The events and exhibitions industry serve as a better example of the transformation society has undergone over the last two years than any other industry.
A global coronavirus pandemic at the beginning of 2020 effectively destroyed the events industry. At least it would have if it hadn’t been for the quick pace at which the best innovators reacted and adapted. The use of virtual events, concerts, exhibitions, performances, and trade shows during lockdowns quickly became commonplace.
It would have taken years for changes to catch on if not for the Coronavirus. There is still a lot of catching up to be done in the events industry.
Live and virtual events are on the verge of becoming even more inclusive, innovative, and green, and optimism is rising about what lies ahead.
For years to come, the industry will continue to undergo significant (and permanent) changes.
It is expected that the event industry will grow at a CAGR of 11.2% from 2021 to 2028.
10times asked Corbin Ball, Founder of Corbin Ball & Co., Meetings Technology International Speaker, Consultant, and Writer to spill the beans on the trends shaping the events industry right now.
Throughout his career, Corbin has worked in every facet of the MICE industry. Known for his ability to make complex subjects easy to understand, he has 20 years of experience running international technology conferences.
Among all MPI International Chapter Leaders, he is the only one who has won both MPI International Supplier of the Year and MPI International Chapter Leader of the Year.
Corbin was also listed by Successful Meetings and MeetingNews magazine in 2012 as one of “The 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry.”
We reached out to him and asked him to share his expert viewpoints about event technology and the latest trends with us.
What impact does technology have on the event industry’s changing dynamics?
“Nearly every aspect of the event planning process can be streamlined through the proper use of technology. In addition, the right technologies can be used to personalize and improve the attendee experience while providing very useful analytics to better market and make improvements on future events.”
Is there anything you can forecast about the trends shaping events?
“The pandemic fueled an explosion of new virtual meeting companies, funding, acquisitions and innovation in this space. All the major registration companies substantially built out their virtual/hybrid events product lines. Hundreds of new virtual event companies emerged. Many billions of dollars of funding and acquisitions involving virtual/hybrid event platforms occurred in 2020-2021.
As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, in-person events are growing. Virtual/hybrid events will remain a bigger piece of the event pie compared to pre-Covid times, but the demand is not as high as during the fear-fueled need to meet virtually during the pandemic. As with the dot.com bubble, it is likely that many of the startup companies will be acquired or simply not be around in the next couple of years. The layoffs at Hopin, Bizzabo, and Hubilo, reflect this adjustment to reduced virtual event demand, but, as well-established companies, they will likely survive.”
What role do you see hybrid events playing in the future?
“Hybrid event capabilities have vastly improved over the past 2.5 years. Hybrid events of some sort are here to stay for some events with many benefits including a lower carbon footprint, more accessibility, a larger more inclusive audience/presenters, better analytics, and more. However, there are significant challenges as well. With two completely different audiences, hybrid events can be up to twice as complex and twice as expensive to run. This will limit their usage for many events.”
What would be your one piece of advice for event planners?
“Learn from your colleagues about event tech best practices. This can be done through many channels including involvement in professional associations (MPI, PCMA, IAEE, ICCA and others), by attending industry tradeshows (IMEX America, IMEX Frankfurt, IBTM, etc.), attending industry virtual events (most are free), and reading industry publications/blogs/websites.”
The future of the event industry is impossible to predict, but these predictions give us a good indication of where the industry is heading in 2022. In the aftermath of the pandemic, event professionals must embrace hybrid and virtual ecosystems, champion diversity, prioritize health and safety, and create event experiences that keep attendees engaged.