We’re just going to say it: the past couple of years have been weird—especially for those of us in the events industry. But we put our heads down and managed to get through.
Now that things are getting back to normal, it’s time to ask, “What’s next?”
By that we mean, what will the events industry look like in 2022? More specifically, what will virtual and hybrid events look like in the coming year? Will they become relics of the past? Or will companies continue to utilize them to connect with customers?
We can’t predict the future. What we can do, though, is look at current trends and make a few educated guesses about where the events industry is headed. Keep reading to learn what we think virtual and hybrid events will look like in 2022 and beyond.
7 Predictions for Virtual and Hybrid Events in 2022
Okay, gang, it’s time to bust out the crystal ball and make a few predictions. Here’s what we think will happen to virtual and hybrid events in 2022…
1. Hybrid Events Will Continue to Grow in Popularity
That’s right, hybrid events are here to stay. According to 6Connex, 73% of event marketers expect hybrid events to be more prevalent in the coming year.
This is especially true for large organizations. 63% of companies with 2,000 to 5,000 employees say hybrid events will be part of their company’s events portfolio moving forward. The same is true for 71% of companies with 5,000 employees or more.
This isn’t surprising. There are a TON of benefits to hosting hybrid events:
Greater Reach: Hybrid events allow companies to reach more of their target audience. This is because hybrid events give attendees options. They can attend in-person if they want. Or, if it makes them feel more comfortable, from home. This flexibility enables companies to engage more people with each event they host.
Higher Profits: When more people attend an event, more money is generally made. Because companies can engage attendees in person and online, they can sell more tickets and increase the cost of sponsorship packages. They can also reduce costs because they won’t have to spend as much cash on travel expenses.
More Data: Finally, hybrid events allow companies to collect more data on their target audience. You can’t track every guest’s movement during in-person events—not legally, anyway. But you can track every click that virtual attendees make. This data can then be used to improve future gatherings.
All signs point to more hybrid events in 2022. What about virtual events? Let’s see…
2. Virtual Event Planners Will Innovate to Stay Relevant
Before you get any ideas, no, we aren’t predicting the end of virtual events. We think online get-togethers will remain popular for the foreseeable future. But…
As in-person events return and hybrid events grow in popularity, virtual event planners will need to innovate to increase attendance and remain relevant. Why? Because virtual event fatigue is a real thing. A large portion of the population is ready to interact face-to-face again.
What does this mean for virtual events in 2022? It means that the most successful online gatherings will bring something new to the table. They’ll provide unique experiences for attendees. They’ll make use of gamification techniques to engage guests. And they’ll definitely find new ways to make digital networking as effective as possible.
Virtual events aren’t going anywhere. But if you plan to host an online gathering in 2022, think long and hard about your approach. Ask yourself how you can innovate. Then put new ideas into action and create a gathering that guests will remember for years to come.
3. Sponsors Will Expect More From Virtual and Hybrid Events
In 2021, the average cost to sponsor a virtual event was $8,456. That’s a lot of dough!
Because of the money involved, event sponsors will expect more in 2022 and beyond. What will this look like? Well, for starters, event planners will need to provide sponsors with ROI details. In other words, they’ll need to explain the value their event brings.
We also predict that virtual and hybrid event planners will get more creative with their sponsorship packages. Why should a company sponsor your event instead of another? Because your event offers flexible options, unique engagement opportunities, etc.
Don’t worry, there are still plenty of companies who will want to sponsor your virtual and hybrid events in 2022. But to partner with the best sponsors, you’ll need to up your game.
4. Event Planners Will Embrace Year-Round Engagement
You know what’s weird? Engaging your audience for a few days, then saying, “See you next year” and forgetting said audience exists for the next 6+ months.
But that’s exactly what most event planners do. They spend all year booking keynote speakers, planning session material, etc. Then they connect with attendees for a day, or two, or three, before going radio silent until they’re ready to promote another get-together.
We sense a change in the winds. 2022 will be the year that year-round engagement explodes.
When hosting virtual and hybrid events in the new year, look beyond the day or two of content you have planned. Think about how you can engage attendees until your next gathering. For most brands, the answer is “use social media to connect with attendees.”
According to Event Manager, 57% of event planners choose Facebook for year-round engagement, while 25% prefer LinkedIn and 7% prefer either Twitter or Instagram.
It doesn’t matter which channel you use as long as your audience enjoys using it. So find the right one for your attendees. Then aim to engage them all year long.
5. Virtual and Hybrid Event Entertainment Will Remain Critical
Did you know that nearly 68% of event marketers find it difficult to engage attendees during virtual sessions? This is a huge problem! If you can’t engage your audience, your events will never be as successful as they could be. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix…
Professional entertainers know how to engage audiences. That’s their job, after all. If they can’t hook viewers and make them want to watch their performances, nobody will. So hiring comedians, magicians, game show hosts, and other entertainers is essential.
The question is, who should you book? And once you know who you want to perform at your event, how do you contact them and negotiate a deal?
The simplest way is to hire Funny Business Agency to do it for you! We have connections with the world’s best entertainers. As such, we can book them for your virtual or hybrid event at a competitive rate that won’t break your budget. Contact us today to get started.
Embrace the Future of Virtual and Hybrid Events
Virtual and hybrid events have exploded in popularity over the past two years. But just because in-person gatherings are back in style doesn’t mean these new-age shindigs are history. We believe both virtual and hybrid events will continue to grow.
To succeed with these event mediums, you just need to embrace the latest trends we talked about in this article. If you do that, your event strategy should hold up just fine in 2022.