Top 10 Event Trends You Need to Know for 2021

It’s no surprise that 2021’s event trends are largely influenced by the global pandemic. Last year, the biggest and most-anticipated events either were cancelled, postponed, or transformed into a fully virtual experience. 

Our hopes that this year would be fully back to normal haven’t come to fruition, but we know a lot more now than we did before. Backed with this knowledge, we walked into the year armed with the event trends for 2021 — trends that are centered on using technology to its fullest potential, and harnessing all of our creativity to engage our audiences.

Read up on the biggest event trends post-COVID: From the power of hybrid events to the importance of data analysis, improving our technology and creating personal, out-of-this-world experiences.

2021 Event Trends That Need to Be on Your Radarevent trends 2021

Event Trend #1) Blending Virtual and In-Person Experiences With a Hybrid Event Approach

As we bob in and out of our “new normal,” companies faced 2021 with a huge question: are in-person events no longer an option? While many may have cancelled their events all together or moved them entirely online, several others pushed ahead and planned hybrid events.

With social distancing guidelines, it’s possible to craft smaller in-person gatherings combined with a virtual component. As a result, the hybrid event is growing in popularity this year.

Hybrid events give attendees flexibility and convenience — pandemic or not. Clients, customers, or employees who were never able to attend large gatherings due to location, cost, or time can hop in and out of sessions and network according to their schedule. Companies can flex their creativity by finding out-of-the-box ways to share information, and also save money and resources. Not to mention the insights on customer behavior that can be gathered through digital analytics (keep reading for more on that trend).

Event Trend #2) Gathering Data, Data and More Data to Analyze Performance

With the help of a virtual component, we now have easier access to a lot of data. This means we can more accurately analyze what’s working and what’s not, as well as what our customers, clients, and staff need. Send out pre- and post-event surveys, track engagement tools, make polls, and more, all from a virtual event app.

Event apps can be used by in-person and at-home attendees, which saves paper and other resources, too.

Looking to host a sales kickoff online? Check out The Must-Have Sales Kickoff Guide for Success [+6 Tips For Going Virtual]

Event Trend #3) Utilizing All-In-One Marketing Event Management Solutions (MEMs)

Marketing Event Management solutions (MEMs) offers most of the tools you need to manage virtual and in-person elements. These virtual event platforms allow you to seamlessly craft branded registration and content pages, create agendas, and incorporate engagement tools into video streams and other presentations.

While all of these elements work together, the platform collects data and is connected to your tech stack. You’ll be able to access all information using your trusted software, and use the data to benefit your marketing and sales efforts. Stay connected with clients via email or social media, sharing takeaways or video clips from the event, and keeping them moving through your sales funnel.

Event Trend #4) Elevating Security and Privacy to Protect Attendee Information

With virtual data collection comes an essential factor: protecting attendee information. It’s more important than ever to adjust or update your tech stack to include higher levels of security and privacy, plus choose vendors that offer strong protection of all sensitive content and information related to your event and business.

Choose a marketing events management solution with 24/7 customer support, too — if anything technical goes wrong during an event, you’re going to need quick assistance.

Event Trend #5) Education Will be an Area of Interest for Attendees

A year of not having much to do, beyond what’s in our own homes or offices, has left people craving the opportunity to learn and do more. Plus, people are used to accessing information digitally, so the thirst for knowledge abounds. 

Get ahead by offering opportunities for certification courses or workshops. You can tailor them to virtual or in-person guests, or combine efforts when applicable to create more networking and engagement opportunities. Invite speakers who are experts in their fields to teach on a topic of interest, and use polls to generate ideas.

2021 hybrid event trends

Event Trend #6) Improving Tech for Smoother Attendee Experiences

With more virtual experiences comes more disruptions and audience frustration or fatigue. However, we are seeing event tech continue to improve, and there are more solutions available than ever before. 

Still, be sure to use the proper tools and software for the size and scope of your event. Don’t stretch your tech to the limits: Make sure you test everything and get extra opinions from experts to make sure you’re not working the software beyond its means.

Update software when applicable and make sure the vendors you choose can handle the audience size and the types of content you want to present. Streaming video and using interactive tools should be smooth and seamless. If you’re boosting your creativity, make sure your tech stack is boosted, too. And again, test, test, test!

Event Trend #7) Increasing Opportunities for Networking and Audience Engagement

In many ways, hybrid events create multiple layers of potential engagement, especially with the right event technology. Many virtual event platforms allow you to blend live and on-demand content on their home feeds with social-media like features, plus add in interactive options such as word cloud and Q&As. 

With features such as activity feeds, you can keep attendees constantly engaged. And with breakout rooms, you can go from group chats to video calls, providing opportunities for post-event networking or product demos with exhibitors. Each attendee or partner can set up their own profile, making it easy for others involved in the event to find and connect with them directly.

A strong marketing events management solution dissolves the divide between in-person and virtual experiences.

Event Trend #8) Personalizing Attendee Experiences 

Your virtual event software should be packed with personalization. Vendors with interactive features like activity challenges allow attendees to start friendly competitions for a greater cause. They then can redeem points and develop a personal status.

Matchmaking features allow like-minded individuals or experts to connect on their topics of choice, after collecting lists of potential interests and skills.

To maintain high engagement, attendees can view digests that personalize content by generating a summary of the most popular content from their feeds. You also can schedule personalized notifications to share important updates.

Event Trend #9) Incorporating Eco-Friendly Initiatives to Make Events More Sustainable

The greater global movement toward sustainability has definitely made its way to the event industry. Organizers are recognizing how wasteful in-person events can be, from travel and food waste to energy and resources. Even offering a virtual option to your event can help make it more sustainable by cutting down on travel resources and food waste. But, there’s a lot more that can be done.

Reduce, reuse, recycle — We are all familiar with those terms, but there are opportunities to examine every part of your event to decide where waste can be reduced, what elements can be reused, and how you can encourage and implement more recycling. 

This can take a lot of work, but will generate huge benefits. You’ll gain support and respect for your company, and create a long-lasting impact in your industry.

Event Trend #10) Sharing Your Goals, Successes, and Takeaways on Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool for engaging all attendees before and after your event, and gaining the interest of new partners and clients. Make the most of your events by sharing as much as possible on social channels.

Share your ideas, create polls for feedback, and get ideas for content. During the event you can share fun surprises that occurred, special guest speaker takeaways, or favorite moments.

After the event, create another poll to find out what attendees enjoyed, what they didn’t like, and what they would want to see more of. Discover their thoughts on your MEMS, and get feedback from speakers and exhibitors on how it worked for them.

Share video clips from your event, and any fun photos taken during the in-person event. Encourage photos of swag and any sustainable practices. Social media will help you gain attention for your brand, products, and event overall.

Want to learn more about how to use social media? Read up on our 19 Social Media Tips For Event Promotion

Utilize These 2021 Trends to Amplify Your Upcoming Events 

With an overwhelming focus on sophisticated virtual tools, these post-COVID 2021 event trends will provide an engaging boost to your hybrid events. Attendees are used to consuming digital information, so your virtual components are merely a convenient extension to the familiar tools they are used to working with.

Using virtual event platforms like SpotMe will give you all the powerful tools you need for seamlessly executed content and savvy data analysis.

Try a free trial of SpotMe today to play with the tools, and discover how you can use them to create a hybrid event that will impress.

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