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Events in 2022 call for agility, focus and engagement

Events in 2022 call for agility, focus and engagement

There has been so much uncertainty and angst the last few years around in-person events. Event planners and marketers around the world were hopeful 2022 would be different. While we’ve seen a slow transition to in-person events, the new COVID variant seems to be yet another blow for event professionals.

As we’ve learned through this pandemic, innovative trends can help planners better equip themselves to navigate the new year.

Agile everything. Never has budgeting and planning for various scenarios been so important.

If mandates and policies restrict the size of attendees, change the venue to something smaller.

Print has also become increasingly expensive, with an 8%-15% increase, promoting events digitally can be much more cost effective.

Research local political climates and current COVID conditions to better market to your audience and to be able to make changes quickly. Be sure to look out for any other events that could potentially compete with yours.

“Event planning during the pandemic has been interesting," said Kelley Kennedy, event planner and owner of Wenatchee-based Impact! Events Inc. "I have enjoyed the opportunity to think outside the box and face the many new challenges. It’s a time to reflect on your business and your clients businesses, as to what events are truly needed and successful. This is the perfect time to make changes that bring success with more efficiency and less cost, a time to take a good look on how we spend our time and money.”

Streamline your efforts. Some events don’t require heavy lifting. Technology can be your best friend in planning events. Utilizing technology to help save scarce human resources will be key in 2022. Programs that can help with event registration, auctions, and other reporting, frees up your time to focus on relationships and engagement.

Harness communities. Online communities have become critical in the last couple of years throughout the pandemic. Develop your event communities online and engage them year-round.
Virtual events can create authentic opportunities for human connection while also meeting people where they are, both geographically and mentally. They can also help foster community by allowing everyone to participate in a way that in-person doesn’t allow.

“In this time of uncertainty, it’s best to know the reason of each event, and have multiple plans to host it," Kennedy said. "We planned a very successful virtual event in November 2020, with Party Boxes delivered to home and business parties. Many of the guests loved it so much that they are choosing a virtual experience again this year, so we are offering an in-person and virtual experience where all guests will be able to engage in both the live and silent auctions via mobile bidding.”

Solution messaging. Ensure that exhibitors or sponsors are providing educational content to help solve organizational challenges which in return will keep your audience engaged and registering to future events. Gather feedback from your audience and community to meet specific needs of businesses and plan for future events.

Focus on what matters. Simplify or cut “the frills,” not only for cost-saving purposes, but to bring a bigger emphasis on the things that matter to your audience.

Everyone is more focused on networking and learning. Choosing a smaller venue, a limited menu or limiting décor will go unnoticed as people are just content connecting again. Execute as best as possible within the budgetary constraints.

Rethink success. Just because your event has fewer attendees, this does not mean the event wasn’t successful. Invite the “right people” to your event. The experience can be better and more meaningful when you’ve planned your event with intentional engagement and content.

“Knowing your clients goals for each event and being flexible are the best characteristics to be a successful event planner during this uncertain time," Kennedy said.

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