2022: the Great Reset or Great Rebound of the Event Industry
To know where the event industry is headed, I think it’s important to spend time outside the “event bubble”. To serve your customer, you need to understand their needs as well as your own. And when you look at the tech industry, the latest announcements have shown a reckoning— layoffs, more layoffs, and even more layoffs alongside chaos at digital juggernauts. The latest headlines are another chapter in what’s been called “the great reset” for the tech industry, where undisciplined growth during the pandemic has been curtailed by the harsh light of the economic situation [not to be confused with the other “great reset” championed by the World Economic Forum, calling for cooperation and a change of business in response to Covid-19].
How might these shifts impact service providers down the line, namely our events?
It presents a compelling contrast. While tech may be having a “reset”, events have been experiencing something different– altogether a “great rebound”. Q4 2022 has ushered in a return to form for the industry, following a summer and early fall season full of growth with large, successful events filling halls to capacity and exhibition floors with visitors and vendors. It’s a reset nearly to the time before the pandemic– but with greater perspective and hopefully, resiliency.
Over the last quarter, events are seeing a true renaissance. Large-scale in-person events this season are far exceeding industry expectations, smashing attendance records, and concepts that were under threat have been saved from cancellation. Others are expanding, by opening up opportunities for new types of exhibitors, and forging new territory overseas.
While the pandemic tested the industry, we’ve also grown stronger. Not all events made it. But now there’s a greater focus on quality, over quantity, and a push for new business models to expand the reach and impact of the work we do. These external shocks made way for important shifts our industry needed. But looking at the headlines, there may be more to come.
As we go into the holiday season, it’s not quite time to rest on the positive energy from the past few months. As service providers, we can’t entirely insulate ourselves from what’s happening outside. If anything, it’s time to lean into the positive changes we’ve made over the past months and continue to make the most of the rebound events are enjoying. As we’ve experienced over the past year, nearly anything can happen. But in the meantime, there’s still a lot of work to do.
Here’s what I’ve been catching up on:
The Events Industry
5 Trends for 2023
I always appreciate reading the end-of-year predictions from industry insiders, even though I’m always a bit skeptical about making too strong assumptions about what may come. This piece, by UFI’s Kai Hattendorf is a great example though, synthesizing some of the top themes we can expect to continue into the new year.
Eurofair Statistics 2021
Industry organization UFI has just released the results of their 2021 barometer of the European event industry, the Eurofair Statistics 2021. While 2021 does seem quite a long time away when considering how fast this industry has changed over the recent years— the 2021 insight guide is very enlightening– demonstrating the recovery of the European event industry with certified statistics from 901 exhibitions.
Trade Show News
IAEE Announces Support of BPA Worldwide’s Digital Events Data Standards Group VSef/RSDE
One of the biggest challenges in the digital turn of the event industry has concerned participant data, privacy, and ownership. Similarly, standardization. Last year, event analytics platform Explori launched VSef in an effort to standardize event data and make insights comparable. The effort is gaining momentum, as one of the largest trade associations for the industry, signs on to the standard. In more from VSef, the latest standards (2.0) are available to download now.
Digital Event Technologies
Meet Your Best Event Planning Resource: AI
AI event planning? Not a dream but a reality— argues Miguel Neves in this piece by Skift. For an industry so focused on the individual and the personal, and who was reluctant to move digitally– AI might be a step too far– however, I’m compelled by the examples they’ve developed here. AI can support several aspects of your event planning and organization process, and provide a real creative turn to your production. It’s a really creative piece– well worth reading.
Q&A with Brandlive CEO on Virtual Events
Digital events have not seen the excitement, buzz, or attention this year as compared to previous. There’s been a huge consolidation in the industry. What sets the players apart? Digital events are still an incredible tool for organizers– but the key is marketing and branding them right. Here are some helpful tips on how to use your digital event for maximum effect.
Where will the Metaverse be in 2023?
As much as the metaverse has been hyped over the last year, it’s something I’ve just not been so excited by– especially now as we move into the holiday season. I’m just not keen to stay behind a screen. My feelings aside, where is the event industry headed? According to this metaverse pioneer– the metaverse is going nowhere– and it’s something that should remain on our event radars.
Don’t miss it
Event Industry News
Why people attend in-person events: Results of Future Meeting Space research on “redefining event attendance”
The Future Meeting Space project has shared the latest results of their exploration into event attendance. Asking why people attend in person, the collaborative project finds that attendance is driven by two key factors— inspiration on location and recruitment and employer attractiveness. Events help brands build loyalty in their staff while providing outreach opportunities to their customers. It’s this final aspect– about creating staff loyalty– which has made the transition to digital events so challenging for many attendees.
Small Meetings Revive While Trade Shows Toil
The rebound of the event industry hasn’t been felt evenly across the board, according to this piece by Skift. Smaller gatherings were the first to pick up after the pandemic, whereas larger exhibitions have experienced a slower return to form. And maybe that’s a good thing– as exhibitions have been forced to innovate and change.
The Bottom Line
That’s it for this week’s edition of The Lookout!
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The Lookout Newsletter #71
PIRATEx Managing Director