We all know it’s been a tough time in events. But what about looking ahead? Well, it’s a hard job to see the future but as we enter 2022, whilst there are challenges ahead there are also opportunities and exciting choices.

Some are feeling cautious whilst others are excited about the bounce back. Either way the industry continues to move forward, being flexible and creative.

The one thing we can say with certainty is that the future of events will require flexibility; providing options for the best ways to engage attendees and a choice in how to consume content and experiences, whether in real life or through a virtual platform.

These are our thoughts on what lies ahead and key event trends for 2022. Let’s embrace it together.

1. Welcome to the Metaverse

Over the last couple of years, we’ve all changed. Working patterns have shifted. Home life has altered and we’re all looking for a better work-life blend. And we’re all happy (or happy-ish) to consume content online.

Events can be hosted either live or virtual or hybrid, depending on decisions based on cost, audience, reach and specific goals and event planners have had to up their technical game fast, with digital skills now considered an essential in the toolbox for every event planner.

Now, in 2022, we all need to be able to produce events in a variety of styles and be able to offer a choice of formats. The challenge is to make them more engaging and accessible.

Physical and virtual worlds will start to blend together through new technologies, to create new immersive experiences as extended reality events become common as we borrow from and incorporate TV production skills into events.

Expect to see more experimentation as we start to explore the metaverse, immersive online experiences that makes you feel like you’re at the event, not just watching from your computer.

2. Events must be conscious…transformative…worthwhile

If we’re going to get people back to live events then they need to be compelling. Time has become a precious commodity, not to be given up easily. And with so many having at least some element of work based at home, then getting people to attend an event isn’t easy. That said, we know people are craving the excitement and connection that live events deliver. Enquiries soar every time there is confidence in the market. So, for live events, expect to see them bigger and better than before. Production values will increase, going all-out to create ‘must attend’ experiences with tailored, personalised elements. Carefully thought through storytelling will deliver meaningful events, as we look to continually bring new experiences and capture attention.

3. Bigger doesn’t mean better

As well as focussing on the detail, expect to see more smaller events this year. Micro-events which can be controlled and safely executed will make help guests feel more comfortable when deciding whether to attend or not. Smaller events are also easier to tailor and personalise, enabling guests to reconnect and build more meaningful connections and memories. Events that tackle specific niche topics are on the rise.

4. A 360 degree experience

A one-approach-suits-all doesn’t work for events anymore. Expectations have changed. Tailored experiences, carefully curated for different audiences, are the best way to engage. Sounds daunting but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. It does however mean that each of element of an event needs to be considered to ensure they’re there for a reason; to tell a story. Look to utilise multiple touchpoints, the venue, styling & entertainment through to the catering choices are all opportunities to deliver a personalised experience.

5. Venues where space can be managed and controlled

Space has always been a key element when booking a venue but now it’s gone way up the list of considerations. Venues that can manage the flow of guests as well as offering break out spaces or exclusive hire will be popular. We’ve seen venues of all sizes getting creative with new or improved outdoor spaces. In London that often means rooftops but there are some great courtyards too and many venues are adding marquees and pavilions to their grounds to offer well ventilated spaces that can deal with unpredictable weather. Basically any outdoor space at all is a bonus, especially as it’s looking like there may be a shift in moving events into the summer months which were traditionally quieter for hosting corporate events.

6. Collaboration and community

Hosting events in 2022 is a whole heap more complicated than it used to be. From safety concerns to choices of platform, food tolerances and preferences to sustainability, there’s a lot to think about and get right. One of the few benefits of the pandemic was seeing the event industry come together, and its that collaboration that we need to continue to enable the industry to deliver complex events by drawing on the expertise of different specialists.

7. Sustainability will be huge

The biggest – and certainly most important trend – in events this year by far: OK so we’re not yet at the stage of making all events completely sustainable but we’re certainly all looking at ways to improve. Clients and suppliers are getting serious about it as demand grows for events to go beyond greenwashing and making real sustainable commitments. By placing sustainability higher up the agenda it now becomes a ‘how-to’ question, forcing change; rather than a ‘would-like-to’ wish list on the event planning process. Steps to reduce significant negative impacts from hosting an event will include choosing venues with environmental policies, caterers who source sustainably or locally and creating a circular economy by recycling event materials.

8. Glitchcore comes to events

Glitchcore (which is both a style and sound – check it out here) is essentially another form of nostalgia, in this case tech nostalgia, replicating the vibrant and abstract patterns created by bugs on early computers. It’s going to be big in fashion but will we see it featuring in event styling? Mmm, not sure to be honest, but I do think nostalgia in general will pop-up everywhere.  From nostalgic dapper – think the roaring twenties with added shine, shimmer and sparkle captured by Harry Styles in his Treat People With Kindness video – to a craving for frivolity and luxury with features such as floral installations, arches, floral staircases and overflowing floralscapes just getting bigger and bigger.

9. Slow down

A good trend to end on; the creation of chillout zones. With all the uncertainty in the world at the moment we all need to find time and space to step back and recentre. And that need to “take a moment” is also a good idea at events. A quiet area that’s less intense and noisy. Somewhere to combat any overwhelm. A place that helps make events more accessible. It’s got to be a good thing for the future of events.

Want help planning your events?

With experience in producing award winning events, a string of happy clients and a team of individually talented professionals, Evolve Events is the perfect event agency for delivering high standards.  Our team have over twenty one years’ experience in producing events and team is headed up by Gary Peters who has been voted as one of the most influential people in the events industry. Our event services including venue finding, set design, styling and build, AV and lighting, stage management, sourcing entertainment and quality catering.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you produce and style your event then please get in touch and we can chat through your requirements.

To get more event ideas you can visit our blog here or follow us on social media at @evolveevents.

TEL : 020 7610 2808 – EMAIL : info@evolve-events.com

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