2022 is almost here – whether you believe it or not – and the events industry is ready to bounce back! After a crazy two years, we’re looking towards the next year with optimism and excitement at what we’ll be able to achieve as an events industry and a small business. Our continued commitment to helping spread positive impact is one only matched with our embrace for innovation in how we do events so that we can all push our industry, and our community, towards a more inclusive, sustainable and positive future.

So let’s take this time to reflect on the key trends we predict for events in 2022.

1. Hybrid Events

As the world begins to return to normal, we do see the more cautious return of in person events, paving the way for hybrid events. They are not only great ways to mitigate the risks of changing restrictions and community safety concerns, but also offer opportunities for more innovative events.

Hybrid events allow us to combine the benefits of virtual events with live, in-person connections. That means we’re looking at more sustainable options, opening up to more locations and, thus, more diverse communities and new ways to make connections online.

But the key to their success will be in remembering the tenants of good event management, online or not:

  • Prioritizing audience engagement both online and offline.
  • Creating inclusive environments for audiences to get involved.
  • Finding the right venue (whether an online platform or in-person venue) to host it.

2. More Innovative Networking Opportunities

The right technology platform can offer new ways to connect whether through breakout rooms, interactive activities or connection beyond borders. Utilizing these tools can help audiences create more meaningful connections with people they may not otherwise interact with.

By gathering more personalized details about your audience during the registration that go beyond the usual demographic detail, you can facilitate networks based on similar interests or causes that they’re interested in and help foster a more inclusive, dynamic community through your event.

3. Customized Content Streams

Personalization is a growing trend across marketing, entertainment and, of course, events. Audiences want to feel empowered to discover the content that they are most interested in and enjoy an experience that can be of most value to them. That’s why we’re hoping to see more customization of event programs. This not only enhances the audience’s experience at the event, but also allows event planners, like us, to deliver more diverse and dynamic event programs that cover a greater breadth of topics in the one activation.

4. Making Events Accessible to All

Creating a positive experience for all attendees has to include those of different accessibility levels. We’ve worked closely with the San Francisco Disability Business Alliance and attended educational sessions with ILEA (International Live Events Association) this year to identify the areas that we can improve to create a more inclusive event. It has given us the opportunity to connect with disability businesses and learn about their lived experiences that can help us create better events for them. Some of the key tips we have uncovered are:

  • Including subtitles in all assets and media.
  • Consider clear shields or masks that can help those who need to read lips.
  • Ensuring that we use the right language when talking about accessibility.
  • Design content and procure speakers that represent different populations.
  • Ask how we can best accommodate guests at the event during the registration process.
  • Hire diverse vendors and staff who are familiar with various accessibility measures.
  • Ask for clear feedback on how an event can be improved upon.

5. Better Steps in Sustainability and Waste Management

We all know that we should be doing more for the environment – and our events are no different! Our industry plays an important role in finding ways of reducing waste particularly in food, marketing materials, swag, installations and energy. We’ve been working with the Society for Sustainable Events to find better ways to plan and produce our events while also reducing our carbon footprint.

You can learn more about how we’re reducing the impact of our events here.

6. Highlighting Local and Small Businesses Where Possible

Events are made possible by the partnership of many different businesses and vendors. And where we can, supporting small and local is a key way that can make any event special.

Working with local businesses can often add a special touch of familiarity (particularly for family businesses) and highlight what our local community can offer. It also mitigates the risk of supply chain issues causing delays or problems with product deliveries. (And we all have experienced that during the pandemic)

Small businesses are also the heartbeat of our Bay Area. Each one tells a unique story of our diverse community and is an exciting chance to celebrate that in our events. Partnering with them as part of our event ecosystem not only gives them more access and visibility, but it also brings fresh, new ideas and offerings.

7. Celebrating Our Community First

Ultimately, 2022 is a time for us all to come together safely and with purpose. We’ve come to realize even more how important meaningful and purposeful connections are. Whether it’s bringing together like-minded people with a community event or an engaging conference with a diverse and inclusive program, we’re excited to see events that will inspire and connect our community towards a positive impact.

Want to join our mission and lead the way in 2022 with a great event? Get in touch with Becca and the team today to start sparking change with impactful events.