How does one even begin to predict the event trends of 2021, after the roller coaster of 2020. In January of 2020, we could not have predicted the impact on the events industry. Typically, at this time of year we are discussing trending Pantone colors, latest foodie trends, and the hot new spot to host your event. This year, the focus is on strategy and engagement.
Get ready, this word will be used (and over-used) in 2021. We all hope for live events to make a dramatic comeback this year, but our reality is that they will come back over time, and we will need to live in transition. We are seeing that any kind of live event will include a virtual component for at least 12-18 more months, possibly forever! Between safety concerns, comfort, and convenience – there are a lot of reasons your attendees may opt for virtual over the in-person experience.
Smaller & More Frequent Events
One of the event trends that many organizations will adapt is a not-so-new strategy of smaller, more intimate cultivation events. For example, a non-profit will host smaller gatherings at Board Member or donor homes – where the host will invite their network to learn about the organization. Other opportunities include dedicated watch parties for sponsors as well as smaller networking and cultivation events for corporations and those looking to grow business relationships. This strategy focuses on quality interaction resulting in larger return on investment. These smaller events will have more targeted audiences and provide opportunities for hosts to make personal introductions into their networks.
It’s a little weird to think of health and safety as an event trend, but we know that safety considerations will be of utmost importance as live event returns. Making sure you save a budget line for additional cleaning staff and supplies as well as compliance measures, will set you up for success. We are optimistic about leading edge technologies that will not only streamline the screening and cleaning process but create something that adds to the event experience, rather than distract.
Event budgets have been hit hard, so we are expecting many events to trim back on things like décor and high-end food experiences to reinvest those dollars into technology and guest experience.
Our communities are thirsting for entertainment to come back and they will headline in the coming months of live events. Live music, comedy, and more will take the stage and reinvigorate the virtual event scene.
We asked a lot of existing technologies in 2020. With more time, technology has grown leaps and bounds in improving the guest experience for virtual and in-person attendees. Less clicks, better branding, more engagement – these are just a few of the elements we will see in software and technology upgrades. Upgraded technology will not only be an event trend, it will become a user expectation.
Most of all, a big trend for 2021 will be new opportunities. The events industry has an incredible opportunity to reinvent itself. As we return to virtual, hybrid and live events this year – we are excited for the new strategies to hit goals for fundraising, the great focus on engagement and human connection, and for the inevitable new partnerships and vendors that will make this happen.
If we can withstand 2020 we can walk into 2021 motivated and optimistic for what is to come, knowing that we have weathered the worst, we can prepare for our best.
And if you were wondering – the Pantone Color if the year for 2021 is PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating.