Event Industry Trends That Weren't Terrible in 2021

There was this brief, beautiful, shiny moment in June of 2021 that felt like things could be heading into what we all used to know as "normal." Enter: The Delta Variant. And just like that, the dream of back-to-business-as-usual moved out of reach. However, it wasn't all terrible. Ever flexible, event industry personnel dug in and made the best of it. Again. Here are a few of 2021's not-awful highlights.

Heading Back to Work

Lay-offs and furloughs in the industry dropped, fewer businesses were forced to close permanently, and the industry is recovering at a gradual pace (which is better being completely stalled!) 35% of the event professionals who responded to the survey said they've experienced no negative impact from COVID in 2021, up from 33% in 2020.

Source: Event Manager Blog's State of the Event Industry 2021 report

Virtual Events Are Still Hot

According to a survey conducted by video solutions provider Kaltura, 48% of companies polled plan to host more virtual events in 2022, citing convenience, audience enjoyment, cost, and good content. As we've refined the processes for launching effective virtual events, organizers have found they are easier to produce, offering simplified logistics, cost-effectiveness, and flexibility. Attendees agree, citing consistent and enjoyable content, convenience, and cost savings as well. Virtual events offer organizers the kind of scale, reach, and longevity through on-demand views that are difficult to achieve with their in-person counterparts.


As we saw in 2020, virtual events became a lifeline for connection during quarantine, but as we moved forward into 2021, the question was: "How can we produce virtual events and generate revenue from them?” As Event Manager Blog's State of the Event Industry 2021 Report revealed, the monetization of virtual events increased in 2021, with the biggest revenue source coming in from sponsorships (39%), ticket sales (16%), and exhibitor participation (10%). While still challenging, the significant increase may demonstrate that sponsors see growing value in virtual events. 


Once online events and classes settled into a regular day-to-day standard of communication and connection, organizers and educators reported seeing an increase in participation from people and communities previously left behind due to individual circumstances that hindered their access to in-person events and classrooms. The increase was significant enough to inspire an on-going commitment to designing events and coursework as more inclusive experiences for everyone. 

Returning to In-Person Events

We had all hoped that our in-person events would be back in full swing by now, but COVID surges forced us to slow down and rethink our strategies. That said, as the vaccine continues to roll out to the wider population, optimism surrounding the possibility of returning to hosting in-person events rose; 32% of those event industry professionals surveyed predicted they would be hosting in-person events in the first half of 2022, and a full 63% anticipate offering hybrid experiences for attendees.

Here's to 2022!

Yes, 2021 was bumpy, to say the least. But as with most challenges we encounter, the tougher times can actually help prepare us for good times when we carry the skills and perspective gained into 2022 and beyond. I'm feeling hopeful. Are you?

EventBuilder's End-to-End Solutions

Whether you're producing virtual, hybrid, or in-person events, we have the products and services you need to make them all stand out. Learn more about our software suite, or if you're ready to hand off logistics and event management to focus on developing fantastic content, schedule a consultationExternal Link: Contact Us to Book a Consultation. with us today!