What event trends have we seen in 2021?
There’s no denying that 2021 has seen different event trends, leaving the industry as a whole in a state of flux. At Remo, we’re continually hearing from our customers and contacts, “what’s next?”.
Let’s take a look at the event trends we’ve seen in 2021 and what the future of events holds.
Physical event trends 2021
Physical events were ever-present pre-2019. But thanks to the pandemic, the future of in-person events is still uncertain. With the rollout of the new vaccines, we’re seeing a natural shift towards more planned events in physical spaces- particularly ramping up this fall. The real question is what do physical events even look like in this post-COVID world?
There are a lot of people ready to jump back to the way things were, however, new considerations need to be taken. In addition to the typical overhead, venue, food, speakers, travel (and more), event organizers now have to consider social distancing, sanitizing venues, and the overall audience comfort level of mixing and mingling 2018 style.
In an interview with Forbes, event industry professionals Cindy Lo, Dahlia El Gazzar, and Keneisha Williams give their take on the future of physical events. They describe the social nature of humans and that we do crave some in-person contact. Of course, we all miss the human connection we experience with physical events. This is why in-person events will always have a place in the world. The looming questions remain: will physical events be more or less dominant than virtual events; how will physical events change in a post-pandemic world; and are physical events and virtual events really at odds with one another? I think not.
Virtual event trends 2021
Like with most things, the events industry was always moving virtual. The pandemic simply accelerated this. It bolstered the confidence and expedited the learning curve in even the most novice of tech users. With Technology’s continual and rapid evolution combined with the overall benefits of virtual events, I believe we’ve only scratched the surface in unlocking what virtual events truly have to offer.
However, too much of one thing (especially when forced) always outstays its welcome. So we’re seeing a natural level setting in the virtual event space. Using a scale of 1-10, if virtual events were dialed at a two pre-pandemic, COVID forced the virtual space as a whole to a ten.
At first, virtual was a relief. It was new. It was terrifying and exciting. We continued to connect with friends, colleagues, and loved ones. And as the months dragged on, terms like, “zoomed out” and “video fatigue” hit close to home. So we’re seeing people eager to connect again in real life. However, in this shift back to reality, it is clear that virtual events will not be left behind after the pandemic.
When expenses, coordination, travel budgets, and safety factors become reality again, virtual will be ready and waiting to scoop up and expand audiences and communities in ways never considered before.
The CEO and co-founder of b2 match discuss their views on the growth of virtual events. In addition to the benefits outlined above, they discuss how virtual events, with the right software, can give the same level of interaction as physical events. At Remo, we’ve even seen higher interaction, more connections, and different but equally powerful engagement.
Because too much of one thing always has its breaking point, a more likely scenario is hybrid events.
Hybrid event trends 2021
It’s clear that hybrid events are the event trend we’re seeing for 2021.
Depending on who you ask, Hybrid can mean many things to different people. So let’s get on the same page, what is hybrid?
An event that is simultaneously being held in a live venue and on a virtual platform streaming back and forth between the two formats. The event shares the same content, speakers, run-of-show, and attempts, in some capacity, to connect the in-person audience with the virtual audience.
The obvious challenge with hybrid is that it requires more coordination, more technology, and ultimately more budget. Easier for some budgets than others. So where does that leave everyone else?
- The slow shift to the way things were pre-pandemic with a little more focus on the virtual space. If you were primarily in-person before 2019, you’re likely looking to go back to in-person. However, people realized they can connect with a larger audience and community without traveling, big venue costs, and more. New technology has helped us to create an intimate and engaging environment in our virtual worlds.
- At Remo, we believe in a continuous event model. This involves separate events happening on or around the same day both in-person and online. The event has the same content, similar audiences but ultimately doesn’t connect in-person and virtual audiences through the event, but perhaps connects them through other digital efforts. Something for everyone in the audience!
- Beyond Hybrid events – connecting virtual and in-person audiences through an online community before, during, and after events. This hybrid event trend gives the virtual audience a sense of companionship by connecting them with the physical audience. It provides a continued space for people to interact and ultimately builds a larger community.
What is the future of the events industry?
So when asked, “what’s next,” the answer is, “it depends.” You know your audience, you know your community, you know your budget and goals. Likely, the answer will be a variation on all themes. And as technology evolves, our idea of events as a whole will evolve. Ultimately, what remains the same is our drive to connect people while providing an enjoyable experience and if we’re lucky give them a “wow” moment that will stick with them for life.
One thing is for sure, we cannot shy away from technology. If we want to give the best event experience to our audiences we need to integrate our past with our future which could be hybrid, or it could very well be something we haven’t yet seen.
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