As with nearly all in-person conferences, this year’s annual CEIR Predict moved online. As a long-time strategic partner, we had the opportunity not only to attend but participate in the virtual partner lounge.
The event’s tagline “Where Events Are Going” was even more relevant as event professionals are searching to understand the virtual, hybrid and in-person landscape. The incredible lineup of speakers included economists, researchers, events practitioners and leaders who discussed the economic, geopolitical, and social issues that will impact tradeshows and events for years to come.
Here are my key takeaways from this year’s virtual event:
COVID-19 – The pandemic has had profound and long-lasting impacts that will likely influence event revenues and participation until at least 2022 (regardless of when we get a vaccine).
Virtual and Hybrid Events – Event organizers will continue to see an appetite for engaging online experiences for many years, if not forever. Event attendees, exhibitors, speakers and stakeholders are growing more optimistic about improvements as the technology and event design evolves to meet their new format needs.
Data/Analytics – The new opportunities for a rich analysis of the data available from virtual events continue to grow in importance with the lack of face-to-face interactions.
Geopolitical and Social Issues – The deep political divide and social issues plaguing the US are significant causes of uncertainty. Event organizers will need to navigate these issues carefully when thinking about how inequities and differing worldviews affect perceptions about where tradeshows are held, who the keynote speakers are, and more.
Shifting Behaviors – As evidenced by the retail industry changes over the past several months, customers have quickly shifted their habits and expectations. As customers more frequently procure and consume in new ways, event organizers will need to evaluate the event experience with this in mind.
Creativity – Amid the devastation we’ve seen over the past six months, the winners who have emerged are ones who have been most able to adapt and be creative in their approach, offerings, products, services, etc.
Resiliency – The ability to plan and recover quickly from challenges is the new pandemic currency.
Please share with us your takeaways or thoughts on these trends.