Tips and trends for association events in 2023

2023 Event Trends

Now that in-person events are back, what can your association expect in 2023?   

Here are some event planner survey results and expert tips to consider. 


The past few years have been topsy-turvy for event planners, to say the least. But now that in-person events have made a comeback, what can your association expect this year? 

Expo Logic by Community Brands recently conducted a survey of more than 200 event planners to gain insights into expectations and outlooks for events in 2023. Here are a few of the key takeaways from the survey:

  • On a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being most likely, 93 percent of event planners responded 8 or higher when asked how likely their organization would be to host an in-person event in 2023.
  • 93 percent of event planners indicated that their organization hosted an in-person event in 2022; of those, 20.6 percent hosted more than 10 in-person events in 2022.
  • 31.3 percent of event planners said they are concerned with safety procedures and looking to make additional investments to address those concerns.
  • Nearly 81 percent of event planners are using event technology. The top technologies event planners are most interested in using are event registration, event mobile app, virtual/hybrid event platforms, and attendee tracking technology. 

3 event trends for 2023 

Based on the event planner survey, as well as the Community Brands team’s work with association events, here are three event trends to watch in 2023: 

1. Event sponsors seeking higher ROI

Many organizations didn’t know what to expect from in-person-turned-virtual events in 2020 – 2022 when it came to generating new leads, nurturing client relationships, and increasing brand awareness. But many sponsors hung in there, willing to experiment a bit with virtual sponsorships.

As we return to in-person and hybrid events, things are changing. In today’s tighter economy, sponsors and exhibitors who stuck with you for virtual event sponsorships will now want to see higher ROI.

Some effective ways to demonstrate ROI to your event sponsors and exhibitors include:

  • Providing them with immediate access to their leads; for example, using lead retrieval apps.
  • Help them quantify the results of their investments by sharing metrics such as badge ad impressions, leads generated, and how many of their documents were downloaded through their event mobile app listing.
  • Offer exclusive opportunities for your long-term partners as a reward for their loyalty.

Tip: With NetForum event organizers can easily manage sponsors. NetForum also has the functionality sell and display sponsor ads on your eWeb platform (the member portal). Sponsors can also be listed on your event site. To take sponsor ROI even farther, our team can setup Core-apps or TripBuilder event apps that integrate with NetForum that both have multiple sponsorship monetization options.

2. Event attendees wanting more engaging experiences

As consumers become accustomed to more sophisticated customer experiences, your event attendees will expect engaging experiences at your events as well. Some things to consider:

  • Allow your event attendees to “choose their own adventure” by building the event agenda that works best for their title, role, and/or interests.
  • Use your in-person event to create content that attendees can experience later online. For example, use conversations from panel discussions to create a blog article or a paper that can be viewed for months to come.
  • Create more engaging networking activities that truly connect event attendees, versus simply gathering them in a room for cocktails and snacks. 
3. Event attendees expecting “touchless” experiences 

People might be back to shaking hands and hugging, but they’re also doing more handwashing and using more hand sanitizer than they were before 2020. Today, there is event technology to make going contactless at easier. For example, you can use event technology to provide:Event Technology

  • Contactless online check-in at the event
  • Lead retrieval for sponsors via a lead retrieval app
  • A mobile app that gives attendees and sponsors on-demand access to event information  

Tip: NetForum integrates with our Community Brands Expo Logic that offers lead retrieval on a mobile app, contactless badge-on-demand printing for onsite check-in, and total exhibition management from sponsor upsells, to exhibit floor planning, to matchmaking and appointments. NetForum can take your annual event to the next level by partnering with Expo Logic and our highly rated mobile apps.

Discover more  

If you need Association Management Software that can help you manage your total events needs, discover more about NetForum today.

Get strategies to increase attendance and ROI at your next event.

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