Event Trends for 2022 - Virtual, Hybrid, and In-Person

In the past few years, event planning has changed in so many ways. 

Instead of going to an in-person event, the world shifted to virtual events. Companies scrambled to find the right virtual event platform to host gatherings that went beyond just video conferencing.  Then, as people started going to more virtual events, they started to expect a more robust virtual environment, more along the lines of a virtual trade show. This raised the bar on what virtual event companies needed to deliver with their virtual event platform.

Many of the marketers and attendees surveyed showed mixed feelings about events. Attendance increased significantly with virtual events. The event costs were reduced dramatically both for those putting them on and for those attending. Yet, many miss the hands-on interaction that in-person events provide. One study showed that 80% of those attending virtual events missed attending in-person events.[1]

That’s why many marketers launched a hybrid event solution to provide the best of both worlds. 

While virtual events are part of the plan for nearly every event marketer, hybrid events are taking center stage. Virtual event trends for 2022 include blending these models into more hybrid events.  73% of event marketers say they expect hybrid events to be more prevalent than ever.[2]

 

Hybrid Event Trends for 2022

More than a third of event organizers say they expect to invest more heavily in hybrid events over the next few years.[3] The larger the company, the more likely they are to host hybrid events combining in-person content with a virtual platform. 63% of companies with between 2,000 and 5,000 employees say hybrid events are part of their event portfolio moving forward. For businesses with more than 5,000 employees, 71% say they’re increasing their hybrid events. It’s not just the largest companies that are increasing their commitment to hybrid events, though. More than half of companies with less than 1,000 employees also plan to launch a hybrid events platform to increase audience reach.

If you are currently looking for hybrid events software, you’re not alone. 21% of marketers say they are looking for virtual venue software for hosting virtual events.[3]

 

The Benefits of Hybrid Events

Hosting both an in-person element and a virtual conference allows you to maximize your revenue. Hybrid venues allow companies that have cut back on travel budgets to still attend while offering all the benefits of in-person events. In most cases, marketers report dramatic increases in overall attendance and increased revenue.

Besides increasing attendance and revenue, there are other benefits that hybrid events provide.  One of the biggest is increased data and deeper analytics from your hybrid event’s virtual software.  This gives planners, sponsors, and exhibitors greater insight into the event audience and what content engages attendees. You can track almost any metric you want.

 

In 2022, expect hybrid events to:

    • Provide a seamless integration of technology to allow participation between in-person audiences and virtual audiences
    • Create virtual assets that can be viewed on-demand, thereby increasing their reach
    • Craft shared and unique experience for in-person and virtual attendees
    • Create additional exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities

 

78% of corporate sponsors said they support hybrid events and 78% said they would sponsor virtual events.[4]

 

Virtual Event Trends for 2022

Virtual events aren’t going away, however. In fact, look for even more virtual events. The ease of creating virtual events and the cost-effectiveness make it easier for companies to plan and execute virtual gatherings at scale. Even when in-person events return to full force, 71% of planners say they will continue to employ a digital strategy for virtual events.[5]

 

In 2022, look for virtual events to have:

    • More frequent virtual events and micro-events
    • Higher focus on smaller groups and personalized content
    • Shorter conferences and on-demand content
    • Virtual networking and socializing components
    • More flexible options for participation

 

Many companies are shifting their priorities from revenue to full-fledged marketing platforms. For example, Microsoft hosted an in-person conference in 2019 for 6,000 attendees who paid $2,395 to attend. According to the Event Leadership Institute, Microsoft made the event free to attend virtually in 2020; nearly 200,000 people attended.[6] That dramatic increase in reach, at a fraction of the cost, provided an impressive marketing platform that would not have been possible with an in-person event. While not everybody has seen such dramatic increases in attendance, the shifting from in-person to virtual events for established programs has typically generated a 30% increase in participation.

 

Event Technology Trends for 2022

To deliver a high-quality experience, event planners will need to make sure they have a robust virtual venue platform to deliver virtual and hybrid event value. As marketers hurried to put together virtual and hybrid events, many scrambled to find the right virtual event platform.  40% of event planners say they aren’t happy with the tech options they found.[7] Perhaps that’s why 64% of event planners surveyed said they struggle with designing digital event experiences.[7]

For hybrid events, marketers need to deploy the right tech stack. While almost all event venues have the tech and equipment available to host in-person events, few (if any) have a robust virtual events platform to manage hybrid events.

 

In 2022, look for greater investment in hybrid events software that can:

    • Create a seamless attendee experience
    • Provide a distinctive virtual experience to foster engagement
    • Drive audience interaction
    • Create a persistent community, including pre- and post-event
    • Provide rich data sets
    • Enhance experiences with scheduling, matchmaking, and gamification

 

Event marketers require a hybrid event solution that can handle everything you need from registration to event execution to post-event follow-up. The technology must be simple to use, yet create an engaging experience. And, it needs to capture the valuable data you need to evaluate your event and continue to provide value after your virtual or hybrid event is over. The best hybrid event solution will allow you to humanize your virtual events to foster real connections.

 

The Best Virtual and Hybrid Event Platform

6Connex is the leading provider of virtual and hybrid events for enterprises worldwide - the smarter way to do virtual. We help you create exceptional events to engage with your community and transform big ideas into real-world results.

 

6Connex helps marketers:

    • Increase event registrations regardless of how participants attend
    • Extend the shelf life of your content before, during, and after your event
    • Provide new and additional exposure to attract new sponsors and increase sponsorship value
    • Reduce carbon footprints with less waste for attendees, staff, and vendors

 

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you create better virtual and hybrid events, get in touch with the event tech experts at 6Connex today.


 E-Book: The Playbook to Planning Your Virtual Event

Sources:

1. The Drum - Research Reveals What Will Work and Who Will Attend Live Events
2. Meeting Spotlight - Stats: 73% of Event Planners Expect Hybrid Events to Be More Common in the Future
3. Markletic - 35 Remarkable Hybrid Event Statistics (2021 Research)
4. INCON - 80% of Corporate Sponsors are interested in investing in virtual events but they need interaction, according to a new survey by AIM Group
5. Event Manager Blog - A Framework for Planning Internal Events in a Hybrid World
6. Exploding Topics - 9 Emerging Event Industry Trends (2021-2023)
7. PCMA Convene - COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard

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