As 2022 has come to an end, we want to take the time to look back and reflect on how this year was: for us as a company, for the events industry, for our clients. To evaluate what has been, means that we will have a more clear idea of what is to come in 2023. If there is one lesson that we have learned the past few years… it’s that you can predict the future. The world, as well as the events industry, are rapidly changing day-to-day. All we can do is join in for the ride.
So.. What did we learn from 2022 and what can we expect for the new year?
1. In-person will always be the goal
If you have been to an event this year, you know that this is a no-brainer. In-person events are a joyous occasion. They’re exciting, new, inspiring: an incredible experience for people gathered in one place. However, a day at an event can be very long and tiresome. Talks, meetings, networking, presenting: the list goes on. Physical presence at an event is what sustains this flow of energy. Human beings are social creatures. Nothing compares to an excited chat over coffee (or a beer) at the end of a long day.
Hence, the value of human interaction is central to how we develop our virtual event platform. We want the platform to be a tool that facilitates genuine, meaningful connection. Our platform’s networking tools are simple, intuitive and effective. You can reach out to anybody and schedule a meeting with a press of a button: virtually or in-person. Furthermore, you can exchange business cards, track topical interests, etc.
2. Sustainability is key
However great in-person events are, there has been a lot of attention brought to the fact that the events industry is extremely unsustainable. Flights from all over the world, single-use decorations, unnecessary goodie bags and so much more… There is a huge disparity between being environmentally conscious and attending an event. Every year, this message rings more urgently, as attendees give sustainability concerns as the main reason for not attending¹.
A virtual tool can do a lot to address this issue. Our platform provides a virtual substitute for a lot of materials that would otherwise need to be bought, printed and eventually thrown away. A dynamic programme means that all users can favourite sessions and see up-to-date changes in the schedule, floor plans are integrated, business cards can be exchanged virtually, event passes are a click away. For those who would rather not fly to an event, there are many ways in which they can still be an active and engaged participant, even from a distance.
3. Anything can happen.. And it doesn’t have to be just COVID.
The past two years have been all about learning how to deal with unexpected changes: mainly, a worldwide pandemic. 2022 was the first year in which a lot of organisers could go ahead with their plans and host their event fully in-person. Even though COVID is more or less behind us (although the rising new wave is still of great concern in many areas), there are a lot of other situations that can affect the successful hosting of an event. Just these past few months have reminded us that transport strikes, weather conditions and political turmoil can greatly disrupt plans. Whether it affects the event itself or its attendees, at this point, we need to be prepared for any situation that comes our way.
2023 really feels like the first year in which we are not entertaining the very possible idea of yet another world-wide lockdown. However, this doesn’t mean that everything is back to the way things were pre-COVID. If anything, this is the first year in which the event industry will have to experience some very drastic changes, which will be here to stay. People have become very aware of how precious (and fragile) health, the global climate and their own time is. We cannot expect that people will jump onto a plane across the globe, several times a year, effectively compromising all three at once.
Without challenges, there cannot be success and growth, so we are looking forward to this new year and what it has to offer.
Happy new 2023 from the Conference Compass team!