2022 was a year that was full of changes for the event industry and that trend is carrying on into 2023 as well. Event production is an ever-evolving industry and change is more prominent nowadays than ever before.
When live events came back in the spring of 2022, it was all about gathering, networking, and seeing each other after years of being apart. 2023 seems like events will be more strategic, have more meaning and be more purposeful. People won’t just hold an event to get together.
Here are my five predictions for what the event industry will look like in 2023:
1. Higher emphasis on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DE&I) and sustainability
People want to attend events that match their values and so in 2023. As event planners, it will be important to incorporate DE&I, as well as sustainability efforts into our meetings and events.
In 2023, it will be important to be diverse with suppliers, speakers, and guests so that there is an equal representation at our events. Attendees want to see others like themselves and feel represented throughout the event. Also, the same goes for sustainability, because people are more involved in caring about the environment today. This can be demonstrated through things like food, decor, swag and more.
2. Labour shortage and supply chain issues will still be an obstacle
The labour shortage and supply chain problems we faced in 2022 will still be an issue in 2023. It will be more challenging to plan events, as they will require more planning time and additional backup plans. Bookings are already more robust and far in advance, as people clamour to hold that special event that has been on the back burner for two years.
These issues are currently the sad reality of our event planning world because live events are back, but these obstacles are still apparent. It is crucial for us event planners to be more flexible and also have several backup plans. Going into 2023, we know things are going to be unpredictable.
3. In-Person and Virtual, but hybrid won’t make a comeback
Virtual events are here to stay because you are able to capture a larger global audience and expand your business reach. Live events are back because people are ready to socialize again. However, the person-to-person connection is just one that you cannot get through the virtual world.
However, Hybrid events won’t be making a comeback because it is far too expensive to have both elements in your event (live combined with a virtual component). Companies will stick to one or the other, depending on their event goals or established event budget.
4. Social media will continue to be used to connect with the attendees
With the digital world being ever-growing, it is important to incorporate elements of social media into your event. For example, dedicate a hashtag to the event or have a photo booth for the attendees to take pictures. These methods are great for event marketing because you will have your attendees spreading the word. It is also great especially if there is one dedicated event hashtag.
Something I feel will gain in popularity is hiring a paid service to curate live social media posts from your event. Speaking directly to your target audience while your event is underway, is effective and scalable.
5. More socializing and networking time between guests
Attendees who are actually coming to the event truly value the power of networking. They want to socialize with other attendees, so it is important that you schedule in time within the event agenda. This allows the guests to network and builds meaningful connections. Get-to-know activities or icebreakers are the best way to do this because it opens the door for attendees to be able to find something in common and connect with each other.
Live events are certainly back with a vengeance but they do come with their own challenges. For the skilled planner, we can navigate these turbulent waters because we have experienced a variety of obstacles over the decades. But for the new planner or client who is planning their own events, all of these setbacks could be critical and damaging to the event. In the coming year of 2023, I think that experienced event support will be needed now more than ever.
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