With warmer weather arriving across the country and vaccine distribution underway, the corporate event planning space is ready for its comeback. But even so, the impact of the pandemic on the meetings industry will likely be felt for years to come. How corporate planning teams strategize, design and structure their future events and retreats will continue to evolve to meet the needs of our "new normal."
Event planning is evolving and as the industry pushes forward, these new areas bring opportunities for organizers to elevate their meetings. Below are four trends that can have a positive, lasting impression on a gathering and might become staples of the future.
It's time to move beyond the company-branded tote bag and pen. As planners rethink their approach to live events, they also have the opportunity to get more granular and elevate the meeting experience. Individualized menus, personalized mailers and better corporate swag have emerged from detail-oriented planners looking to make an immediate impression with their attendees. Smaller guests counts mean more of the budget can go towards these details across invites, menus, welcome bags and more.
With more hybrid events to accommodate remote teams, the need for software platforms that can help oversee and organize corporate event logistics will be key. Attention to timelines, checklists, budgets, vendor communications and more will be a top priority and often require more oversight when navigating the virtual event curve.
Spreadsheets and outdated software will no longer work. Tools that help organize the entire planning process, with all your events into one space, will become essential. Corporate planners are ready for the digitization of their everyday processes, and the SaaS platforms that can deliver on intuitive technologies to accommodate these needs will become industry standards.
Planners will likely see a heightened interest in corporate retreats from their executive teams after a year of working remotely. Luckily, hotels are making travel for corporate teams easier to plan for with pod-travel concierge programs. Such programs can include everything from private meals and socially distanced activities, which allow planners to bring their executives and leadership teams together for meaningful retreats under safe accommodations. After over a year of no travel and endless Zoom calls, pod programs for corporate retreats will be a welcomed invite.
For larger corporate team meet-ups, expect to see a renewed focus on wellness with activities centered on health and wellbeing. The pandemic took a toll on employees with the sudden transition to remote work, so planners will be tasked with identifying event activities, speakers, educational content and much more to support the mental health of their workforce. Warmer weather will also bring the opportunity to gather team members for time outdoors in the fresh air, while combining outdoor yoga, hiking and other activities with the company culture.
Katherine Frost is the founder and CEO of event planning software ORO, a tech platform for professional event planners to streamline their workflow for speed and productivity by consolidating all of the spreadsheets, binders and contracts into one easy-to-use tool.