Just about every industry has ben flipped on its head due to the pandemic. That couldn’t be more true with the events industry. Two+ years ago almost every single event was either cancelled or became virtual. While some folks used it as an opportunity to reach a broader audience, others couldn’t wait to be back in person.

Now that the world is opening up a bit more and in-person events are back in what seems like full swing, there are a few things to keep in mind as you begin planning. In a recent webinar, I had the chance to sit down with Callie Cleary of The Castle Group to talk through The State of Events and see what the latest trends in the industry are. Here are a few key points and takeaways everyone should remember when gearing up for their next event.

In-person events are back but hybrid is here to stay

There is huge value in face-to-face connections and engagement but combining a virtual component can increase audience for those who can’t attend in person. By doing this you can easily expand your global audience and save on costs like food/beverage and overall venue size. It might seem like a larger cost up front but by doing it right, you’ll increase your ROI.

Shifting content to include experiences

The biggest piece virtual events couldn’t replace over the last couple of years was face-to-face interactions, personal connections, joint experiences – we tried and there were many creative ideas for virtual experiences that we implemented but it is not the same as in-person interactions.

As in-person events are on the rise, shifting agendas to include a combination of sessions/seminars to experience-based content is important to keep people engaged. Headlining concerts, unique entertainers, teambuilding, CSR activities, wellness activities, and interactive session formats, are just a few ways to kep the audience tuned in throughout the show!

Non-traditional venues get more popular

The recently opened “Ramble” at New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill is the prefect amphitheater for an outdoor event.

More events outside of the hustle and bustle of the city – with ridesharing apps it is making it more practical to have events outside of the regular downtown/city venues. Warehouses, museums, art galleries, gardens, barns and even a boat can serve as the perfect backdrop to your event.

Just remember, while you can be untraditional with the space you still need all the basic amenities like restrooms, power and internet!

Event apps are becoming more popular

Registration and agenda apps were here before the start of the pandemic. However, once remote events became a staple, there have been hundreds of new apps that have popped up. More are coming.

The new, most successful apps seamlessly blend the in person and remote experiences. They allow for easy sign up and sign on, facilitate relevant information and even allow for live interaction and engagement.

With so many to choose from the tough part will be deciding which one is best for you.

Using events for marketing or PR

Everyone wants their event to live on forever. Few actually do it. Capture the stage, interview your attendees, and leverage the content for months to come. Highlight clips are great but share the knowledge and and people will be craving for more.

You can also stream parts of the sidebar sessions to social media. Just leave the keynotes for the people that pay to be there in person. This will help drive attention back to the event and hopefully increase ticket sales.

Just remember it’s about the audience

This isn’t necessarily a trend, more of a reminder. If you want to impress your audience, think like them. Continuously ask them what they do and don’t like and what they want to experience. That will ensure you stay on their good side.