They say that the only constant in this world is change – and hasn’t that been proven to be the truth again and again these past few years! The event industry has endured a roller coaster ride since the start of the pandemic, with a near shutdown of in-person events in 2020, followed by a rebound of virtual events in early 2021, and finally the hybrid experience that has brought us into 2022. With starts and stops, new variants, and other global events impacting our lives, it’s been a challenging time for this industry.
Insider Perspectives – The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA)
Hotels not only have to commit to serious sustainability measures, but they must also adapt their services to deliver to a new manner of consumer, one born from the pandemic that shifted needs and expectations significantly. This adaptation comes in the form of better technology. The AHLA points to four trends in tech: personalization, self-service, contactless experiences, and apps that let guests do everything from booking rooms to confirming check-in times to scheduling a massage.
Insider Perspectives – ISA22
In an interview with Industrial Distribution, ISA President Brendan Breen discussed the changes they made for ISA22, which returned as an in-person event this year. I encourage you to read the entire interview, as Breen has some profound insight to guide future event strategy. It is significant to recognize that the changes made to this conference were attendee driven.
Insider Perspectives – Amadeus
Amadeus is a software company that manages the meetings and events process for many hotels. In their most recent report, they revealed some astounding numbers that match what we’re hearing from Brendan Breen about event strategy. Based on RFP data, performance in group business in Q1 of this year has beaten all of 2020 by 122% and all of 2021 by 50%. However, 63% of RFPs this year are for 50 people or less. This is a significant change to pre-pandemic levels, revealing that events and corporate meetings are getting smaller and are more focused on bringing the right attendees together.
What Attendees Want - and What You Need to Do to Bring them to Your Event
The kinds of adjustments made for ISA2022 provide a roadmap for events of the future. The focus of future events will require equal parts health and safety, sustainability, and most importantly, a flexible experience controlled by the attendee.
Attendees Want to Connect
Now that we’re getting back to big, in-person events, we can finally take a breath and think – not reactively about how to survive the latest radical shift but instead proactively – about how to move forward the right way. One thing is certain: People want to connect. And many of them want to connect in person. There’s been a growing level of comfort in “getting back out there,” as more people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and fewer people have been hospitalized because of the virus. Global travel is resuming, and countries are removing barriers to entry.
Attendees Want Control of their Experiences
While there is a growing number of people who want to attend in-person events, the pandemic has made us all much more aware of the convenience of participating in certain experiences online. Going forward, event strategy will need to include giving attendees control over what they attend in-person and what they attend online – even if it’s from their hotel rooms at the event.
Accommodating In-Person Attendees
The goals of events have shifted significantly in recognizing the changing needs of attendees. Event attendees want more control than ever over their experiences. As more people have discovered the desire for work-life balance, scheduling events on weekends that encroach on their free time is no longer welcome. Instead, events are better scheduled for Monday through Friday. Attendees also want more control over their networking experience – choosing when and how they connect with others.
And if you’re hosting an event or participating in one, you will need to deliver on attendee expectations, to get the engagement and ROI you need.
Events, meetings, and tradeshows are resuming with fervor around the world; to be prepared for the opportunities being presented, get in touch. ExpoVention specializes in developing solutions for your event needs.