During the past two years, our world was dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns, and remote working mandates, all of which affected how companies operated and organised conferences across the board. Conference organisers had to deal with strict travel restrictions, which resulted in businesses resorting to virtual conferences and limited in-person or hybrid events with effective social distancing.
Thanks to the introduction of the vaccine and booster shots, we are finally entering a hopeful post-COVID era with new mandates and evolved conference planning. Today, every event management agency is adapting to this new normal and helping companies worldwide plan large-scale conferences and corporate events successfully.
Let’s explore corporate event management and conference planning changes in 2022!
6 Ways Conference Planning Has Evolved in 2022
In-Person Events Are Finally Back
In this post-COVID world, people are vying to get back to their everyday routine and enjoy corporate events without any restrictions. The Global Recovery Insights 2021 report shows that 72% of the survey participants indicated they would be attending in-person shows and events in 2022. Despite the worldwide use of virtual events throughout the pandemic, they haven’t replaced in-person events today.
Corporate event management is still closely tied to live events. Many companies prefer face-to-face interactions, networking, and conferences over their digital counterparts. Today, businesses are reworking their budgets to include the return of in-person, large-scale conferences. However, there is still a hybrid element attached to these events to accommodate people from different geographies to attend the events.
Currently, event venues are getting more and more bookings and have limited available slots. So, if you plan to arrange a conference at your preferred venue, it’s best to book it well ahead of the conference date.
Moreover, you will also have to think of hiring the required event staff and make the necessary arrangements to ensure the success of your event. Just make sure to review the booking and cancellation policy of your chosen venue to ensure that your budget can accommodate the cancellation fee in case you choose to have some last-minute plans for the event or move to a hybrid or virtual event.
Hybrid Events Are Still Preferred over Completely Virtual & In-Person Events
Today, many businesses worldwide prefer hosting hybrid conferences as opposed to completely virtual or in-person conferences. It allows them to make their event more sustainable and gives every employee and prospective attendee, even those in remote locations, the opportunity to partake in the event.
It also gives those who prefer live, in-person events the chance to mingle and network effectively. Hybrid conferences also use virtual tools to help people join virtually to remain connected with in-person attendees and each other throughout the conference.
While some companies are still opting for entirely virtual events, most have adopted a hybrid strategy for their conferences. It allows them to plan for the event accordingly by booking a relatively smaller venue for in-person attendees and then focusing on virtual tools and technology to facilitate the virtual event environment and ensure seamless communication between conference speakers and attendees.
Simultaneous Conference Planning
The hyper locality is a recent trend that we can see in conference planning in 2022. Conference organisers and corporations host multiple conferences simultaneously at meeting spaces or limited-service hotels, i.e. regional spaces. These are local, connected events with robust digital components to ensure connectivity across the board. This setup ensures that the attendees don’t have to bear travel expenses and can remain connected through multiple simultaneously organised conferences.
The Evolution of Technology
Since virtual and hybrid events are here to stay, software developers are increasingly accommodating to this new normal. They are filling the gap in the market for software and technology that can enhance digital networking. Today, many companies are actively using new technology to accommodate their live and virtual audiences, conference participants, and speakers. They offer them an engaging conference experience that they can enjoy remotely.
Virtual Reality Conferences
VR is undoubtedly tied to the advancement of technology and the development of new ways to partake in virtual conferences from across the world. VR will change the face of conference planning by allowing businesses to invite speakers and attendees from different parts of the world to attend their conferences and share their wisdom in a virtual setting from the comfort of their offices and homes.
Augmented reality experiences are becoming more affordable and accessible, allowing organisations to look into them to make their conferences more memorable and convenient for their attendees. Businesses are using AR event planning tools for product demos, entertaining their employees, organising multiple conferences, planning companywide objective implementations, etc.
For large-scale conferences, businesses can use AR tools to offer virtual tours to the event attendees to make them feel more connected to in-person conference attendees and allow them to access the event breakout sessions and get the lay of the land before the event starts.
Sustainable Conference Planning
Any professional event management agency throughout the world is choosing to plan more sustainable and eco-friendly events and conferences. The corporate event planning industry has seen a massive shift to sustainable practices. Today, the goal is to create a carbon-neutral event by sourcing responsibly, reducing carbon footprint, and achieving social value.
Many companies use their creativity to recycle and repurpose old items, materials, and arenas for their conferences. They are also planning more virtual or hybrid events to lessen the carbon footprint of their conferences and focus on making their events more sustainable. Moreover, the use of hyper locality also allows corporations to ensure their attendees don’t have to travel and contribute to the environmental impact of travel just to attend their conference.
The Bottom Line
Today, conference planning involves the use of VR, AR, technologically-advanced software, and a healthy mix of virtual and in-person tools and eco-friendly promotional material and venues. Businesses worldwide are being more conscious of their choices. They want to accommodate their employees’ needs, which has resulted in the rise of hybrid conferences and events that can seamlessly enable in-person and remote employees and other conference attendees to enjoy the conference.