his article is part of our new Future of Events 2021 Series which will interview a mix of event organizers, consultants, thought leaders, and other event professionals responsible for overseeing events put on by their organization. Our goal with this series is to help event organizers best prepare for the future of events.
What are the top trends that will shape the events space in 2021?
BK: Coming out of the pandemic is going to have a long tail. It’s not going to be as simple as “after this date, events can happen”, so we’re going to be in a state of upheaval for at least the next year. Events will be a mishmash of online, hybrid, and smaller in-person events, with larger and larger events like festivals and concerts slowly increasing in number. Live-streaming and content delivery tech have come further in the last year than in the previous ten, plus millions of people who would have never considered it were forced to learn how to use things like video chat on their iPads. That’s going to raise the base level of tech-savviness for attendees, so planners are going to have more tools they can use.
What are the top mistakes you see organizations make with events?
BK: The biggest mistake people have been making for the last year is to just duplicate what their in-person event agendas were, only online. All design decisions for any event, online or in-person, should stem from the goals and objectives for the event. If you’re just ticking off the boxes of what you had, you’re likely to missing out on what was most important to your event. Most often when an online event has failed, it was trying to replicate in-person experiences. Instead, you have to lean in to the opportunities that online (and hybrid) events can offer.
What are the keys to a successful event?
BK: It’s all about knowing your goals and objectives, and working with your stakeholders – all your stakeholders. Your internal stakeholders, your attendees, your exhibitors, and your sponsors to find out what their goals and objectives are, and then delivering.
What makes events such an important channel?
BK: The vast majority of meetings and events are about creating connections and communicating. Even pure “entertainment” events like concerts often have a message associated with them. They’re all the direct descendants of our early ancestors sitting around a fire, sharing knowledge or just sharing an entertaining story about the origins of the universe.
In your own words, what will the future of events look like?
BK: Even when events are “back” as far as numbers and size, we’re going to see a shift in their distribution between in-person, broadcast, hybrid, and fully-online. Much like going to the movies (“Is this one I need to see in the theater?”), more and more attendees are going to start deciding, “Is this one I need to goto in person? Or is it one I can watch from home?” Of course, what they’re really asking is, “Is it worth it to attend in person?”, so meeting their goals and objectives is going to be even more important!