Increasing evidence suggest what is changing in event planning. Here is a list of 9 of the most important ongoing transformations in the meeting industry.
Event planning is changing, mostly due to the introduction of technological innovation but also because of the evolution of the mentality and new values that the companies want to transmit to the public.
The planners are now requested to be more creative and to engage the audience.
But the new requests include also more specific factors that contribute to the creation of captivating and entertaining events. This is not a prediction, but changes already taking place, with different degrees of maturity. In this regard a planner should learn how to keep up with the times.
1. Events as community
Events are less and less seen as a simple two or three day gathering. Planners are now asked to create a community that starts before the beginning of the event and keeps living after its ending. The duration of the event is longer than it was in the past. Many planners are learning how to use technology in order to extent the “life cycle” of the event, but the real problem, how to organize contents, persists. Unfortunately, the main obstacle to the creation and the growth of a community is the lack of time, because planners must quickly move to their next event as soon as the previous one is over. However, this new trend is clear and thanks to technology they can find new strategies to manage these communities.
2. Local food and food design
Food is still a key moment of the event. In particular, the offer of local and peculiar food (seasonal, traditional or organic food) has become the forte of many locations and catering companies. A creative and appealing food presentation to match the “coolness” of the company is something every company has to consider. Food and beverage often become part of the setting. Just to give an example, food trucks and their smaller version, the adorable “Apecars”, have become quite common at corporate events.
3. App of the event for mobile devices
Apps for mobile devices dedicated to the event have become more and more popular. Many suppliers offer all kind of apps, with standard functionalities ideal for different events or with a set of customized options.
Every decent event should have its own app. But the real challenge is to ensure that the participants download them. On average 60% of the participants download the apps and only 10% of them actually use them. We have a long way to go before apps are universally adopted at meetings. Planners need to worry that the app truly matches the practical needs of the participants, improves their experience, is easy to use and gives a measurable ROI. The quality of the app will definitely be another judging criterion for the planners’ work.
4. End-to-end tools
The popularity of end-to-end planning tools is continually on the rise. These tools allow the planner to manage all aspects of the event using just a single device, increasing the efficiency and, at the same time, reducing technology spending. Up-to-date and competitive planners should definitely choose one of these tools and learn how to use them in their sleep.
5. Meaningful and evocative locations
The impersonal hotel, chosen only for the capacity of the room, will probably never disappear. Probably. In the meanwhile, more and more customers request meaningful locations with a personality, places that can express the concepts of the meeting and the company values. Or even location so unusual and unexpected that can generate the so-called “wow effect”. Awe and wonder. On the one hand, empty sheds and warehouses; on the other hand, country houses, picturesque villages, train stations. Unconventional locations that can really determine the success of the planner. A success based on the ability to find the less predictable and more meaningful location.
6. Smaller and more frequent events
In corporate world local and regional events are more and more frequent, at the expense of national and international events. Since travel costs and security concerns are a common problem, many planners are looking for closer locations and companies often request smaller and more frequents events. A self-respecting planner must be ready to meet the clients’ needs organizing serial events.
7. Wi-Fi everywhere
The phenomenon of apps for events goes hand in hand with a stable internet connection. But even without apps, it is normal for participants to constantly use their mobile devices. To sum up, an efficient Wi-Fi connection in the event spaces (restrooms included) and in the meeting rooms is vital: a venue without a powerful Wi-Fi connection is no longer acceptable. Hotels and congress centers are finally catching up, but the modernizing process is still too slow. A professional planner must be inflexible on this point: not only his reputation, but also the good name of the client is at stake.
8. New technologies: BLE and iBeacons
BLE stands for Bluetooth Low Energy, and iBeacon is the Apple version. They are indoor positioning systems allowing smartphone owners to interact with the environment and planners to track their movements, understand the flux of participants, the sessions they have taken part in, and so on. These small devices are based on proximity and can also provide contents when the user enter a specific area. The uses are endless and this kind of technology is already quite affordable. Planners who propose using them can really impress their clients, or can just sound crazy, as the case may be.
9. Big data and analytics
Events collect a huge amount of data. Data used to be collected after the event and analyzed several weeks later. Thanks to apps and SaaS (Software as a Service), planners are now able to immediately process data and act accordingly. Planners that master these technologies can examine the behavior and the feedback of the participants in real time and offer the client a much more useful and competitive service.