Conventions are a cornerstone of the meetings, incentives, and events industry, as they play a critical role as gatherings where people with shared interests come together to learn, network, and have fun. Unless you’ve been living under a rock though, you’ll note that the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the convention industry. With social distancing measures and restrictions on large gatherings, many conventions were previously canceled, postponed, or moved to online platforms. This has led to questions about the future of conventions – which, we’re happy to report by now, is thriving once again and looks promising indeed.

As a result, there are some trends and predictions that can be made. To begin with, it is likely that conventions will continue to be an important part of society, especially as more people become interested in niche topics and communities. These events offer a space for people to connect with others who share their passions and interests. As technology improves and becomes more accessible, the potential for virtual and hybrid gatherings is also increasing. This means that people will have more opportunities to participate in conventions from the comfort of their own homes, without having to travel or incur expenses.

Beyond this, the pandemic has also forced meeting and tradeshow organizers to rethink how they plan and execute events. Health and safety measures will continue to be a priority, even after the pandemic subsides. This means that conventions may incorporate more virtual elements, such as online exhibits and streaming events, to reduce the number of people in physical spaces. Convention centers and venues may also need to be redesigned to allow for better airflow, social distancing, and sanitation measures. In addition, the use of technology such as contactless check-in and registration may become more common.

On top of this, the business model of conventions may change as well. With the rise of virtual events, the cost of attending conventions may decrease, making them more accessible to people who previously could not afford to attend. This may also lead to more competition among service providers, as people will have more options to choose from. To stay competitive, events may need to offer unique experiences, such as access to exclusive content, meet and greets with celebrities, or hands-on workshops.

Sustainability is also fast becoming a watchword here. The pandemic has highlighted the impact of travel and large events on the environment. Promoters may look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint, such as using renewable energy sources, reducing waste, and promoting sustainable transportation options. In addition, the use of technology can help reduce the need for travel and paper-based materials, further reducing the environmental impact of live events.

Beyond this, inclusivity is also becoming a hot topic as well. Recent years have highlighted the disparities in access to healthcare, education, and technology. Event planners may need to take steps to ensure that their events are accessible to people from all backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses. This may include offering scholarships or reduced fees for low-income attendees, providing accommodations for people with disabilities, and offering translation services for non-English speakers.

So while the future of conventions is uncertain? It also will look radically different than what we see today.