• Eventplanning

5 Things Event Attendees Will Expect in the Future

The event industry after COVID

Hardly any other industry has suffered as much from COVID as the event industry. One thing can be said with certainty: it will never be the same again. Visitors and their expectations have changed as a result of the year-long restrictions. Are you also wondering what will be important when events return? We want to reveal five things you should prepare for right now in order to to emerge stronger from this crisis as an event organizer.

5 things event attendees will expect in the future

1. People will attend fewer (live) events - but will want to experience those they do attend all the more intensively

Before COVID, we collectively suffered from permanent stress: There was always something going on and we were constantly afraid of missing something, so we rushed from event to event, both privately and professionally. COVID made this impossible overnight, and although many people suffer from the limitations, many still don't want the past to return. Instead, after COVID, more people will think even more carefully about how they use their time - both professionally and privately.

This means that in the future, events will have to be more on-spot when meeting the interests and expectations of their visitors. The quality of the content will be more important than ever and will be directly reflected in the number of visitors and users. Many events will therefore vanish, leaving only those events that offer their participants real added value. Those who succeed in making this transition will be rewarded with visitors who want to experience the event all the more intensively and are prepared to engage fully with it.

People shaping hearts at a festival

Emotions will play an even greater role at events in the future.

2. Hybrid events will increase

During COVID, many people have developed new digital skills and habits that will persist beyond Lockdown. Many are no longer willing to travel a full day for an event, conference or meeting. Especially if only parts of the content are interesting to them, they will think three times whether it is worth traveling for.

Nevertheless, after this long wait, people long all the more for personal contact, human interaction and genuine emotions. Bringing both together, that is, planning on-site events but also incorporating the new digital possibilities, be it through a digital event platform, livestreams, the inclusion of speakers who could not be there in person and would otherwise not have been able to speak, etc. The "new normal" offers the opportunity to take your event to a new level and create very special experiences for your participants. Here, the smart integration of new technologies will be essential especially for collaborative approaches, networking and building relationships between participants to strengthen the personal interaction even more in the virtual space.

E-Book for hybrid events

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3. Events become more time and location-independent - and the target group therefore potentially larger

Live, on-site events will not be completely eliminated, but they will become rarer, of higher quality, and more strongly influenced by digital content. This digital content ensures a high degree of independence from time and location-based factors.

Digital event platforms allow you as an event organizer to provide content for your target audience over long periods of time, extending your event experience with keynotes, webinars, videos-on-demand, podcasts, and so on. In doing so, you build a digital community that meets live at regular intervals and is otherwise primarily digitally connected. The advantage: This massively expands your target audience because it can potentially reach people who would otherwise not attend the event due to time or space factors and would therefore engage less or not at all with your message and content.

Two Event-Managers recoding a podcast

Event podcasts are a great method for community building

4. Interaction with the customer will change

Building a community gives you the opportunity to talk to (potential) participants even more easily and to consciously involve them in decision-making and planning processes. By talking to them about the specific changes they would like to see or the challenges they are currently facing, you will generate new ideas on how to support them - which brings us back to the topic of relevant content.

By showing transparency in the development of new event concepts and involving participants in the planning early on, you have the chance to develop event formats that really add value for your target group.

5. Actions become more important than words

Over the past few months, we have witnessed firsthand who was supported and who was not, who benefited and who was simply forgotten during the Corona crisis. As a result, awareness has grown considerably and authenticity has become an important currency. In the future, companies will have to legitimize their success and their social and political support more than ever before. Implementing purpose, i.e. a certain sense of meaning, in brand values and carrying it outward in all communications will therefore become more important - and not just in words, but above all in actions.

In the future, companies will have to demonstrate even greater responsibility in dealing with our planet and its resources, as well as in social issues, in order to prove their future viability. How sustainable is a company? How does it treat its employees? What values does it stand for? How is it committed to social and ecological issues? Companies will be judged on this even more in the future, and events should also be used to show that they have addressed these issues, e.g. by avoiding unnecessary plastic, a sustainable buffet, CO2 offsets, the choice of speakers, etc.

Conclusion

What does that mean for you as an organizer?

After COVID, participants will be more mature and more selective than ever before. In the coming months and years, the entire event industry will therefore need to be very flexible and adaptable in order to prepare for the future. The most important keywords here are digitalization, content and purpose. Ask yourself what added value you can really give people and to what extent you can help shape society from your position.

Therein lies the opportunity to implement new values in your company and your events and to build genuine, deep and long-term relationships with your customers. Because that will be what makes the difference in a post-COVID world.

By Annina Boettcher

Freelance copywriter, concept developer & brand consultant for Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover, all of Germany and beyond.

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