Wow, another year that went by blazingly too fast! In 2022, many audiences met together live for the first time in 2-3 years. It also proved that face-to-face connections are not only valuable to meaningful engagement but a proven business driver.
In the coming year, we’re confident 2023 will again be a strong year for the meetings and events industry but also brings with it some questions. These trends are what we’re forecasting based on everything we’re seeing and hearing:
1. In-Person Events are Not Slowing Down
Despite whatever economic headwinds many are keeping an eye on, 2023 will again see many groups meet in person with strong demand. Corporate meetings and events, consumer events and activations, and association and trade shows are all trending to be executed at pre-pandemic levels.
What this offers event organizers is an opportunity to capitalize on what worked in 2022. As we wrote earlier, we’re at a point where there’s no greater time to rethink everything, including your overall experiential design, how you’re structuring your agenda, networking opportunities and most importantly, how you’re presenting meaningful content.
2. Increased Demand for Eco-Friendly Events
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices are rapidly moving to the forefront. Are you leaving the markets you visit better than when you arrived? Younger generations and consumers are now expecting it. Many venues are taking greater steps now more than ever to offer more sustainable experiences – ones that focus on less food waste, offsetting carbon emissions, less plastic and partnering with local charitable efforts.
Ask your partners what their sustainability efforts are, how they can be incorporated into your event design and what your audience expectations are. Simple tactics can make an impact, especially at the scale of large meetings and events. These can include the distance of your transportation needs, reducing or removing plastic from your event, using partners and venues with sustainability certifications, and incorporating more plant-based menu options.
3. Tech Integration
Seems like everyone is forecasting this every year, but 2023 offers another full post-pandemic year with technology advances that offer more robust data and ROI. AR and VR are now more ubiquitous, and able to be offered as a bolt-on to experiences that complement your event.
These include AR and VR activations that augment content from your meeting while providing deeper, more engaging learning in a high-tech environment. Virtual reality environment to experience a new product? Augmented reality opportunities throughout an experience to learn more as you navigate a venue? Nothing’s off the table in 2023 – including entire metaverse environments to build excitement pre-event, and sustain learning after the experience.
4. Budget, Budget, Budget
Sorry if you thought you might read that budgets are coming down in 2023. While we believe supply chain and staffing issues will begin to level out, budgets will continue to be higher.
This is our new reality, and expectation management for event planners, partners, agencies and vendors all need to be aligned. And that alignment must happen early and often. Lean on your partners to help, get your internal customers onboard sooner and of course, look for efficiencies where you can.
What are your plans for 2023? Let us know via our social channels, we’d love to connect. See you out there!