Ribbit SiFi summit with white tents in a consecutive line | PartySlate
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Corporate Summits in 2022: New Trends for a New Era

Ribbit SiFi summit with white tents in a consecutive line | PartySlate

The experts agree: Corporate summits in 2022 must adapt to the changing times. PartySlate asked four experienced corporate planners and event professionals for insight into upcoming conference trends. With a continued focus on safety precautions, and a renewed interest in guest experience, summits will reach new creative heights.

Tori Soper, Owner and Lead Photographer of Tori Soper Photography, tells us, “The most well-produced and successful events take every opportunity to collect feedback from attendees and event partners.” Corporate hosts and vendors are listening and growing — with wow-worthy results. Keep reading to discover what’s in store for 2022. It’s time to gather, collaborate, and achieve new goals. 

1. Renewed Attention to the Attendee’s Experience

Soper of Tori Soper Photography, tells us, “Over the past year, as some corporate conferences have returned to in-person events, I have seen a renewed concentration on the attendees’ experience — including more time in between sessions for networking, comfortable spaces for lounging, and private areas for networking.” 

Kristin Quinn, Chief Growth Officer of Gravel Experiential, adds, “We will need to continue to focus on the purpose of the event and ensure attendees are getting the most out of the time spent there. Think smaller, more personalized interactions that focus on bringing people and teams together in meaningful ways.” 

Rachel Axelrod, Founder of Axelrod Consulting, agrees. “For ‘in-person’ corporate summits, they will be much more intimate, likely organized by smaller groups (i.e., by department or by office location).”

photographer: Tori Soper Photography

Time in Between Sessions for Networking

Expect more breakout sessions for networking. These sessions are not only beneficial for fostering new and on-going relationships, but they also reduce burn-out mode by giving attendees small breaks throughout the day. 

photographer: Filip Wolak

Private Areas for Networking

Rethink networking areas with ultra-comfy seating that invites guests to linger over conversations. Moreover, break-out lounge areas create a networking space that is solely devoted to community and forging stronger relationships.

Three attendees laugh in front of coned structure at micro retreat in Park City, Utah | PartySlate
photographer: Anna Boynton

Smaller, More Personalized Interactions

With a new focus on the guest experience, summits are getting smaller. Micro retreats are increasingly popular, as they create new opportunities for guest engagement. Expect immersive activities that range from team-building exercises to pure recreation. With smaller guest counts, it’s also easier to elevate swag. Instead of name tag necklaces and branded water bottles, think curated gift boxes and thoughtful merchandise. 

2. Increased Protective Measures

Axelrod of Axelrod Consulting, shares, “Depending on how strict the company’s COVID-19 protocols are, protective measures will become the norm. For instance, mask wearing is not going away any time soon, especially given the highly contagious Omicron variant. Other stricter requirements — such as on-site testing, showing vaccine cards, and outdoor options — will become standard.”

To learn more about how to successfully incorporate event screening and testing into your corporate event, we recommend the following articles:

3. Catering Stations Head Outdoors

With an aim to keep guests safe, summits and conferences are taking catering stations outdoors. Oona Murley, Special Events Marketing Coordinator for New-York Historical Society, shares, “We’ve recently seen corporations hosting their conferences in our building, but making great use of our Outdoor Courtyard, and taking boxed lunches to our neighboring Central Park.”

Tented dining area with purple tablescapes at New-York Historical Society | PartySlate
photo courtesy of: New-York Historical Society

Weather-Proof Tenting

Come or rain shine, tented spaces offer a beautiful space for outdoor dining. Best of all, tenting offers unique opportunities for branding and on-theme décor. 

Outdoor dining at private micro retreat in Park City, Utah | PartySlate
photographer: Anna Boynton

Al Fresco Dining

Depending on season and location, conferences may embrace full-on al fresco dining options. After all, well-fed guests are happy guests. We also love how these tables double as workspaces at this micro-retreat.

4. Remote Options

Quinn of Gravel Experiential, says, “Corporate events will have to remain flexible in 2022 and beyond. Events will require continued flexibility from the planners, clients, vendors, and venues. We will need to continue to offer in-person and remote options for attendees without losing sight of the purpose and strategic vision for the event.” 

But that’s not all. Axelrod of Axelrod Consulting assures us, “Organizers will need to be much more creative to combat the burnout most people feel from the overload of Zoom conferences that we have all endured over the last two years. For example, event boxes delivered to attendees’ homes will need to be “over the top” to impress and inspire people to forget they are in sweatpants watching a screen and not interacting with clients and co-workers.”

A Safe Haven Foundation and the Small Business Advocacy Council virtual event produced by Axelrod Consulting | PartySlate
photographer: Greg Inda

Virtual Options With New Technologies

Hybrid and virtual events require new skill sets that draw heavily on technology and communication. In addition to acquiring a knowledgeable A/V and tech team, it’s essential to enlist the help of an experienced event production firm. The right vendors will ensure your virtual event is successful on all fronts.

See PartySlate’s Ultimate Virtual Event Checklist for a simple guide on how to host a successful virtual event.

Curated gift box from Ribbit SiFi conference | PartySlate
photographer: Vanessa Tierney Photography

Curated Event Boxes

Joining a Zoom call will never be the same as connecting at an in-person event. In an effort to make guests feel both appreciated and engaged, send them curated event boxes with thoughtful favors. This is also a great opportunity for creative branding.

See Some of Our Favorite Corporate Summits & Conferences on PartySlate

Neon orange lounge seating with foliage backdrop at Ribbit SiFi conference | PartySlate
photographer: Vanessa Tierney Photography

Ribbit SiFi Summit

Sausalito, CA

With 15 events over 4 days, the Ribbit SiFi Summit wowed from start to finish. Guests were engaged pre-event with pre-mailed attendee booklets, custom hotel key cards, and branded property maps. We also love how the conference embraced a nature and wellness theme throughout the microsite, featuring a celebrity yoga trainer, cycling, bootcamp, and more.

flower mart photo op at bareMinerals regional conference | PartySlate
photo courtesy of: East of Ellie, an events co.

bareMinerals Regional Conference

New York, NY

We love how this bareMinerals Regional Conference celebrated sustainability with reusable lunch boxes, organic snacks, and natural rock seat assignments. Best of all, bareMinerals partnered with Repeat Roses in an effort to give back. All of the florals from the ‘flower market’ photo op were repurposed into 13 arrangements. They were then sent to the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Jerome L. Greene Family Center to further spread joy. Sustainable corporate practices have never looked so beautiful.

photo courtesy of: Kehoe Designs

Starcom Annual Summit

Chicago, IL

You can expect a media company that aims to “close the gap between what people want and what brands need” to throw an epic corporate summit. Every aspect of this Starcom summit inspires us with its creative designs. Even waiting in line becomes an immersive experience with vibrant lighting and dazzling décor. We especially love how the giant space features unique vignettes for a greater sense of intimacy while networking.

People Also Ask…

What do you do at a summit?

Unlike a conference, corporate summits are reserved for top-level executives within an industry. Summits often last for several days — with keynote speakers, networking opportunities, breakout sessions, and immersive entertainment.

How do you organize a business summit?

Because summits require extensive organization and planning, we highly recommend enlisting the help of a corporate planner or event agency. Your planner will not only curate an engaging experience, but will also handle logistics such as accommodations, catering, and event flow.

Where can I find a venue for my corporate summit?

Head to PartySlate’s curated venue directory to find top venues in any location. Make sure to use the filters to narrow your search by event type, venue type, amenities, and more. You can also head to PartySlate’s vendor directory to find event planners, a/v companies, caterers, and more for your corporate summit.

Meet the Contributors

Tori Soper, Owner and Lead Photographer of Tori Soper Photography | PartySlate

Tori Soper Photography

Chicago, IL

Tori Soper, Owner and Lead Photographer of Tori Soper Photography, specializes in corporate event photography for Fortune 500 companies, national chains, small businesses, and non-for-profits. Clients love her real-time social media postings and fast-turnaround time.

Oona Murley, Special Events Marketing Coordinator for New-York Historical Society | PartySlate

New-York Historical Society

New York, NY

Oona Murley is the Special Events Marketing Coordinator for New-York Historical Society. New-York Historical Society, founded in 1804, brings sophistication to any celebration. With several unique event spaces, this cultural institution serves as a gorgeous backdrop for everything from weddings to galas and corporate events.

Kristin Quinn is the Chief Growth Officier for Gravel Experiential | PartySlate

Gravel Experiential

Chicago, IL

Kristin Quinn is the Chief Growth Officier for Gravel Experiential. This premier boutique event agency brings their expertise to corporate events across the globe. Their specialities include everything from employee parties and retreats to brand activations and mobile tours.

Rachel Axelrod, Founder of Axelrod Consulting | PartySlate

Axelrod Consulting

Chicago, IL

Rachel Axelrod, founder of Axelrod Consulting, brings years of experience as both a litigator and event production founder to conferences and intellectual events. Axelrod uses a collaborative approach, along with prolific problem-solving skills, to create dynamic events across the Midwest.