It’s that time of year again. The time we all start to look forward and predict what will become THE NEXT BIG THING in the world of event management. Of course, without a crystal ball (or time-machine), none of us knows just what’s around the corner. But, with a little foresight and years of expertise in this fast-moving industry, we reckon we have what it takes to identify the key trends you’ll need to know about over the next 12 months.
1.Integrated social media
Yes we know social media isn’t new, but the truth is, while there has been lots of pontificating about how great social media is when it comes to events, so far it has been drastically underused, and, in many cases incorrectly managed.
However, with the social platforms themselves upping their game when it comes to event functionality, even the most reluctant of event profs must get on board. So, if you haven’t yet thought about using live streaming, stories, or geofilters at your corporate events, now is the time to start.
2. NOT jumping on every bandwagon
Quirky technology is always an attention grabber, but even the most exciting new tools aren't going to deliver results without first considering what you are trying to do, and how they are going to help you to do that.
For example, this year, if you didn’t hear about Pokémon GO then you were probably living under a rock. The big trend in mobile gaming, the popularity of Pokémon GO inspired some in the industry to immediately try and capitalise on the trend and introduce the location-based game into their events. However, the real lessons event professionals should be learning from Pokémon Go is that context is everything.
In fact, to be of any practical use, technology must be supportive of your wider event aims, not a distraction. In 2017, we’d like to see less focus on tech for tech's sake, and more considered integration to help event organisers and attendees meet their objectives.
Of course, this doesn’t mean we don’t see a big future for mobile apps and gamification. If fact, interactive mobile devices can encourage attendees to achieve event related goals; be that networking with particular people, live Q&A sessions, checking into a certain number of sessions, and/or engaging with exhibitors. And that’s very exciting!
“Mobile apps contribute to the creative and innovative elements that meeting owners are increasingly looking for in their meetings.”
American Express, 2017 Global Meetings and Events Forecast
3. Target driven events
In 2017, organisations are likely to have to have to work harder than ever to stay within their budget constraints. For many, the obvious answer to this challenge will be to hold fewer or small events. However, savvy businesses will be looking at ways to hold more impactful events, with more targeted attendee lists and established objectives.
“As meeting owners and planners work with short timelines, tight budgets, increasing compliance requirements and an ever-changing meetings landscape, meetings professionals agree that thinking strategically with regards to meetings and events is more crucial than ever.”
American Express, 2017 Global Meetings and Events Forecast
Whether you’re organising a conference, award show, teambuilding event, or roadshow you have to know what you want to achieve, and who you are talking to. Without establishing the purpose of your event, there’s a real danger that any benefits will be short-term and easily lost. And without set objectives, it’s impossible to measure whether or not any event is successful.
If this all sounds complicated, the right event management partner can help you to adopt a more strategic approach to your events – from shaping your agenda, to theming and staging, to finding the right messages. So, while you might think it’s cheaper to do everything by yourself, expert support could prove invaluable; and generate that all important ROI.
4. Data and advanced event marketing automation
In 2017, data integration and marketing automation will be key to successful events; helping you to maximise attendance, engagement, and leads (where needed). It can also help you to communicate with attendees post-event.
With state-of-the-art technology making it possible to collect and analyse data from a plethora of sources, at the very least you should ensure that you're using a registration platform that combines advanced automation and data registration tools. Of course at Apex, our ultra-modern event registration platform does all this and more!
5. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
AR and VR are being used to create multi-sensory, immersive experiences that have the potential to change the world of events forever.
While immersive technology has been around for some years, historically it’s only the big brands that have had the budget to deploy it. However, as with most tech, the better it gets, the more accessible it becomes, and we predict that we’ll all start to see VR creeping into mainstream events over the next 12 months.
Of course, when it comes to event tech, there are even newer developments that have gone from science fiction to science fact. For example, facial recognition software, biometrics, and sentiment analysis are being used by some of the world’s biggest players to measure attendee mood, engagement, and demographics. But we think it highly unlikely that such advanced technology will be adopted by the mainstream just yet.
However, what all event profs must be doing in 2017 is creating an experience; getting attendees to form a connection with your business while building deeper relationships. And, what all of these five trends have in common is the ability to do just that; creating more targeted, more strategic, more enjoyable, and more engaging events.
At Apex, we understand the immense effort that goes into preparing for events, and we work with you to help reach your goals and achieve a truly positive experience. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help boost attendance and make your events a success, contact us today to find out more or give us a call today on + 44 (0)1625 429370 to discuss your requirements in more depth.