Like the namesake of my hometown in Arizona, the conference-planning industry is still rising from the ashes of the pandemic. Anyone who has delivered in-person events has been monitoring the evolving trends as to how conferences are delivered during our “new normal.” In the advice industry alone, we’ve seen various innovations, including outdoor expositions, hybrid live and livestream programs, and fully on-demand programs. In-person events range from intimate, invite-only gatherings to large-scale conventions.
Some programs draw lots of attendees – like Schwab’s Impact conference, which re-surfaced last Fall after three years and a merger with TD Ameritrade. Others are still waiting for the rebound. According to a recent survey by the American Society of Association Executives, professional member conferences in 2022 experienced a 30-40% drop in attendance over 2019 numbers.
So, what does this mean for the future? Four trends seem evident: