The Fate of Events: An Event Tech Prediction for 2022 and Beyond
Where are we now and where are we going? Twenty-two months into a global pandemic (it’s endemic now, but I digress), event planners around the globe are still scratching their heads and wishing for clarity. Even the Grammy’s had to postpone indefinitely.
A year ago, I wrote that live events would come back with a vengeance. But I'm not a scientist, so I didn't anticipate the virus mutating. My prediction was accurate before Delta, but given the litany of present and future mutations, the timeline is murky.
That said, many events have occurred despite the virus. Reflecting on the structure of those events can help us predict what will happen in the future. With that in mind, what can we expect at events in 2022 and beyond?
One of the biggest trends we're seeing is venues requiring health passports in the form of vaccination cards or proof of a negative test; those requirements are likely to stick around for a while. I would love to see this pushed further to include proof of natural immunity. Over 1,000 colleges and universities currently require all residential students to be vaccinated. Stadiums and indoor venues are following suit for sporting events, requiring vax cards.
Interestingly, the push for proof is not primarily driven by the government, but by corporations. While some locales have vaccine mandates, for the most part, the private sector is leading the charge. That's significant to note, because it means we won't have a consistent nationwide policy.
This particular development concerns me. Policies like health passports seem to work in everyone’s best interest by providing protection and reassurance while enabling people to come together. But sometimes, they have an unintended consequence: the people who need something most can't get it. Those who are older and more concerned with privacy—including hesitancy in sharing their medical information—may bow out of in-person events. As a result, they’ll find themselves with less access to high-quality experiences, knowledge sharing, and networking.
As we head into 2022, we are craving the opportunity to gather and socialize but a litany of variables continue to make the likelihood of in-person attendance unpredictable. Hybrid events offer an inclusive solution so everyone can participate in the event. Easier said than done, but my 2022 and beyond prediction is that out of necessity, #EventTech will continue to improve hybrid event facilitation and engagement.