As the events industry heads into 2022, Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre has shared its trends and predictions for the industry over the next 12 months.
The venue’s team says there is a strong demand for face-to-face engagement across the industry, even with the latest implemented Government restrictions. Each of the events the venue has organised or hosted over the Summer, three of which were new launches to the market, have received positive feedback from their attendees and partners, with the majority already selling tickets for their 2022 instalments and achieving an average exhibitor rebooking rate of 70%.
Resurgence of niche events
The venue also notes that events tackling specific, niche topics and actions such as social, economic, environmental and economic issues, rather than those with a broader outlook, are taking over the current event landscape.
Following the end of lockdown, the venue found the event landscape evolving into a diverse group of events, with niche focuses and programmes such as electric vehicles, space and classic cars.
Carlo Zoccali, venue director at Farnborough International, says: “With capacity restrictions in place for most of the reopening period, we have seen an influx of smaller events tackling niche subjects to enable more opportunities for quality networking and knowledge sharing, while we predict experience-led event features will be one of the biggest focuses for planners in 2022.”
The proportion of new visitors to the venue has increased to 79% in comparison to 2019/20’s 54%, suggesting that a range of different events has attracted a new audience.
Zoccali says brands are now utilising more tactical opportunities to support, network and engage with peers and their industries than ever before, focusing on a “360 approach” to the event experience.
He says: “From reviewing all of our key learnings and observations from last year, we have seen a huge demand of multifaceted reconnection opportunities, with the return of face-to-face and 360 engagement activities leading the way.”
To reach these brand objectives, the venue claims event planners are now looking for more non-traditional venues. Due to ongoing challenges such as international travel restrictions, social distancing and PPE requirements, the venue notes that visitors now have higher expectations of events and how they can deliver an immersive, themed experience.
With the needs of consumers and professionals becoming more specific, Farnborough International suggests that a marketing plan can no longer be reliant on advertising. According to the venue’s team, webinars, half-day conferences, social media networking groups, roundtables and post-event PR are all becoming part of the event organisation process to create a “holistic approach” to marketing and communications.