Some event industry trends we can expect in 2023 are more experiential events, more eco-friendly and sustainable events, and more events that focus on social impact. Attendees are seeking an emotional connection in their event experiences.
As we move into the new year, there are a few event industry trends to embrace.
1. Live streaming
More and more events are being live-streamed and for good reason. It allows people who can’t attend the event in person to still be a part of it. It also allows people to share the event with others who couldn’t attend.
2. Virtual reality
Virtual reality is another trend that is growing in popularity. It allows people to experience events in a whole new way. Virtual reality is an immersive experience that often requires a headset and controller to participate. Nowhere is a pioneer in this space, hosting weekly events ranging from live music to educational sessions – you can even create your own virtual space and invite people to hang out.
I still remember the first time I walked through a VR art gallery, showcasing NFTs of course. It was a cool experience as you could explore the art up close (hello zoom), and even purchase it right then and there using cryptocurrency. However – it was a little freaky to see other people walking around the gallery from other countries! Like anything, it will start to feel familiar with use.
3. Augmented reality
Augmented reality is also growing in popularity. It allows people to interact with their environment in a new way. Augmented reality is a hardware filter used to see our present world with images, sounds, or effects overlaid. Think of Snapchat or Instagram filters. For event planners, augmented reality is being used in some innovative ways from virtual FAM trips to interactive venue floorplans to keynote speakers presenting through a hologram.
4. Pop-up events
Pop-up events are events that are held for a short period of time. They are a great way to try out a new idea or to test the waters before hosting a larger event.
Many brands are creating immersive pop-up experiences tied back to their core values such as KIND Snacks, which installed a faux KIND bar-filled vending machine in New York City. Upon purchase, the vending machine opened and transported shoppers into the secret KIND farmers market where they could fill their baskets with free-of-charge fresh produce! See it in action below:
5. Events with a cause
Events with a cause are becoming more and more popular. People are looking for events that give back to the community or that support a good cause.
6. Local events
Local events are also growing in popularity. People are looking for events that are close to home and that support their local community. Many people are still hesitant to travel by plane post-covid so smaller, local events that are accessible by driving are popular.
7. Unique venues
People are also looking for unique venues for their events. They want venues that are different from the traditional hotel or conference center. If you’ve attended Meetingmax’s annual user conference, The Unconvention, you know that we are huge advocates for unique venues! Studies show that changing an attendee’s environment creates better recall, allowing them to absorb more information. Smart event planners are taking heed and weaving a range of learning opportunities and networking events through various non-traditional venues. The result? Guests who are having fun and learning more. Check out this blog post on creative ideas to shake up your meetings.
8. Events with a theme
Themed events are also becoming more popular. People want events that are fun and that offer a unique experience. IMEX Group, which hosts the largest trade show for the global meetings, events, and incentive travel industry have chosen Human Nature as the theme for their events in Frankfurt and Las Vegas in 2023. According to an IMEX Group press release, “Never have we been more aware of our vulnerabilities and responsibilities as humans. Our intention with Human Nature is to encourage everyone in the global meetings, events, and incentive travel industry to recognize, understand and celebrate all that’s good about being human, particularly human diversity.” This theme provides a framework for educational programming at each IMEX show as well as a theme for exhibitors to embrace if they wish. It also sets the direction for the IMEX shows’ experience-design team.
9. Events that are interactive
People are also looking for interactive events. They want events that allow them to engage with others and that allow them to have fun. This is a great strategy to allow for natural networking and attendee bonding.
To promote their new show Quantum Leap, NBC created a Quantum Accelerator at a LA gas station which transported consumers back to 1985 and provided the opportunity to fill up their tanks for $.91/gallon! In addition to 1985 gas prices, they had break dancers, top hits from the 80’s playing, and swag. Check out the full production below:
10. Events that are sustainable
Finally, people are looking for sustainable events. They want events that are environmentally friendly and that don’t have a negative impact on the planet. In November’s U.N. Climate Change Conference, the Net Zero Carbon Events Roadmap was presented, inviting organizations across the events industry to join the collaborative effort to drive the events sector toward net zero. Some ideas to move towards more sustainable events include plant-based menu options, ditching throw-away promotional items, and switching to bulk condiments over individual-serve potions.
There you have it! We hope you’re as excited about these 2023 event industry trends as we are.