It’s been quite the few years for us in the events industry, recovering from a worldwide pandemic that ground our industry to a halt to now being amid a financial crisis that’s seeing event professionals deal with inflation of costs across the events industry supply chain.
With all these obstacles in the way, there is still a sense of confidence and excitement in the air surrounding the events industry. A lot of research has gone into uncovering how we feel about heading into a new year and we’ve compiled that research into one place for you.
We are happy to say that 2023 looks to be an exciting year for all of us.
In-person events are back on top
Although 2022 did see an increase in in-person events, 2023 looks to build upon that increase as 71% of event decision-makers report that despite their best efforts it’s tough for virtual events to ever fully replicate the experience of the in-person trade show. With 95% of exhibitors saying they prefer in-person to virtual events.
Whilst we do predict some virtual events in 2023, we believe in-person events will still be the preferred option for many businesses. According to Meeting & Group Business magazine, the in-person events market is set for its “strongest year ever” in 2023, and the 2023 AMEX Global Event Trends Forecast reported “booming optimism and focus on in-person meetings and events”.
Experience-first events are becoming the norm
After years of lockdowns and virtual events, now more than ever there is a huge appetite from attendees for real and memorable experiences. Event planners in 2023 will need to focus on creating the best possible experiences for their attendees, which in return offer exhibitors tangible ROI and lead generation opportunities.
To become a truly ‘experience first event’ Live events will need to take full advantage of the tools at their disposal from holding aspects of their events in the Metaverse and utilising social media to its highest potential.
“49% of marketers said that engagement is the single biggest contributing factor to event success.”
Some event organisers are turning “dead” space into engagement and promotional opportunities. The Market at Springwood Village was hosting a dog-friendly summer outing and worked with Art Agency UXD to plan a mural activation that took advantage of what would have been a slightly out-of-the-way wall. Offering photos professional photos of owners with their four-legged friends in exchange for an email address, a great way of unintrusively introducing another aspect to capture prospect data.
Environmentally conscious events
This year we have seen climate crisis and sustainability issues rise to the top of almost everyone’s agenda. There has been a noticeable shift in the attention that sustainable aspects of live events have been getting. From venues promising to be as environmentally friendly as possible to event stand suppliers offering only sustainable and reusable solutions to help bring down waste.
2023 will see a year where being environmentally conscious is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ but a necessity and a duty for each and every one of us to do our part to minimise our impact on the planet.
The annual ICE report found that 59% of respondents believe sustainability remains a key challenge for events businesses going into 2023. However, it seems there may be some growing pains as according to GBTA’s June 2022 Sustainability Report, 90% of organisations said they required professional guidance in their sustainability journey.
Adoption of event technology
The key to driving revenue beyond general admission are bundles, upsells and VIP experiences. Long in-person lines and confusing online checkout pages can make even the most devoted attendee give up. Advanced ticket sales save time, staffing, and money. With Gather’s Event Registration tool users can create branded registration webpages with custom domains to keep the user’s experience consistent across the whole event; pre, during and after.
AR and VR
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have become increasingly popular technologies in the events world. The adoption of these technologies has been quite drastic in the education sector. For example, you can learn about constellations with SkyView and step inside the human body with Microsoft HoloLens. Imagine the ‘wow’ factor event organisers could bring with such possibilities.
The widespread adoption of virtual and hybrid events has allowed us to have attendees from all over the world. This has meant we as event organisers have had to adapt and overcome the language barrier.
Offering live translation allows the inclusion of attendees who might otherwise miss out on the experience, simply for not speaking the speakers’ language and is something we expect to see incorporated at next year’s bigger events. Gather’s Lead Capture App can capture data from an image in 17 different languages.
Attendees and exhibitors need to feel consistency throughout their event experience. By having a solution that encompasses the entire event organisers can easily maintain this under one platform, this will be crucial for 2023 as we see a rise in more self-managed events and the desire for attendees to go out and experience live events is at an all-time high.
An all-in-one event solution should cover:
- event registration set-up process and emails
- event ticketing and badges
- exhibitor data capture
- post lead capture emails
The key to growing any event is opening it up and allowing even non-attendees to peer in and get a view of everything that they’re missing. You have access to teams of people dotted about whether their scanning tickets to let people in the event or stopping attendees to fill out surveys. Think of ways to encourage your teams to take pictures of candid moments, interesting events, or flagship moments.
A clear plan can provide content to feel marketing channels while also breaking up more mundane roles requiring human staffing. Gamification of content creation is key. A photo scavenger hunt or BINGO game with prizes is a simple but effective way to drive participation.
Which 2023 event trend will you be implementing?
The event landscape is evolving faster than ever. The gap between physical and digital experiences continues to shrink and it does look like we should be hopeful for our industry this coming year.
According to the 2023 AMEX Global Event Trends Forecast, 75% of event professionals rated their optimism levels at 8 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10, which is an increase from last year (59%).
Now is our time to capitalise on these trends and adapt to the new landscape we find ourselves in. Take a look at our event solutions for data capture, event registration or our all-in-one event solution to help you get the most out of an exciting year ahead.