14 event trends we’re thankful for this year

Cassy Aite
October 19, 2021
14 event trends we’re thankful for this year

Attending events will never be the same in a post-pandemic world, but that’s not a bad thing. In fact, virtual events are becoming more engaging and exciting than ever, thanks to today’s tech-savvy society. 

In light of the Thanksgiving season, let’s take a look at some of the top event trends that we’re thankful for in today’s world. Please forgive us for stuffing you with tips that can help your company thrive, but being able to host exciting events can help you take an even bigger piece of the pie in the corporate world. 

The unique trends in this article are just gravy on top, and they’ll keep your audience coming back for more.

Exciting event trends to watch

1. The rise of hybrid events

A hybrid event is one that combines both in-person and virtual capabilities. The benefit of such events is that it gives each attendee an ideal experience tailored to their unique situation. According to a Bizzabo survey, 97% of people see more hybrid events being planned as we move forward. It’s better to let everyone attending do so in the most comfortable way, and giving people that flexibility can significantly increase your potential audience. More options means more attendees!

2. Micro events over macro events

Even though we all want a good crowd at our events, sometimes it’s better to prioritize intimate, small-scale gatherings rather than big-ticket meetings. Micro events have become an emerging trend, which focus on smaller sessions instead of day-long conferences. Having split groups or planning in a shorter time frame makes it far likelier to keep everyone engaged during the whole event. So if you’re organizing a full-day macro event, it’s a good idea to divide up your schedule into a series of micro events with breaks in between, which will keep everyone focused and productive for a much longer period.

3. Data-driven decisions from apps

Generating feedback from attendees is a major part of any event, and using apps is a great tool to track the data you need. Whether it’s online surveys or social media posts, finding out what people think about your event is key for becoming a successful event planner. If you ask for feedback ahead of time, it can help give you a better idea of how best to conduct the event—and which features people are interested in. If you gather information after it’s over, the data collected can tell you which strategies were most and least successful for future event planning.

4. Keeping attendees engaged

man holding laptop with yellow background

We’re all guilty of drifting off during long meetings. The secret to a productive event is keeping your audience as engaged as possible. Ask the attendees questions, find captivating guests or speakers, and use a fun reward system to maintain people’s focus. Instead of grinding through a repetitive discussion, incorporate virtual coffee or online lunch and learn breaks into your event (Hoppier’s virtual gift card tool can help!).

5. Gamification to entice the audience

Speaking of rewards, adding a game component to your event is a surefire way to draw interest from the audience. Games are fun and all of us are competitive at heart, so tap into those motivational factors to maximize attendee engagement. Keeping a playful vibe around the gamified event leads to a healthy workplace culture, and giving people a reason to pay attention also means your audience will be likelier to retain the information they learn.

6. Offering incentives to attendees

Incentives are another tremendous tool becoming widely used in events today. If you’re using a competition-style system to encourage participation, offering perks to incentivize them helps inspire everyone to stay focused and get involved. Hoppier is a great method of adding incentives to your event. Our customizable virtual card allows the recipient to purchase food from an available vendor of their choice, which works perfectly for a competition where you don’t know the winner beforehand.

7. Providing up-skilling and networking opportunities

Learning new skills and meeting new people are two of the main reasons why people attend events. Up-skilling means to undergo training to develop new skills, and it’s no surprise that events are trending towards emphasizing the learning opportunities they provide. As for virtual networking, a popular event trend is to schedule time for informal conversations. Many events encourage mingling through smaller group activities, while others schedule chunks of the day for you to ask questions to connect with particular attendees. Expect both of these trends to continue in the years ahead.

8. Using personalized elements

Personalized content is a fantastic way to deliver memorable event experiences, as those personal elements capture the attention of whoever they’re intended for. The bevy of technological tools at your disposal can help you create unique experiences for whoever is in attendance, with each being tailored to fit everyone’s individual nature. Once you learn how different people learn best, personalizing their experiences at your events helps you both capture and keep their focus.

9. Generating buzz ahead of time

man and woman high-fiving over event trends

People are drawn to events that feel like must-see experiences, so do your best in hyping up the event well before it gets underway. Treat your upcoming event as something no one will want to miss, as opposed to the boring water-cooler talk that dooms so many events before they even start. Having some positive buzz surrounding your event gives it credibility, which means you will likely get a larger number of attendees. And checking that level of participant engagement after the event finishes is a great measuring stick to see how memorable it was for those in attendance.

10. Investing in audio and video quality

Virtual events are not going away any time soon, which means you should make sure that your company’s communication software is performing well. No one wants to slog through an event with tech issues causing delays, so investing in strong audio and video quality can help take your events to the next level. Countless new software innovations have been made since the pandemic began, so look into which ones could help you and maximize the quality of event experience you hope to provide.

11. Promoting relaxation elements

man looking up at sky feeling relaxed on pink background

Our society is trending towards having more relaxed vibes in the workplace, and thankfully our events are heading in that same direction. Perhaps you can encourage casual attire to help people feel at ease, or maybe incorporate calming elements like music or meditation into the event. Stress is the last thing anyone wants to feel, especially when going to an event, so promoting relaxation is a great way to get the best engagement from everyone in attendance.

12. Trying audio-only events

Let’s face it: All of us have experienced Zoom fatigue. No one wants to be staring at their screen for any longer than necessary. As a result, everyone should be intrigued by the emerging trend of conducting audio-only events. We’re seeing a surging return of phone call conferences, as small-scale audio events can feel more intimate than large-scale video chats. And even if video is an essential element of your event’s experience, do people need to be on-camera themselves for it? Events where listening is important can lead to more engaging discussions, so consider giving audio-only conversations a try!

13. Moving the setting outdoors

If you’re tired of hosting events virtually or in office boardrooms, try moving the location outside to provide a sense of escape. It’s been established that outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor settings from a health perspective, which is important as we continue facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, this only works if the fall weather in your area is kind enough to allow for outdoor meetings, but feeling that fresh air can totally revamp the positivity and productivity of your event.

14. Enhancing security protocols

As mentioned, safety is going to remain paramount in all events going forward. One of the best trends we’ve witnessed is the enhanced protocols put in place to make sure everyone is safe. Whether it’s heightened cyber security for those attending virtually, or extra cleaning and distancing measures put in place for those attending in-person, everyone should feel safe going to your event. People appreciate you looking out for their well-being, and that gratitude can be reciprocated by them being passionately invested for the whole event.

Hoppier: a safe and easy trend to elevate your events

When it comes to providing food at your events, safety and flexibility are so important. The old-school mentality of bringing communal food for everyone simply isn’t an option in a post COVID-19 world, so try using Hoppier instead to give your audience something they’ll enjoy.

Our virtual cards let your guests choose from a variety of available food and drink vendors, which will then be delivered to everyone in short order regardless of how far apart they are. Personalized catering ideas have trumped communal sharing in the event sphere, so join the trend and give Hoppier a try!

Hoppier virtual cards product screenshot

Whether you’re organizing a hybrid, in-person, or virtual event, Hoppier is a great tool to simplify the food ordering process. It’s easy to create an account, plus you can customize its design and vendor list however you’d like. And if there’s any money left over on the cards, we’ll offer refunds or put it towards your next Hoppier event — so don’t feel pressured to spend any more than necessary!

How to deliver the best event experiences

Event planners and attendees alike must all be tremendously thankful for these recent event trends. Having an engaging event experience benefits everyone involved, and we’re fortunate to live in an age where that has never been easier.

If people went cold turkey on coming up with creative solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, how would we be able to ham it up with people at hybrid or virtual events now? Thanksgiving is the time of year to say thanks, so be thankful for these key event trends that have allowed us all to gobble up knowledge in innovative ways.

If you’re looking to feast on some more ways to improve your events, check out our webinar on how to create memorable and engaging virtual events or our handy book of virtual event ideas, and follow our expert advice to squash your concerns.

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