Planning & Promotion

Nine Event Technology Trends You Must Know in 2021

Eventually Learning Team

Being a part of the B2B event industry, we all have realized the paradigm shift in how work is being done now. In March 2020, the pandemic shook the world and everything came to a screeching halt. But as people say, even in the face of adversity, we can learn to copes if we set our minds to it.

For the event industry, the situation seemed bleak in 2020. All traditional events were getting canceled. However, soon after, businesses started adapting to the digital way of getting things done. All B2B, B2C and corporate events, including product launches, seminars, exhibitions, workshops, conferences, webinars, etc., started happening virtually.

We all witnessed the era of virtual events, and now, in 2021, businesses and people have started recognizing the multiple benefits of hosting virtual and hybrid events. While planning a virtual event, you don't have to worry about budget allocations for food and beverages. Therefore, that budget can be effectively used somewhere else. As an event attendee, you don't have to worry about the cost of traveling to the venue. The best thing about having a virtual component to your event is that anyone with an internet connection can attend it.

As good as all the things mentioned above sound, planning virtual and hybrid events have their challenges. Today's event planners encounter and overcome a different set of challenges like which event platform to choose, which software solutions should be integrated, etc.

Because the event industry has pivoted to virtual events, many innovations have happened in event technology, planning and hosting. Fortunately, with the advancements in event tech, you can host impactful virtual and hybrid events. This will make you ask, "How will event technology help me host a successful virtual or hybrid event in 2021?" Well, keep reading to find out.

1 What is Event Technology?

Let's not skip the basics. To thoroughly understand various event technology trends in the market, we need first to understand what event technology means. Like the case with all different types of technologies and software, event technology also falls on a broad spectrum consisting of many types of solutions and tools. Event technology refers to all the digital tools, trends and solutions that help you to plan, organize, host and carry out your entire event.

Event technology includes:

  • Virtual event platforms
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Live-streaming services
  • Chatbots
  • Registration pages
  • Webinar platforms
  • Event apps
  • Landing page builders
  • Event website builders and the list goes on…

2 Why is Event Technology Important?

According to the statistics by Statista conducted in May 2020, a survey carried out among B2B marketers gauged the state of virtual event marketing. This survey discovered that close to 50 % of respondents held around 20 and 30 such events per year. Furthermore, around 21 % of survey participants indicated that they host more than 30 virtual events each year. With so many businesses and marketers turning to host virtual and hybrid events, event technology will play a major role in the industry.

As digital technology has taken off, people realize the full potential of event technology and are hosting remarkable, interactive events around the globe with maximum attendee engagement. As soon as people receive their COVID-19 vaccinations, there will be great hope for hybrid events, as they have an in-person and a virtual aspect attached to them. These events help in propagating maximum audience reach, interaction and engagement.

In the present circumstances, how does event technology support an event planner? Let's find out.

Event technology is an event marketer's best friend. The event technology not only helps in hosting events, but it also supports in smoothening out the entire procedure of planning, organizing and hosting events. Event technology plays a crucial role in the entire lifecycle and it helps with the following aspects of planning:

  • Pre-planning
  • Event Promotions
  • Registrations
  • Website Landing Page
  • Accepting payments
  • Sending emails
  • Sending email reminders
  • Hosting a virtual or a hybrid event
  • Enhancing attendee interaction
  • Tracking attendee interaction, data and responses
  • Collecting leads
  • Creating CRM profiles
  • Collecting and analyzing post-event data
  • Feedback or surveys
  • Sending follow-ups

As you read through the above list, you must have definitely realized that there is a tool for every step of planning, organizing or hosting an event.

3 Nine Event Technology Trends You Must Know in 2021

Now that we already know the importance of event technology looking out for certain trends that will lead the event industry in 2021-22 is important. As an event marketer, if you are not familiar with the recent trends, you might fall behind while others step up their game.

If you want to enhance all your future events, let's explore the recent event tech trends that could come in handy.

3.1 Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is amongst one of the most promising and emerging technologies. It is already being used in many industries and will soon find its way in all sectors. Many event marketers are talking about how AI will completely revolutionize the event industry in the coming years.

Through the innovation in AI and machine learning technology, it is possible to transcribe speech-to-text accurately. This will help all event attendees, even those with hearing impairments, to understand what the speaker is trying to say in real-time. With time, it is also possible for AI to translate speech into different languages. This will encourage multicultural attendees to be a part of the event, as language will not be a barrier anymore.

Chatbots are another interactive example of AI technology that can be used in events. They can be used to answer the simple questions that the attendees have in mind. This will help reduce the staffs' burden of responding to every little query that an attendee has. Therefore, chatbots can help to provide audience and customer services.

3.2 Hybrid Event Platforms

As the market and the economy get back on track, in-person events will come back. That doesn't mean that virtual or hybrid events will vanish. On the contrary, being digital will forever be a part of our lives now, and it is going to be the ultimate norm moving forward. Therefore, even in the event industry, virtual and hybrid events will be prominent.

The best way to conduct events in the future would be through hybrid events. They enable all types of audience engagements and interactions. A person is free to attend the event physically or virtually according to their choices and circumstances.

Therefore, hybrid event platforms will be the best choice to conduct hybrid events. They allow the guests to attend the event physically and virtually. Hybrid event platforms use integrated technology that ensures that people attending online are connected with people attending the same event in person. As a result, you can give access to the same sponsors, vendors and speakers to all types of audiences simultaneously.

With hybrid event platforms, you can access all of your guest's data whether they attend the event in-person or online.

3.3 Break Rooms

While hosting a virtual or hybrid event, it is important to ensure that the audience is given a break time to interact with all other event attendees virtually.

The whole point of the event is to fuel discussion. So instead of letting the speaker speak for the whole event, you can design chat, break or discussion rooms where guests can gather virtually and spend time with one another. Some event platforms also track users' preferences and responses and help them connect with like-minded attendees, guests or speakers by suggesting preferences.

3.4 Event Apps

As we all know, apps make things a lot easier. Similarly, for events, apps will ease the processes for in-person, virtual and hybrid events.

Certain event apps even try creating a virtual event venue, or in the case of hybrid events, space where the event is actually taking place. It creates this virtual room to help the attendees to experience the whole deal. The apps even allow guests, speakers and event attendees to create their own avatars to walk around the virtual space as they would have in real life. You can also click on vendor booths to interact with the vendor in order to get the desired information.

Some apps are based more on the social media user experience, where users can create their profiles and see the live stream of the event, presentations and posts, comments and questions, etc.

3.5 Wearable Technology

Wearable technology will be an upcoming corporate event trend and will be used in various in-person and hybrid events. This technology involves a smart badge usually worn as a name tag or lanyard. It contains a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip programmed to track the guests' movement to help the event host to access an idea about the guest's preferences and patterns.

These patterns also help in effective networking. For example, in some smart badges, when two people with the same interests cross each other, the light on their badge blinks to show that they are like-minded and share common interests.

3.6 Built-In Registration Sites

Dispersing the word out about your event is a tedious task. We are lucky that some virtual event platforms have built-in registration pages to create new contacts in your CRM and handle payments for you.

Registration pages can also be an excellent way to track user data. If you ever want to collect feedback, opinions, questions, suggestions, etc., before your event, you can use your registration page for it. You can also display it on your event website. Also, registration pages display your brand and event logo, which helps in brand name propagation and recall.

3.7 Gamification

To create a more memorable virtual or hybrid event, you can add mini-games at the start, middle or towards the end of the event. This provides an excellent opportunity for the vendors, attendees, speakers and sponsors to interact with one another.

Some event apps allow the host to set up mini-games or challenges for the guests. These will actually reward them based on their performance.

If you are looking to boost audience engagement, this is one of the best event technology trends to look out for in 2021.

3.8 High-Definition Live Streaming

While live-streaming is not a very recent event technology trend, in comparison, HD live stream services and the option of broadcasting 4K video are definitely new.

Certain event apps have built-in features where you can change the quality of the video according to your internet bandwidth.

You can even integrate with YouTube or Vimeo to act as a host for live-streaming your event.

3.9 On-site Rapid COVID-19 Testing

We all know that mass vaccination drives happening across the globe will soon enable participation in in-person and hybrid events. However, to avoid any health emergency or hazard, especially when people are worried about the spread of the COVID-19 virus, you must ensure that you have rapid testing facilities available on your site.

Many companies are focusing on building devices that will provide rapid testing and report generation facilities for the audiences. Apart from rapid testing kits, you can keep thermal cameras that test people's body temperature. An oximeter can also be used to check the oxygen levels of all attendees. This is one of the most important event technology trends for 2021 and beyond.

4 Frequently Asked Questions

4.1 What are the top event technology trends for 2021 and beyond?

Here are nine top event technology trends for 2021 and beyond:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Hybrid event platforms
  • Break rooms
  • Event apps
  • Wearable technology
  • Built-in registration sites
  • Gamification
  • High-definition streaming
  • On-site, rapid COVID-19 tests

4.2 How to identify the latest trend in the event industry?

To find the latest trends in the event industry, rigorous research and reading on the industry and market is a must. Following famous event companies and their events closely on social media and their websites will give you an idea about the latest trends. Here are some latest trends in the event industry for 2021:

  • Hybrid events
  • Personalized events
  • On-demand events
  • Virtual Engagement
  • Social distancing with guests and attendees
  • Health screening areas
  • Multifunction versatility
  • New event technologies
  • Hybrid event platforms

4.3 Why should we follow event technology trends?

Knowing the latest event technology trends and adapting to them will give you a competitive edge over everyone else. It will help you become the leading industry expert. According to research, using event technology can help in increasing attendance by 20% and productivity by 27%. (Source: Social Tables) Therefore, considering all the above factors, it is better to adapt to recent technology trends in order to carry out business processes smoothly.

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