Holistic wellness has become an essential element of event design. Awareness of the impact events have on participants, communities and the environment has never been higher. As the live events industry continues to rebound rapidly, these paradigm shifts will continue to impact how we create and participate in live experiences. The future of experience design and accountability, and expectations of attendees, starts with a big-picture mindset about the well-being of people and communities.
Why Live Events Are Here to Stay
Over the last two years, the virtues and limitations of virtual and hybrid events have become apparent. While virtual event planning extends reach, many event planners are frustrated by the dip in engagement versus in-person experiences.
Two of the primary challenges of hosting a virtual event are attendance and participation. Hybrid events offer the benefits of both virtual and live but require a more complicated scope of work and overall design for two distinct audiences.
Live events are essential, we know that. And the industry is rapidly evolving to adapt to a renewed focus on health, safety and sustainability. Virtual and hybrid events provide valuable solutions, but live events offer an unmatched experience for impacting motivation, connection and inspiration. The value live events bring is and always has been content and deeper engagement. What we’re seeing now is a renewed focus on health and wellness as part of an overall experience design.
Event Planning in 2022: Healthy by Design
At the end of 2021, 78% of event planners surveyed were actively planning a future live event, while 42% cited safety concerns as the biggest obstacle to resuming in-person events. 47.6% say a commitment to local health guidelines is a deciding factor when choosing a venue.
Health screenings, onsite testing, PPE and planning for appropriate attendance density are only the beginning when planning wellness-friendly events in the post-pandemic era. New event structures are also gaining popularity to support mental wellness and physical safety.
Nearly every organization has been impacted by the pandemic, including labor shortages, supply chain issues and the economic implications that have created a renewed focus on mental health, and incorporating mental health awareness at events is becoming more ubiquitous. This holds especially true for younger generations that are emerging leaders in the workforce.
Physical health has also long been a nice-to-have at events as part of an experience design but is now often expected as an option for participation. Organized morning runs, yoga, meditation and healthier menu options, all will continue to be part of meeting and event design.
Focus on the Environment
Sustainability and carbon consciousness are synonymous with organizational responsibility. The increase in virtual and hybrid events contributed to a massive improvement in carbon emissions and non-recyclable waste, bringing the sustainability of the events industry into focus. Attendees are compelled by events that foster health in every aspect, including the environment.
Organizational values have never been more critical. Attendees admire organizations that demonstrate empathy and ethics through event design. Millennials and Gen Z especially have a higher level of awareness of environmental sustainability. Live events are no exception. Event organizers will lean into this more than ever in the coming years, as well as event venues that make efforts to attract environmentally conscious brands looking for sustainable experiences.
Holistic Health on the Horizon
As the events industry continues to gain post-pandemic momentum, emerging trends lay the foundation for a new era. Live events are now about delivering high-quality content with purpose and intention while promoting the well-being of all participants and their environments. These trends are unlikely to reverse, meaning wellness will remain a fundamental focus of in-person event design.