Skip to main content

To say the event industry has been met with challenges over the last three years would be an understatement. But challenges come and go, and the industry continues to rise to these challenges and evolve. This year sees the industry continuing to put ideas and movements into action—from new event technology to greater inclusivity and sustainability.

As we head further into a new year, here are five corporate event trends to embrace in 2023:

More In-Person Events

While no one is saying goodbye to hybrid events (they’re definitely here to stay), virtual fatigue is a reality. And with the worst of the pandemic behind us, people want to be with people. The return to live events happened in 2022, but it’s expected to come back full-force in this year. According to the 2023 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, two-thirds of survey respondents expect in-person events to return to pre-pandemic levels, with the average cost per attendee expected to increase by 1.5% globally for small or simple meetings and up to 3% for conferences and tradeshows. Overall, the annual ICE Report found that event spending in the corporate sector is expected to increase by 83%, reported Event Industry News. While we have to take into account higher costs and inflation, it’s also indicative of a healthy, in-person industry.

The Event Carbon Footprint

Putting sustainable practices into reality isn’t new for the industry, but it’s an important component that has increasingly become more central to overall strategies. According to MeetGreen, a 1,000-person, three-day event creates 5,670 kilograms of discards, which is the weight of four compact cars. In 2023, it’s expected that planners will be tackling this with even more purpose and gravity. The 2023 Global Meetings and Events Forecast reported that 80% of survey respondents said their organizations take sustainability into account when planning meetings and events, with three-fourths of this group already reporting sustainable program strategies in place. Expectations are that levels of climate reporting on events will go up, as well as best sustainable practices, including choosing venues and destinations that promote sustainability, incorporating recycling into events, reducing the use of single-use products, giving out eco-friendly incentive gifts or swag bags, and working sustainable requirements into contracts.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is a direct result of greater awareness surrounding profound disparities in society as a whole—not just in events. The recent Global Meetings and Events Forecast reported that 87% of survey respondents said their organizations or clients strive to incorporate DE&I into their events. The industry has very purposefully embraced this movement and will continue to do so into 2023. We can look for leaders to weave DE&I into overall strategies, which includes hiring minority vendors and making events accessible (meaning closed captioning and ASL interpreters are present, implementing elevator and ramp access, and ensuring wheelchair-friendly routes). Providing space for people is also important—whether that means making sure wheelchairs have space on the floor or that there are gender-neutral restrooms present, inclusivity is key. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but ensuring that all attendees feel safe and heard is a critical step in the right direction.

Tech Focused

While technological advancements seem to happen lightning fast year after year, the pandemic brought about an explosion of event platforms and virtual tech that reimagined the face of events as we know them. After all, tech platforms were largely why the event industry was able to stay afloat during lockdowns and social distancing. According to BizBash, a Forrester Consulting study found that 57% of marketers increased their spending on event tech in 2022. In 2023, the focus is on automating registration, scheduling, and ultimately streamlining events. Also popular are in-event apps that boost engagement and promote personalized networking matches, as well as AI, virtual reality, and augmented reality capabilities for immersive environments. Event technology is moving forward every day and will continue to be leveraged in a big way in the corporate event and meeting world. The importance of event tech is threaded through other trends as well, with it taking center stage for organizations to tackle their sustainability initiatives by using tech to track emission data.

Creating Wellness

The well-being of employees and clients has been top of mind for the past couple of years and will continue to play a large role in strategy going forward. This means creating environments during events that promote comfort—including safe networking spaces for introverts, no more packed event schedules (and more time to explore and connect), accommodating for those who have embraced social distancing for the long haul, and creating breakout sessions dedicated to well-being. Similarly, incentive trips will balance plenty of time for relaxation with more focused team-building activities. Providing ways for your employees and event attendees to be healthier in mind and body not only shows you value them as people, but has been found to boost retention rates and engagement.

Planning to take your best employees on a vacation this year? Incentive Travel Trends for 2023 can help you choose a destination. And no matter what year it is, internal events are essential to corporate culture.

Take your event experience to the next level.

Call us at 800-290-0311.