Similar to how the internet and smartphones have disrupted the way we interact, technology is having a significant influence on recent and emerging trends in the event industry.  That influence is showing no signs of slowing down and, more than ever, planners and industry need to take note to ensure they’re attuned to key developments and able to continue to add value and deliver on client expectations.

While the possibilities are now near limitless, the following have and will continue to become increasingly common in 2020.

1. True Personalisation

To most organizations, personalisation means making-up personas and then customizing the event based on them.  While that approach works better than guessing, it still leaves a huge gap between what consumers want and what event organisers think they want.

Fortunately, it is possible to fill that gap with technology and many conferences are doing it successfully.

An ambitious but increasingly common method involves offering attendees multiple ways to spend their time so they can build and tailor the event to their preferences. For instance, you could have multiple speakers in the same space and let the audience switch between speakers using dedicated headphones.

Personalised registration processes can help ensure marketing and even itineraries are curated to best suit and appeal to a delegate’s individual preferences and interests.

Applications that enable delegates to provide live feedback are also increasingly common.  Similarly, other platforms allow delegates and attendees to engage directly with speakers and each other, providing a means to submit questions, start discussion groups and network.

2. Sustainability

Climate change is one of the hottest topics (excuse the pun) around the world. In fact, consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of and sensitive to organistions environmental footprint and the trend toward sustainable events is almost certainly here to stay.

From digital invitations, carbon offsetting, paperless ticketing systems and biodegradable cutlery and bottles — you have many opportunities to make your event sustainable, and as a result, earn the trust and respect of your guests.

3. Special Menus

Food is a critical component of events and certainly one that, rightly or wrongly, will be a memorable component of your guests experience.  Failing to accommodate for those with special dietary requirements increases the pressure on organisers and the venue and can detract from the positive experience you’ve otherwise provided.

One of the easiest ways to keep on top of this is to include dietary questions in your registration form.  Given there are inevitably some who still fall through the cracks, we also always recommend our clients choose menu items that are gluten and/or dairy free by default.  This can help the catering team when the inevitable few people turn up that haven’t advised of allergies prior to the day.

4. Immersive Experiences

Clients and delegates almost always love and respond well to immersive experiences.  Technological developments mean these are, and will continue, to become more available, affordable and broader in scope.  Suitable ideas will vary depending on the event type but some ideas worth considering include:

  • Virtual reality tours, games and displays
  • Holograms
  • Networking bingo
  • Small group roundtables, discussion panels or Q&A’s with VIPs and speakers
  • Live performance by a band or entertainers

5. Live streaming and virtual tickets

Ever wanted to attend an international conference but didn’t have the budget? Or maybe your organisation runs an annual conference and is looking for a way to expand their offering?

Live streaming, webinars, podcasts, virtual tickets, downloadable videos and presentations are growing in their popularity and we see this increasing over the next year as technology continues to advance and delegates remain price and expense conscious.

If you are filming your event anyway, we encourage you to consider live streaming your next event as a means of expanding delegate reach and participation.