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  • Writer's picturePaige Nathan

Top 2022 Meeting Trends

If there's one thing we can count on these days, it's uncertainty amidst the lingering effects of COVID. Just as we begin to see the light at the end of this proverbial pandemic tunnel, yet another obstacle is thrown our way. After two years of limited face to face interaction (too many events going virtual at the last minute), people are eager to meet in person more consistently. And if you're a meeting planner, you're trying to find ways to make that a reality. So what are some of the meeting trends you can expect this year? We took some time to explore what planners are talking about most.

1. Attendees Want This MOST From Their Next In-Person Meeting:

Back in the pre-pandemic days, attendees wanted to spend in-person meeting time focused on training and education. Fast forward two years, and now their top goal is, not surprisingly, networking and relationship-building. Because in-person time together is so limited, attendees want the opportunity to maximize connecting with peers, colleagues, and customers. Successful events will have lots of time designated for networking and they will take ordinary activities, such as meal functions, and find fun and creative alternatives allowing guests more time to mingle. Think longer than usual coffee breaks with spread out seating areas to facilitate conversations; and outdoor food trucks for lunches that encourage people to walk around. Sit down lunches require people to be closer together, and it's harder to get up and move around. And many attendees are no longer comfortable with buffets.

2. Planners' Expectations of a Meeting Venue:

Finding the right venue to host your upcoming meeting is more important than ever before. A recent study found that as many as 46 percent of respondents feel the most preferred in-person meeting solution requires all attendees to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test prior. Additionally, they would expect social distancing is being observed at meeting tables, catering functions including receptions, and that frontline hotel staff are wearing masks. While only 30 percent of respondents believe attendees should also wear masks. And nearly 80 percent of planners indicated that hybrid meeting capabilities are essential when selecting a venue for their event to accommodate last-minute changes.

3. Hybrid Meetings Are Here To Stay:

Results of a new survey commissioned by Hubilo found, "virtual and hybrid event platforms are going to remain an indispensable part of the event planner's toolkit for the foreseeable future." While people are eager to return to in-person events as much as possible, there remains a permanent desire for a virtual alternative for those attendees who are limited on time or funds, making in-person attendance impossible. A virtual option ultimately allows more people to "participate" in an event. As a result, many planners are making significant investments into hybrid meeting alternatives that are primarily focused on including and keeping virtual attendees actively engaged throughout the event so everyone finds value. Read more tips on how to determine with is the best type of event for you.

Moving forward, event planners will need to be more creative if they want their meetings to be successful. They'll need to identify ways to engage both in-person and virtual attendees. This includes clearly defining your meeting's objectives before you start planning. Key questions to ask include: What's the purpose of the event? Who is the audience? What are you trying to achieve? Select event partners who can help support your vision and deliver creative solutions.

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