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THE SHOW

MUST GO ON

Influencers have long been a useful tool in the marketer’s arsenal to endorse products and services. In the modern era, they help create an online buzz about a brand, which in turn, strengthens brand reputation, improves audience engagement and increases conversations about the brand. 

The role of influencers dates back to as far as 1760 when pottery maker, Wedgwood, created a tea set for the wife of King George III. The royalty in question fulfilled the role of influencer, with Wedgwood quick to market their wares as fit for a king or queen. 

THE SHOW

MUST GO ON

While the global pandemic undoubtedly thwarted
the events industry when it emerged in 2020,
event organisers around the world quickly adapted to keep momentum in creative ways. Traditional in-person events were
hard hit, with
MarketWatch estimating that over $30 billion was lost in 2020. To survive amidst the chaos, organisers scrambled for solutions, with more than 49% replacing live events
with webinars.

The events industry is an essential cog in the global financial wheel, with the Events Industry Council suggesting that business events contribute $1,5 trillion to the global GDP. While the industry’s growth was greatly challenged in the past two years, it continues to evolve, with Research and Markets highlighting that while the industry was estimated to be worth as much
as $1,135.4 billion in 2019, it is expected to continue
its upward growth trajectory and
reach $1,552.9 billion by 2028.

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The easing of restrictions worldwide, as well as those in South Africa, provided a glimmer of hope for the industry – allowing people to once again meet face-to-face. This renewed sense of hope is evidenced in Eventbrite’s 2022 Event Trend Report, where 75% of event organisers reported feeling optimistic about 2022 and the future of the industry.

Like a phoenix from the flames, the industry is set to slowly return to normalcy and 2022 is expected to be the year of revival. As such, it’s important to be cognisant of five trends that will continue to influence the success of the global events industry,
now and in the near future.

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THE RETURN OF IN-PERSON EVENTS

A recently published report by American Express Meetings & Events2022 Global Meetings and Events Forecastbears testimony to respondents’ optimism that the events industry will return to its former glory. So much so that 67% of respondents believe that in-person meeting levels will return to pre-pandemic numbers within one to two years.

In-person interactions in a physical space allow for the strengthening of existing relationships and the blooming of new ones, and according to research from 99Firms, as many as 87% of B2B marketers believe that in-person events play a critical role in their success and 97% claim that physical events are crucial for lead gathering. 

In light of this, 64% of event marketers increased their events budgets to ensure that they are ready to tackle in-person events. Marketers should look at reworking budgets to include the return of these events, and as such, book venues and services early and in accordance with health and safety regulations. 

HYBRID EVENTS REMAIN THE FUTURE

The events industry has changed forever, thanks to the power of technology. Combining in-person events with virtual technology to form hybrid events has seen as many as 67% of event organisers believing that these event types are the future of the industry, according to Exploding Topics 

While virtual events rose to the occasion and were able to attract a larger number of purely remote audiences, they lacked the face-to-face connection and engagement of live events. This is something that hybrid events do well, allowing for flexibility and reaching a larger audience than traditional in-person events can do. 

Hybrid events allow marketers to tap into a new audience profile. According to Brella, nearly 98% of hybrid event attendees did not plan to attend an event if it took place in person. This created an opportunity for marketers to reach a new audience made up of people who were either uninterested in attending in-person events or unsure of how an in-person event would benefit them.

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INTEGRATING AR AND VR IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER

When one door closes another opens, and this cannot be more true for the technological evolution of the events industry. Extended reality solutions (XR) like augmented and virtual reality technologies have allowed event organisers to create new and engaging experiences that expand on what traditional events offer. 

The integration of augmented and virtual reality has opened the door to engaging with audiences through apps on their devices or enhancing product demonstrations. While augmented reality provides an interactive and immersive experience that can intensify real-world objects, virtual reality can simulate a different world or imitate real-world experiences. 

Event experts agree that with the rise of the metaverse, this new virtual world will make its appearance in the events industry. With event platform vFairs already creating custom avatars and high interactivity for virtual event attendees, the concept of events taking place in the virtual world may be commonplace in the near future.

ONGOING FOCUS ON HEALTH AND SAFETY

Eventbrite’s 2022 Event Trends Report says that while event organisers are optimistic about the industry’s future, some hesitancy remains, with 20% of surveyed respondents fearing a resurgence of cases as events begin to return to normal. Skift Meetings adds that safety remains the primary concern for event planners, with 55% citing it as their greatest challenge. 

According to insights by events platform Floor, 48% of event organisers cite local health guidelines as important considerations when choosing a venue. A popular alternative to indoor venues is utilising outdoor spaces that can accommodate large audience groups, maintaining social distancing protocols, and reducing the chance of airborne transmissions. 

For the time being, the majority of safety protocols that have been ingrained in society over the past two years must remain in place, bar the requirement to wear a mask outdoors. This includes sanitation stations positioned across multiple venue locations and online registrations to prevent overcrowding and adherence to government regulations, amongst others.

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HARNESSING AI TO ORGANISE AND ANALYSE

An emerging technology that will be a key driver in the success of the future of the events industry is artificial intelligence. Having already become prevalent in our daily lives on our personal devices, it will become a mainstay in the events industry and will be instrumental in event planning and the analysis of post-event information. 

From chatbots helping to improve communication between attendees and organisers on enabled event apps to providing greater networking opportunities based on shared interests, AI provides deeper attendee insights than conventional methods and will provide a more personalised experience based on an attendee’s unique interests. 

By using insights gleaned from AI data, organisers will be better positioned to improve engagement and ensure attendees have a great experience at every event. As AI algorithms constantly improve and the more they are adapted to unique use cases, the more indispensable it will be to ensuring that attendee expectations are exceeded time after time.

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Is your brand considering returning to in-person events, or want to find out how your brand can reach new markets and audiences through hybrid events? Send an email to info@eclipsecomms.com and one of our experts will be in touch.

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