Take corporate event planning trends into account and capture what will make your next conference a huge success. Attendees will be attracted to your event based on what they think they’ll get out of the experience, so you want to consider event types and themes that currently interest people. For corporate events, potential attendees will typically need approval before spending corporate money on tickets and participating as a representative of their organisation. This means that your event has to demonstrate real value and offer knowledge that attendees can pass on to their colleagues.
Many of this year’s trends will continue to be driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects, so safety and flexibility will be key. Other corporate event trends will be noted as the year unfolds, but for now there are a number of popular event types and themes that can help you inform your planning process.
Choose an event format that works for your attendees
Trends in meetings and events show formatting to play a big role in corporate events dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite a slow return to in-person events, many virtual and hybrid trends have proven they have staying power. No matter which event format you choose, be sure to consider your target audience and what they’re most interested in.
Virtual and hybrid events still reach the masses
Virtual events may have become popular because of COVID-19 restrictions, but many creators have found that online events can reach a much wider audience than traditional in-person events. A virtual event is held completely online, while a hybrid event has both an in-person and hybrid component. Hybrid events have emerged as a trend in meetings and events because of the way they accommodate attendees who are comfortable with in-person events and those who are not.
These work well if your event involves speakers, panels, or performances that can be livestreamed to a remote audience. It’s a good idea to record speakers at your corporate events since you can use the video as collateral for future marketing materials, and you may already have the technology you need to stream your corporate event. If you need support for hosting a virtual event or the virtual component of your hybrid event, Eventbrite can help you create, promote, and manage everything with our virtual events platform.
Bring people together again with in-person events
People have been craving togetherness, so if it makes sense for your event – and if local regulations allow it – an in-person event has the potential to be a big hit. Make sure your venue has enough space to allow for any social distancing requirements, and check to see if there are any local restrictions or safety regulations you need to follow. In general, providing hand sanitiser or checking vaccination status at the door are good ways to ensure your attendees feel safe.
Potential in-person attendees won’t just be looking to see if your event is safe, they’ll be looking for all of the parts of events they missed out on during the pandemic. Give your audience the opportunity to mingle and interact with one another, participate in Q&As with speakers or experts, and enjoy food and drink. Make sure your event is immersive and provides an experience that wouldn’t be possible online.
Keep it intimate with a micro event
If a large corporate conference or trade show doesn’t make sense for your organisation, consider hosting a number of micro-events instead. Smaller events have become a current trend in the events industry due to previous restrictions on the number of people who could gather during the COVID-19 pandemic, but there have always been certain benefits to hosting these types of gatherings. A micro-event with a single speaker will give attendees the opportunity to truly interact with the speaker, unlike an event with a packed auditorium. Your micro-events can be more interactive and involve more discussion. This type of event works well for workshops and team-building exercises.
Topical themes that will draw in attendees
A theme that interests your audience is key to selling tickets to your next corporate event. It’s clear that trending conference themes have been heavily influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and current events, but also by social issues that people care about. Think about what theme will best speak to your attendees.
Wellness and connection in the wake of the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot about our day-to-day lives, including the way we work. Organisations have had to pivot in order to better support their employees, whether that means allowing remote work, more flexible scheduling, or support for those who were directly affected by the pandemic. Wellness was a trending conference theme before the pandemic, and now taking care of ourselves and our loved ones has become even more critical. Consider an event that centres on helping people manage both living and working in their homes, with sessions that focus on work-life balance, flexible working styles, productivity, dealing with burnout, and other related topics.
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace
Current events have brought issues with corporate diversity to the forefront of our minds. In an age where several companies are global and employees need to work across time zones with colleagues from other cultures, many people and organisations are considering how they can best foster respectful communication and safe working environments for everyone. Plan an event that brings together diversity and inclusion experts, HR professionals, and others who care about healthy and diverse corporate cultures.
New technology in your field or industry
Many organisations will be on the lookout for the newest and most innovative technology, so it’s no surprise that tech conferences are an evergreen choice for a corporate event. Give vendors a chance to demonstrate new products and attendees the opportunity to try the new tech out. Invite speakers or panellists to discuss recent technological trends and what they mean for your industry as a whole. These types of events are always attractive to companies who want to stay on the cutting edge.
Delight attendees with amenities and technology
No matter what theme or format you choose for your event, there are certain things that your attendees are going to expect, which will make a big impact on their experience.
Ensure that every single person attending your event leaves a positive impression by planning ahead for a diverse crowd. Provide captions on your livestreams or appropriate interpretation for in-person attendees who need it. Check that any in-person venue you choose is physically accessible for all your attendees. If any aspect of your event is hard to navigate or understand for some attendees, it may prevent them from coming to your events in the future.
One reason that many people like events is because of the aspect of human connection they provide. Even if you’re hosting an online event, choose a platform with a chat function that allows attendees to network and discuss the event on their own. Consider putting together an app that lets them connect both during and after the event.
Make check-in safe and stress-free with a contactless process. Send attendees an email with a QR code or barcode that they can pull up on their phones. This means you won’t need to organise a will-call and no one needs to worry about keeping track of physical tickets.
Sustainability is becoming a concern for more and more people, and your attendees will likely want to see you making smart choices when it comes to your event. Instead of giving out lots of cheap branded merchandise that no one will use, think carefully about creating swag that will be meaningful to attendees and will be something they’ll use over and over. Look into biodegradable and recyclable utensils, plates, and cups if you’re serving food, and provide all the necessary recycling receptacles at the event. When you make a concentrated effort to make sustainable choices, your eco-conscious attendees will notice and appreciate it.
Ready to plan your conference?
Corporate events marketing is competitive, so considering your audience’s wants and needs is key to standing out and drawing in attendees. Conferences have changed a lot since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they’re continuing to adapt. Many of the meetings and events industry trends we discussed in this guide are the result of the changes the events industry has made, but they’re also indicative of where events are headed.
If you’re ready to get the word out about your next conference, create an event page on Eventbrite and start selling tickets right from your website or Facebook page.