-person events will always reign supreme over virtual,” Keneisha told Forbes. “Humans are social creatures and we need face-to-face experiences. Given the option, attendees are going to choose in-person as long as it’s in reach. I also believe if a company has a big enough budget to host hybrid events, which ultimately includes virtual, they will. However, it won’t be at the top of the list for many organizers.” 

Michael Balyasny – Co-Founder & CEO of online registration software Attendify 

“The event industry is shifting from a tactical to a strategic outlook with respect to the role of technology, and attendee engagement is at the heart of the transformation,” Michael told Demand Gen Report. Getting people in the door (physically or virtually) is no longer enough. Unlocking event ROI for every stakeholder is all about engagement with content and networking experiences. The role of technology will be in helping marketers and planners understand attendee behavior at a deeper level than was previously possible. Those signals will be used for everything from personalizing experiences and identifying intent, to driving marketing and retention campaigns to grow events.” 

James Morgan – Founder of Event Tech Lab 

“What we are going to see in the next few years is a recalibration of the supply structure for the events industry – at the local, national and international level,” said Morgan at IBTM Wired 2021 online event. With the economic recovery from the pandemic limiting some event planners’ budgets, the fast forwarding – through necessity – of common usage of online platforms, as well as corporate sustainability goals, means the supply side is already changing.” 

Sherrif Karamat – President and CEO of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) 

“We need to start thinking differently when it comes to viewing face-to-face and digital meeting format,” Sherrif told BBC. “We should not be comparing one channel over another, as no one channel is a replacement for another. It is simply another channel of engagement that allows you to extend your reach and grow your audience. In the case of PCMA and many other organizations, digital events have proven to increase attendance at physical events. In the future, if organizations are truly thinking of growing their audience and increasing their relevance, they will have to create content, communities, and experiences that engage their audience in the medium they are most comfortable.” 

If you have an event you are looking to plan for 2021, 2022, or beyond and are looking for more information on the future of live and in-person events, be sure to reach out to Bluewater today. Our team of event experts can help you implement the advice above and create a in-person, virtual, or hybrid strategy that will bring success to your brand.