Asia’s event marketing industry is kind of in an awkward spot right now. The good news is that effective vaccines and cures are well underway, leaving more room for flexibility in organizing events. And yet, our region is still lagging in recovery, bringing up uncertainties on how the event marketing industry can steadily move forward.
Questions such as which format would be best to adopt? Are in-person events still worth it? How do we go about them then? What’s the future of event technology going to be?— And so many more plague organizers and marketers alike.
Just thinking about what another year of having to live with a pandemic holds is hard enough. And so, to help make these uncertain times a little less intimidating, we’ve set out to give you a glimpse of what the event marketing industry might look like in the coming year, based on the event trends and circumstances we’ve been seeing so far.
Here are the top event trends in Asia to look out for in 2022:
1. In-person Events Will Be Back, but The Hybrid Will Dominate
With eased up quarantine restrictions in many Asian countries (including South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan and Philippines), in-person events will slowly but surely be back in the event scene. We can say that more and more people will be comfortable attending live events if vaccination rates continue to rise and COVID-19 infections remain under control.
So yes, you will be seeing more gatherings in your timeline, or may even find yourself attending or organizing one. However, we can expect that only the more formal and essential types of events will be prioritized. Conferences, trade shows, and weddings might be more common as opposed to seminars, public talks, and panel discussions, which would still do well as virtual-only events.
Then again, because we’re not exactly in a Covid-free world just yet, in 2022 hybrid events may still hold the spotlight. It remains the most appealing way for organizers to get both the benefits of virtual and in-person format as they adjust to changing lockdown restrictions.
This is because hybrid events are basically disaster-proof. Though re-surges in certain regions may cause fluctuating health guidelines, organizers can easily pack things up and fully move their events online. Going hybrid provides flexibility while maintaining a greater capacity for audience reach and steady data accumulation. Therefore, we can confidently say that hybrid events are here to stay.
2. An Abundance of Micro-events
As mentioned, in-person events will definitely make a comeback. But as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends avoiding large gatherings, we can hope to see another sub-format on the rise: micro-events. These are drastically smaller and segmented events, such as pod meetups, workshops, private concerts, networking, etc.
Micro events typically only have around 10-25 people, which is in stark comparison to the 4,932 conference average event attendees of a regular meeting or conference pre-Covid. They can be standalone events or be part of a bigger conference with multiple venue sites. Programs and agendas are more straightforward, typically only lasting about an hour or two.
But while evidently more scaled-back setups, it nevertheless allows for more intimate experiences. Guests can network better and create deeper connections— something many of us will be craving more of as we near two years of being in limited contact with people. Tried and tested lead generation tactics pre-covid may also be more effective and fruitful by that time.
Long story short, we can definitely look forward to many kinds of micro-events as event organizers gain more room to experiment in the coming year.
3. Additional Measures for Physical Safety and Virtual Security
We've tackled how smaller in-person gatherings will be among event trends, but now it’s time to discuss how events will be structured to fit the needs of the times. In 2022, events that prioritize the safety and security of attendees both onsite and online will have a huge advantage in event marketing.
For traditional events, outdoor or alfresco locations will be the new go-to. If in enclosed venues, events that have advanced air-filtration systems will be more commendable. Regardless of the venue, however, expect to see socially distanced layouts, event staff in protective personal equipment, and specialized cleaning crews on standby.
The pre-event screening will be more crucial and requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination will most probably catch on even in event admissions. Event companies that offer on-site COVID-19 PCR testing might also be a growing event trend.
On the other hand, the issue of cybersecurity can be a primary concern in the virtual events scene. Though attendee metrics and data are an enormous advantage for organizers, users are also becoming more aware of how their online data is prone to be exploited online. Thus, the need for event planners to safeguard sensitive information provided by attendees should also be emphasized.
Event marketers are encouraged to keep event links private, go for trustworthy virtual event tech suppliers and invest in a two-factor authentication system. In a world of rising cyber-crime rates, these measures will especially be crucial.
4. Slow But Steady Integration of Virtual Reality in Events
The demand for more immersive experiences makes a strong case for virtual reality or VR-based events next year. With the up-and-coming VR tech industry, we can expect their innovation to infiltrate the events scene even further. Mark Zuckerberg is already working on his own Metaverse, isn't he? You can bet more people will be paying attention to VR even in Asia.
In fact, an Asia VR & AR Fair and Summit is already slated to happen in Guangzhou, China this coming 10-12 of May 2022. Here, over 100 brand exhibitors, including HTC Vive, Unity Technologies, DeePoon VR, and many more, will showcase the latest advancements in Virtual and Augmented reality technology to multiple industry investors in Asia.
All of this is largely because VR in events has high potential to elevate various formats, such as product launches, trade shows, concerts, fashion shows, and even face-to-face classes, among others. With customizable 3D experience and motion-sensitive technology, the possibilities are practically endless. We will very much be looking forward to more VR breakthroughs in event marketing soon!
5. More Personalization and Humanization of Virtual Events
2022 will also be the year of more personalized virtual events. In a technology-mediated world, it’s crucial for attendees to be reminded that event marketers are not bots; and that they (the attendees) are not just seen as another number in the event headcount.
In order to stand out in the fast-paced event scene, organizers will really have to let each attendee know that their interests matter to them. From mentioning attendee names in event newsletters, coming up with extremely relevant content, and quickly adapting to event analytics and feedback, features that radiate genuine concern beyond the screen will be imperative.
But while this entails additional efforts, results in ROI and lead generation will soon prove it to be worthwhile. More personalized and therefore humanized virtual events can help marketers make a superb impression on attendees, allowing them to maximize opportunities to convert leads.
6. Consistent Significant Gains for The Event Tech Industry
While many businesses struggled during the pandemic, event tech was one of the industries that took off and garnered tremendous investments. This just proves that there is a greater need to have innovative technology that can support our purposeful gatherings now more than ever.
And so, not to toot our own horn, but our fearless forecast is that event tech will continue to evolve and proliferate in 2022. Countless new, sophisticated and even groundbreaking features are well underway to enhance the overall experience, whether it be in-person or virtual events.
By 2022, event management platforms could introduce more advanced features like intelligent facial recognition software for seamless admissions and exhibitor/attendee relationships. Attendee analytics could very well include more specific information that will equip marketers with better engagement tactics. And we may also encounter smarter chatbots and AIs that greatly help lead generation efforts.
Trust us, all the advancements you’ve been seeing are just the start of how event tech will reinvent the event marketing industry and ultimately make organizers' lives easier.
The coming year is still filled with uncertainty, especially for event marketers in Asia among other regions. Nonetheless, we’ve provided a list of things they can look forward to and use as a handy guiding post when navigating these daunting times.
As the pandemic loses steam, we can celebrate the fact that in-person events will be more workable next year. We do, however, predict that smaller setups, preference in outdoor venues and strict adherence to required safety measures will be the new norm. With this, the much-talked-about hybrid format will also be here to stay and keep pushing event organizers to experiment.
We’re also placing our bets on the VR industry as the next big thing for organizers to invest in for everyone looking to take attendee experience to another level. Regarding content and strategy, marketers who focus on making audiences feel seen and heard will most likely stay winning. Lastly, we have hope that the event tech industry will have more innovations up their sleeve and continue to revolutionize event marketing for many more years to come.
And that’s it! Now that you know all of this, we hope you’ll be better equipped to adapt to whatever new thrill or challenge the ever-changing event scene has in store for 2022.
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