Happy New Year! Whether it’s finally signing a contract on a multi-day conference, booking a venue for a back to the office welcome event, or just starting to think about how you can celebrate your team this year, here are our top five predictions for what you will see out and about!
1. More breakout sessions
Breakout sessions have always been an important part of large events, but in 2022 we see them taking the main stage – literally. Instead of multiple lectures, a powerful opening and closing speaker may be all you need. With tailored breakout sessions throughout the day, attendees can choose their own adventure and absorb more than ever before with the ability to attend sessions directly related to their career and industry, as well as dip their toe into a session of personal interest, professional advancement or health and wellness!
Smaller groups will allow for more interaction and discussion as well as individualized attention from presenters and relationship-forming between attendees and presenters. It is also a safer option to have less people in each session and can allow for distancing to make everyone feel comfortable.
2. Half-day events
Let’s face it. Our attention spans are not what they used to be. Increased screen time over the past two plus years has made everyone a bit antsy. Drop off at full day events starts after lunch, meaning loss of engagement at afternoon sessions. Save yourself the awkward half-empty sessions and schedule your event to be a half-day conference or meeting. You’ll keep your attendees engaged, interested, and busy, while still delivering impactful programming.
Attendees will feel productive, inspired, and thankful they still have the afternoon to run errands, take a few calls, or grab an early dinner and mingle with new connections. It’s also a perfect opportunity to switch up the schedule and sponsor a happy hour after lunch for those who can stick around for networking and socializing!
3. Exploring hot button topics and meaningful conversations
Bottom line, people want, and need, to discuss what is going on in society. From family planning and birth control, to racial injustice, LGBTQIA rights, climate change, disease prevention, disabilities, diversity at work, gender expression, and so much more; not only do brands and sponsors want to align themselves with these important issues and trending conversation topics, but attendees want to make their voice heard and expect to talk about these topics at career-centric events and at work.
4. Health and safety at the center of importance
We’re not fully out of the woods yet. Expect vaccine requirements, on-site rapid testing, continued mask mandates and creative social distancing as well as virtual elements to nearly every event, big or small in 2022.
5. Shopping local
With the supply chain crisis, travel restrictions, increasing material costs and a host of other complications, shipping décor cross country, importing food or beverage, or shipping design elements for events has become more of a headache. While it may not make setup or vendor sourcing as streamlined, staying local in terms of vendors, food and beverage, giveaways and materials is starting to become best-practice. Not only are event professionals keen to support local, small businesses as they dream up event design, but attendees respond positively to enjoying a local experience while at the event.
It adds a personal touch, welcomes attendees to the host city, celebrates the people and businesses that call that place home, and logistically makes a lot more sense. We will continue to see unique food and design activations, small business integrations, and bigger vendor lists for multi-city events as planners pull contacts from city to city rather than using a mega-provider or mass produced design elements.