After nearly three years in which employers and employees alike were concerned about in-person events, 2023 is the year in which those events will come back in a big way. According to the American Express 2023 Global Events and Meetings Forecast, “respondents are “very optimistic” about the future: two-thirds expect that the number of in-person events will return to pre-pandemic levels within one to two years.”
Corporations are seeing the need to bring a dispersed or hybrid workforce together to cast vision and ensure that everyone is on the same page. “Bringing staff together for training and team building is no longer optional with a dispersed workforce. Companies now recognize the vital role in-person meetings play in strengthening culture, onboarding staff, increasing employee engagement, and communicating corporate values and goals,” reports American Express.
Employers are discovering that the hybrid or online event isn’t achieving what an in-person event can. A survey from BlueJeans and Forrester Consulting of 200 North America-based marketing event decision-makers found that “71% say that it’s difficult to make virtual events accurately mimic the IRL experience, with 2 in 3 (67%) feeling it’s difficult to articulate a brand narrative through virtual events.”
What do you need to focus on as you plan for events in 2023? Here, we’ll look at the trends that are shaping events this new year. We’ll discuss the importance of creating various experiences within one place, emphasizing sustainability and inclusiveness, and leveraging technology to combine virtual and in-person event styles.
Create Multiple Experiences in One Place
The new corporate event is more than a large meeting in a cavernous auditorium. Planning now centers on meeting the expectations of attendees, and that includes creating multiple experiences for the same event.
“Face-to-face meetings, in particular, are seeing a shift in how attendee wellbeing is addressed: instead of packing schedules with activities from early morning to the late evening, planners are recognizing that not everyone can or wants to sustain such a high level of activity,” reports American Express.
Today’s events aren’t long sessions where attendees sit and listen to speakers. Instead, you should create meaningful experiences and opportunities for attendees to engage with their peers. Personalization is the buzzword, and this requires you to be intentional about how you design the space. Make sure that your event venue is large enough to handle a larger number of attendees with multiple experiences throughout.
Space planning tools can help you see all the possibilities in your event venue. CORT Events has the tools that you need to help map out your space for maximum benefit. Translate your vision from virtual to reality with a suite of complimentary, interactive planning tools and the expertise of your CORT Events curator.
You can even start with a ready-made package like the Endless Low Back Curve Sofa package and choose other colors, patterns, and textures to incorporate into other spaces around the event space, creating a cohesive feel throughout the event. CORT gives you all the tools and choices that help you facilitate design and planning for all types of event spaces.
Plan with Sustainability in Mind
The emphasis on sustainability is more than a fad. It will continue to grow well into 2023 and beyond. Sustainability should take a front seat when it comes to planning your events this new year. At large-scale events with a lot of event attendees, it’s important to consider the environmental impact.
Planning a sustainable event is easier than you think if you follow a few simple steps. Opt for renting furniture and decor rather than purchasing items you can’t or won’t reuse. If possible, hold your event in a LEED-certified venue to ensure that it is committed to the same environmental responsibilities as your organization. Also, consider working with local catering vendors to avoid food transport issues and minimize waste. Along with these tips, you can also choose biodegradable or reusable materials for food and drink as well as utilize digital tools for branding, invitations, and signage to lower paper waste.
Renting furniture and decor doesn’t mean that you have to give up personalization and customization in the name of sustainability. CORT has an impressive collection of chairs, tables, drapes, and LED lighting that allow you to maintain an up-to-date style without sacrificing sustainability.
Focus on DEI
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is another movement that, such as sustainability, will factor into your event planning from the earliest stages. Removing barriers to access and ensuring that everyone feels welcomed and included are crucial to every step of your event plan.
Asking questions of your attendees before the event and at registration increases the opportunity to plan for ways to meet their individual needs. “With the right set of questions, you can find out what’s important to your attendees, what they need to feel included, and how you can plan for things you might not have considered,” writes Hope Swedeen at Cvent.
Allow attendees to share their pronouns and check in with attendees throughout the event to make sure that their needs are being met. Give people a choice in what activities they want to participate in based on their learning styles and plan your space to accommodate different types of experiences for everyone. Build culturally responsive topics and a diverse panel of speakers and facilitators into your programming to ensure that the content is relevant and engaging to the audience.
Leveraging Technology to Combine Event Styles
One of the best things about a modern corporate event is that you can take advantage of technology in many ways. There are plenty of benefits to technology that also help with some of the initiatives we discussed above. Technology helps minimize waste, which is beneficial to the environment, and it helps bridge the gaps between people, ensuring that everybody is included.
A study from Demand Gen Report demonstrates that “57% of respondents said they would rather attend an in-person version of a hybrid event than the virtual version.” Some employees cannot or will not attend, so consider keeping some hybrid option for those who are unable or unwilling to show up in person.
You can even take the technological conventions that emerged during the pandemic and its virtual event era and leverage them today. Digital invitations are environmentally friendly and allow you to collect information for DEI purposes as well. They also allow for streamlined communication about the event before, during, and after.
Technology also allows you to create immersive, shared experiences between event attendees. Innovations like virtual reality, holograms, and digital photo booths provide authentic opportunities for people to connect over a shared experience.
Design Your 2023 Events with Confidence
As in-person events come back in full force, we’ve learned that there are certain trends that you need to bear in mind as you plan for 2023. Be sure to design your event space to create multiple experiences in one place, prepare with sustainability efforts in mind, ensure that everyone is included and seen, and put technology to work to your advantage.
It’s easier and more rewarding to plan when you have the right partner. CORT Events provides furniture rental options and support in planning and coordinating corporate events to meet your specific needs for planning events in 2023. CORT is more than a place to rent furniture and decor. It’s a source of creative ideas and innovation that can help you accomplish your objectives for any event.
CORT also makes things easier for you as the event nears with setup, delivery, and teardown out of your hands. See what CORT Events can do to help you make your events successful and memorable in 2023.