By definition, a trend is a general direction in which something is developing or changing. Generally speaking, trends typically only last for a short amount of time until they either fizzle out, or become so mainstream that they’re no longer considered just a “trend”.
As technology advances and consumer interests/preferences change, new trends in the Event Industry emerge. This has always been and always will be the case, it’s the nature (and definition) of trends.
Year after year, we see new trends that impact all stakeholders within the event industry. From the event organizers themselves, to the event-attendees, everyone gets impacted in one way or another. For event organizers, these trends present both opportunities and challenges alike. Like anything new, there will always be the challenge of a learning curve and how to effectively utilize such trends and tools to better the outcome, reception and bottom line of your event. If done right and used in the right circumstances, the opportunities will speak for themselves.
However, without adapting, anticipating, and ‘trying’ these trends, you’ll never know. So if you’re looking to improve attendance, guest experience, and instill that feeling of FOMO, pay close attention!
Here are 5 event trends to be mindful of in 2018.
1 | Matinees and Early Start Times
This is something that we’ve been starting to take note of and hear a lot more about. It might just be a Canadian, or even an Ontario thing, but from what we’ve seen, Event Organizers are planning (some already hosting) events with earlier start times.
And for many good reasons.
The main reason being that not everyone can or even wants to start their Friday or Saturday night at 9 or even 10PM. Personally, I’m already tired by the time the show, gala or whatever it is I’m going out for has already started.
Because of this, a lot and I mean A LOT, of people don’t end up showing up to these events. And this is something that event organizers need to be very aware of.
Planning an earlier start to an event will actually allow you to tap into audiences that you might have been missing out on. On the other side, you’ll likely still end up attracting the same crowd, but it just means that they’ll actually stay at your event longer. The longer they’re at the event, usually means more money is being spent and a better overall experience… hopefully.
2 | Virtual and Augment Reality
Virtual reality and augmented reality are becoming more and more of a… wait for it… reality. As more experiential events surface, we’ve already been seeing moments of VR and/or AR introduced within these events, helping them stand out and provide that WOW factor.
Adding elements of AR and VR to your event helps them stand out, by providing and offering something different than what event-attendees have been used to in the past. Large galas, tradeshows and conferences have already been among the first types of events to include such elements and it’ll be interesting to see how far this goes.
As technology continues to advance, prices drop and accessibility increases, it’s only a matter of time before you see VR/AR at smaller scale events.
At the end of the day, it’s about adding value and wow-factors to your event that result in an incredible experience for anyone and everyone involved, especially guests.
3 | Co-Hosts and Collaborations
Not only is this smart and strategic, it just makes sense.
The great thing about collaborating with co-hosts and other event partners (provided expectations are clearly defined) is that it’s an immediate way to spread risk while leveraging one another’s networks.
Not only that, aligning yourselves strategically with co-hosts is an instant way to bring in added elements and value to your event. Everyone involved (as co-host and collaborators) should have their own unique “thing” that they can bring to the table that either streamlines the event logistics (backend stuff) or the guest-facing entertainment side. Ideally, both.
As an example, it’s very common to see local breweries and restaurants working together on small one-off collaborations to put together cool and unique social experiences. One party brings the drinks, one brings the food, both promote it to their networks and get great content out of it.
This is obviously one example at a small scale, but you get the point. I hope.
4 | Artificial Intelligence
Slowly but surely, we’ll start to see AI play a very big role in the event industry. This is all due to the massive amounts of innovations and collaborations we’re seeing across the industry, not only making Event Profs lives easier, but also their guests!
We’re already starting to see AI being implemented in concierge applications, deep learning, voice activation at events and support such as chatbots. Our favourite chatbot? That would have to be none other than Obie himself!
For more info about the rise of AI in the event industry, read this article by our friends over at EventMB.
5 | Personalization and Data
Event-goers, and end-consumers of any industry alike, want to feel as though products, services, and events (in this case) are created and marketed personally for them. At the very least, they want to feel as though the event organizers and marketers behind these productions (big or small) have gone the extra mile in making sure they understand their needs as an attendee.
As data becomes more abundant and the use of data continues to grow in importance, personalization is ever-becoming more and more prevalent. The challenge has been and continues to be understanding this data and knowing how to make use of it. Once marketers and event organizers are able to jump that hurdle, making personalized connections with attendees will become seamless.
Not sure where to start with personalization? Start off very small with some low-hanging fruit.
As an example, let’s use the case of ticket buyers for an upcoming event. Every time someone purchases a ticket for an event on Brüha, organizers have access to names and email addresses of these individuals… AKA data, which can be used for personalization. Take this data, names and email addresses in this case, and send out a personalized email on a weekly basis to new ticket buyers thanking them for registering and even asking them if they know of any friends who would also be interested in attending the same event. Will this work for your event? Truth be told I don’t have a clue, but if you aren’t experimenting and leveraging the data you have, you’ll never know.
Well, there you go! Those are our 5 event trends to be mindful of in 2018. If you haven’t used or considered any of them yet for your own events, give them a try and see how you can make the most of your next event.
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