The world has shifted dramatically in the past two years. How we work, do business, market, shop, gather, share information, and live day-to-day has undergone a transformation none of us could have expected. Let me be clear, there is no return to “normal,” and it is time to future-proof both your personal and business worlds.

The event and hospitality industries were impacted to a higher degree than many others. Participants were unable to travel and attend events safely. In-person events were either canceled in 2020 or switched to a virtual format.

What Does the Data Say?

What does the day say
We compared the same eight events in the 2019 physical iteration and its digital 2020 counterpart. The findings were a 97% increase in attendance overall over 2019 in-person events. This constitutes a 78% increase in countries represented through virtual attendance in 2020.

While in-person events started to come back in 2021, the Delta variant has caused a large percentage to convert back to virtual in the fall of 2021. According to industry statistics, those holding in-person meetings have attendance levels at 40% to 70% of 2019 figures.

Future-Proof Your Organization Now

Future-Proof Your Organization Now

So, if you are waiting out the storm, it’s time to set a new course. Future-proof your events now for an unpredictable future. Annual conferences have long been a significant revenue source for host organizations and associations but can no longer be counted on to produce the revenue. A new model will need to be put in place.

What Do We Know?

What do we know
Here’s what we do know:

  • Viruses, medical outbreaks (Pandemics)
  • Hazardous weather conditions
  • Travel concerns and restrictions
  • Strikes and civil unrest

will all play an increasing role in the future of events.

We also know:

  • External forces can change the best-laid plans in a minute
  • Event technology is rapidly becoming more sophisticated
  • Working remotely is offering the opportunity to people who care for children or the elderly to work without travel
  • Inclusivity and accessibility increase with virtual components

How to Future-Proof Your Event

How to Future-Proof Your Event

It’s time for host organizations to work with key stakeholders to design the experience to be:

  • Resilient
  • Forward-thinking
  • Provide consistent revenue generation
  • Engaging
  • Dynamic
  • Inclusive of all

It Will Look Different, But What If The Difference is a Better Product Than Before?

It Will Look Different
What if…

  • Sponsors get more value from events and shift their advertising budget into experiential activations? Which are loudly promoted on social media and live on long past the event.
  • Professionals, who meet online, gather regionally as a group for networking?
  • Sponsors can host and facilitate local meetings?
  • Underserved communities can now have a voice?
  • Your attendees save large amounts of carbon emissions by not flying to every event?
  • We can choose to attend events in person when we as individuals feel it is safe to do so?
  • The host organization is first and foremost looking out for its people?

Playing it Smart to Future-Proof Your Organization

Playing it Smart to Future-Proof Your Organization

Please don’t give up on events playing a large role in your organization but be SMART about them. This is an opportunity to take a leadership position in the industry and create something exciting. Future-proof the event by designing a gathering that will include everyone and pivot as external forces change our plans. Harness digital technology to help you. Organizations can depend on a less contingent revenue model for economic security.

Change is difficult, scary, and often avoided. Well-managed change can also be welcomed in a world where chaos reigns. In fact, that is the definition of resilience–the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Yes, future-proof events are integral components to the sustainability of your organization.