2022 Event Planning – What associations and marketers need to know
This week, conference experts Kelly Power and Natalie Ciarallo spoke to CSAE (Canadian Society of Association Executives) members and shared best practices for 2022 Event Planning
Why are we talking about HYBRID events?
It’s the question and topic we hear most often as companies plan for the year ahead. We know virtual is here to stay, but there is no doubt that people are missing live experiences. This means that Hybrid is your most strategic approach to a successful event.
2022 will be a transitional year as we start to lay the groundwork for what it means to be hybrid.
When we talk about hybrid events, we are referring to an event that has BOTH in-person and virtual attendees & presenters. Networking is not limited to virtual or live. Workshops and breakouts are designed for both. Ultimately the value of attending live or virtual is the same.
We will see events in the coming months that begin to scratch the surface of hybrid but won’t necessarily be true examples of how hybrid can be maximized. But that’s ok. It’s a good time to test and learn.
Six Key trends for 2022
1. The Future is Hybrid
- Guiding principle of Hybrid is….
- ONE EVENT: TWO EQUALLY ENGAGING EXPERIENCES.
- The future of events will be the best of both the live and the virtual experience merged.
- The virtual audience should not feel like outsiders looking in.
- Instead of just streaming your live event to a virtual audience, create two unique experiences – customized to each audience and of equal value.
- There are many benefits to hybrid events including flexibility, accessibility, greater insights, ROI, and many more
2. High Quality AV production
- Given the complex production requirements of hybrid event planning, the audio-visual investment will be top-of-mind for organizers.
- As a result, event venues are likely to become like broadcasting studios, featuring giant LED screens and presenters on stage addressing both the live and virtual audience. Organizers will need to invest in fast and reliable Wi-Fi, high-quality cameras and microphones, to deliver an outstanding experience for virtual attendees.
- Tip – Surprise your audience with innovative technology to keep them engaged behind their screens such as Extended Reality, which takes your content right off the screen and makes it 3D.
- Push the boundaries of AV for all virtual events – talk to your partners to find out what you can do that is new and different to captivate your audience.
3. Multiple Event Locations – Spread out the live experience
- Instead of one location for live attendees have smaller regional locations
- For example, if you have a virtual event for a national audience during the day, consider local, in-person networking receptions. Or, set up regional venues for exclusive content to network and connect with the live content.
4. Health and Safety focus – how to help accelerate the return to ‘live.’
- Beyond the mandatory health measures from Public Health, it will be important for event organizers to put additional measures in place to make their audience feel comfortable returning to “live” events.
- Almost 4 in 10 Canadians (2/10 in the USA) will demand Vaccine Passport presentation or mandatory vaccination be enforced to consider attending in person.
- Health and safety measures should be implemented AND communicated effectively
5. The evolution of virtual networking
- Create opportunities for your virtual and live attendees to meet
- There has been a vast amount of innovation in the virtual networking space, and we encourage you to test more than one option to see what your audience prefers when it comes to networking. Some great tools are:
- Braindates– bookable meetings based on similar interests
- Hopin does “speed dating” style networking.
- Remo does table-style networking where you can “walk up to a table” and connect with fellow seatmates
6. Integrating Sustainability with your live events
- Not only does the audience want to see event organizers create green events, but it’s also our corporate responsibility to do so.
Four pillars of sustainability to keep in mind when planning your hybrid event:
1. Environmentally friendly venues & partners
- The right event agency partner will integrate this into the planning phase. And an agency like ourselves will go a step further and carbon offset all our events.
2. F&B waste reduction
- No Single serve plastics
- Just make it part of your planning.
3. Paperless communication
- QR codes for agendas
- Event Apps for communication and note taking
- No useless swag
4. Green transportation options
- Less air travel – use local gatherings instead of one big gathering
- Offer buses for group travel
- Carbon offset attendees travel
If you are still not sure about going hybrid, know that most events are very well suited to the hybrid format. If you want to chat through how to adjust your event, we can help your organization plan for and develop engaging and interactive virtual, live & hybrid events.
For information on our full end-to-end solutions contact: Kelly Power, KPower@proofexperiences.com
Kelly PowerSenior Vice President, Client Service|November 19, 2021