Tina Benson of Team Tactics outlines top event trends for 2016, including technology and emerging venues
The event industry has been an extremely exciting place to be over the last few years, and 2016 looks to be no different, with plenty of innovations lining up to expand and change the face of the industry:
Revenue re-think: 2015 saw continued growth in the demand for events, something which could easily seduce event-holders into taking a "little and often" approach. However, the actual revenue gained from these types of events has been steadily decreasing.
Instead, the revenue-generating events are now the larger, flagship events, and those that offer extra in terms of event innovation. These events seamlessly present value for money for attendees, as well as cost-effectiveness for the companies running them. This trend will continue in 2016.
Changing employee roles: What an event brings to delegates and attendees is, by definition, an experience. As different experiential events are developing all the time, the onus has firmly been put onto event managers and their staff to become more flexible in their roles and continue to develop new event experiences.
New technology: Technology will continue to play a major role in special events. Here are some key tools:
- The increasing use of mobile devices at events has promoted the use of networking, contact and attendee interaction apps as common and increasingly popular event resources. Couple this growing trend for revenue-generating "go large" events with attendees in large numbers, and these apps are starting to earn themselves a role in consolidating event communities and as well as offering attendees additional opportunities for interaction with the content and those delivering it.
And it’s not just attendees who benefit--those running the events also benefit from apps that ease administration chores, such as in-event apps for registration, signing up for workshops and seminars, booking seats and ordering refreshments.
- Video technology might sound old-school, but it’s currently the technology trend for events to merge video with other digital and social media. The trend set by YouTube and Instagram integration to bring online communities into events at the same time as the emerging practice of sharing in-house events with wider online communities offer exciting prospects for further development throughout 2016.
- The merge of marketing technologies with events is also a growing trend--as well as a challenge--for event marketers. While quality content is still king, the jewels in the marketing crown are inbound marketing techniques and in-event promotion.
Evaluating events The development of in-event technology and apps facilitates instant topic and event feedback and widens opportunities for vital and relevant evaluation of the success (or otherwise) of the constituent activities as well as the events as a whole. Technological tools that also analyze as well as collect feedback look set to put the "fill in the form before you leave" era of evaluation firmly in the past.
Versatile venues: Flexible venues that offer something extra--whether unusual, unexpected or scenic--bring an added sense of space and place to events and enhance the memorable aspects of an event. Just as "off the shelf" events won’t bring in the revenue in 2016, so too will "same old" venues fail to attract. State-of-the-art venues and stimulating (rather than stifling) environments will bring events to life.
And venues don't have to be large or long-established. Hot on the heels of the popular trend of pop-up retail and food outlets, pop-up events look set to establish themselves as part of the event industry repertoire.
Additionally, with WiFi an in-demand utility at events today, venues that incorporate this access seamlessly into their facilities, such as intuitive network sign-ups for mobile devices, look set to be in increasing demand.
Keynote know-how: Keynote speaking isn’t just about the presenter's personality or quality of content. Technology can now bring in virtual speakers not just to join events from wherever they are in the world, but to also interact fully with event content and participants.
Multi-sensory experiences: The latest, greatest trend in event experiences comes from incorporating activities, content, venues and environments that appeal to all five senses and allow attendees to fully immerse themselves in the event. Educational, training and team-building events can be particularly effective for offering experiential benefits when all senses are appealed to. These types of experiences enhance the chances not only of participant engagement, but also of creating memorable events--both of which mean marketing (and therefore revenue) success.
Tina Benson founded Team Tactics in 1995 having come from a sales and marketing background for various England and county cricketers. For two decades, Team Tactics has been a leading provider of unique corporate team and client events in and around London and the U.K.