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5 Trends that Define the Future of Events in 2021


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As 2020 draws to a close, we cannot resist thinking about what a disruptive year it has been, especially for the Events industry. An industry that swore by in-person events was forced to think of newer ways to help people network, connect, present valuable insights about their products and services, and more. 

B2B marketing leadership and managers of events, demand generation, and field-marketing activities are planning next year’s campaigns and customer-engagement activities. The question on their minds: when will events be back to ‘normal’?

It’s safe to say that large gatherings of people involving flights and hotels will not be happening anytime soon, even though a vaccine is finally out. You can see the empty major sports arenas for an indication of the new normal. However, 2021 events and customer meetings, virtual or otherwise, must be planned and budgeted. What should you do?

We bring to you 5 trends that will define the future of events in 2021. Let’s begin:

  1. Internal factors impacting the event program

In a survey for BCD Meetings and Events, companies were asked what factors were impacting their events program. Results show that cost containment, risk mitigation, and budget reevaluation are the primary factors that define how companies are approaching events. All the three indicate companies will continue to focus on virtual events to mitigate risks and keep budgets under control.

  1. How Event budgets will be impacted in 2021

The same survey asked respondents about event budgets and how they will be impacted in 2021. A whopping 31% said that they expect at least a 50% cut in event budgets, the responses of the next two segments weren’t very encouraging either – with 25% indicating a 25% cut and another 14% saying the budgets will remain flat. 

  1. When will Event volume return to 2019 levels?

Another survey that gives a telltale sign of what the events landscape will look like in the near future is this. When asked about when event volumes will return to 2019 levels, only 23% said 2021 whereas a whopping 58% believe it will return to ‘normal’ volumes only in 2022.

  1. Impact on Business Travel and Events in 2021

A recent Wall Street Journal report shares some interesting findings. A global survey by consulting firm Oliver Wyman found that 43% of business travelers said that after the pandemic, their company’s travel would be less than originally planned.

The report also found that roughly 20% of total U.S. business travel comes from people attending conventions. This will likely return to previous levels not long after Covid vaccines are widely administered. “Conventions and trade shows likely will bounce back because they are seen as efficient ways to meet clients, recruit business, and keep track of competitors”, maintains the report.

  1. The Beginning of the End of COVID-19

The last one isn’t really a trend but tells us about what the future looks like after the Covid Vaccine has been found. Even though the vaccine is here, it will take a while for it to be available to the general public. Experts believe that the masses will have access to it and develop immunity only by the end of 2021.

Another interesting insight into why in-person events will take a while to be back, apart from the uncertainty due to Coronavirus is that:

In our next blog, we will talk about strategies to overcome the challenges we face as an industry and how a good mix of virtual and hybrid events will help us sail through these tumultuous times. Stay tuned!

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