Top 10 Event Management Trends for 2019
2019 will be a big year for event planning as many of the long talked about event planning trends will soon be within our reach. Smartphones have more capabilities and connections to our lives, event tech is becoming more reasonably priced and targeted to individual needs, and tech that used virtual and augmented reality was on many people’s gift-giving lists this year. The year 2019 is almost upon us. How will the events industry fare this year, and what trends will rule the roost when it comes to event planners’ priorities? Let’s take a look at these trends and how you can ride their waves successfully.
Your Audience Craves Authenticity
Despite the increasing number of events held yearly, many still feel like copycats of other successful conferences. These events fail to establish their own identity, relying instead on mimicking what made others successful
This is no longer going to fly this 2019. Authenticity is important for immersion, but that only comes about when the event’s purpose is clear. It’s not just about plastering your brand all over the place, but also proving your expertise in the industry.
Authenticity involves making the right decisions every step of the way. Are we choosing sponsors that match our value? Do our topics reflect our event’s purpose and does it resonate with our audience? Do our speakers and influences reflect our brand well?
Infusing Events With Hands-On Experiences
Interactivity during events isn’t limited to digital experiences. Workshops are fast becoming the preferred activity for many conferences and meetings. Attendees want to experience, not just witness, whatever the event is about.
Instead of long-winded speeches, short talks are combined with activities that let the audience learn first-hand how to apply what they learned. Hands-on experiences have the advantage of adding extreme value to learning, while also aiding in the stress reduction of the attendees. To facilitate an even deeper level of immersion, make sure your sessions have definite time frames and tangible incentives.
If you are considering adding workshops to your events, keep in mind to choose the appropriate venue that allows people to move freely to facilitate interaction. Also, add some budget to cover the logistics of the activities, both in time and money.
Brain Dates: Networking 2.0
Aside from the traditional conference format and the more immersive workshops, another event format is taking center stage: “brain dates”, one-on-one meetings that foster a new level of knowledge exchange.
Usually, the event organizer facilitates the brain date, asking participants both to fill out what knowledge they have to share as well as the knowledge they want to gain. It sidesteps the hustle involved when networking, letting pairs create deeper connections with each other. Aside from exchanging knowledge, brain dates are also a way to gain new contacts and customers.
It’s been picking up speed because of its innovative format for learning and teaching, satisfying the thirst for knowledge exchange without having to spend time and money in a huge event. In the same vein, brain dates are also fast becoming an event within an event, with large conferences like C2 Montreal initiating brain date sessions.
Connect with a Greater Number of People Through App Interpreters
Electronic translators aren’t new for 2019 but the technology has undergone some much-needed maturation. These apps are now reliable enough to offer a positive experience for event attendees and help bridge some of the previously-existing communication gaps. Traverse the communication gap:
- Use remote translation services. Finding local translators isn’t always easy. With this type of technology, translators could be available remotely or through an app giving your attendees a good communication experience regardless of time and where they are at your event.
- Save money using remote translation services. Apps don’t have to be paid hourly, for travel, or incidentals.
- Use subject matter experts regardless of their knowledge of the language that most of your attendees speak. This frees up the selection process to find the person who knows the most without sacrificing attendee experience or understanding.
Putting Chatbots to Work
It’s estimated that by Q3 of 2017, Amazon alone had sold over 20-million Alexa units, not factoring in non-Echo smart speakers with Alexa built in.
Why do you care?
If your attendees are using voice assistants at home, you can bet it’s become their new normal. That means you want to be covered at your next event.
Harness the power of chat for a better response:
- Design a system to answer questions with chat. It’s faster for attendees and won’t tie up your staff with the same old “where is the restroom” type question.
- Use chatbots for exit surveys. They are much more adept at matching questions with answers and using “if, then” pathways for more meaningful information gathering. Plus they’re fun for your audience.
- Employ chatbots to assist attendees on next steps. Voice assistants have become wildly popular because they’re easy and enjoyable to use and they act as our own personal attendant. They can remind us of engagements as well as tasks. Use chatbots to tell attendees if their silent auction bid was trumped or what their next session is and where it’s located.
Win Over New Attendees and Larger Audiences with Influence Marketing Tech
There are a lot of marketers doing influencer marketing wrong. They understand the importance of it and how suggestions from a tribe have greater conversions but they fail to understand the importance of the approach. Propositioning a complete stranger and asking for a favor will undoubtedly yield horrendous results.
But how do you develop those relationships over time? How do you scale for it and make it worth your while? Is there an efficient way to approach it. There is with tech.
Build valuable relationships with influencers:
- Look past numbers. The number of followers means very little if the said influencer can’t motivate their tribe into action. Look for a high interaction ratio, not just audience numbers.
- Approach the midrange of influencers. Most marketers look at the same A-listers as someone to target for their marketing efforts. While these names are well-known, they are often more difficult to approach and win over. Midrange influencers still have adequate-sized followings and you won’t have to hurdle their gatekeepers to get their attention.
- Look at influencers who are already among your supporters. Those are much easier sells.
Roll Out the Red Carpet and Create VIP Experiences
No one wants to be a number and this preference is becoming more pronounced with tech. Voice assistants make us feel like royalty. Few people are ready to give up the personalization we’ve gotten used to in our everyday lives at an event. But are you using personalization to impress and retain without sacrificing the needs of the larger group?
Create meaningful VIP experiences:
- Personalize based on type. Vendors, sponsors, attendees, and the like should all get their own set of communications and drip marketing. Tech is making this much easier by correlating data and sorting before sending.
- Offer specials to “frequent flyers.” Reward loyal attendees by creating automatic communications and available discounts for those who have attended in the past. Ensure your communications have a familiar feel so recipients feel like you’re sending them to a friend, not a stranger.
- Offer exclusive VIP experiences for those who qualify. Analyze data to track what makes someone a successful attendee. What have they been a part of? Reward those who perform those activities and find ways to encourage those who haven’t through drip marketing and “if, then” scenarios.
Bolster Guest Management and Experience with Facial Recognition
Home tech is influencing event tech. Just as in the case of voice search, we’re likely to see facial recognition from devices like Apple spill over into the event industry. The ramifications of this are extraordinary but the processing time is still being fine-tuned. Still, it’s something we all should be watching. Ultimately, we’ll learn how to… Increase efficiency with facial recognition:
- Check-in and registration become much quicker with this tech. Some theme parks are already using this technology. It’s also more secure.
- Ensure greater safety by using facial recognition to spot people on known security lists.
- Improve your social media reach by using facial recognition in tagging people in photos from your event.
Play Up Group Tech Experiences
Another hot trend is using tech to create social experiences out of what was previously alone time. Friends are watching movies together from thousands of miles away. They’re competing with one another on video games across continents. This has some fantastic implications for your event attendees and those who are following the excitement at home. They no longer have to be mere voyeurs but can join in. Link up people online for stronger connections:
- Use live 360-degree video (what many refer to as VR) to connect remote audiences. Give them the opportunity to attend an event together in order to bolster buying online-only tickets.
- Create content for sharing. YouTubers make a living out of commentary on videos. Their commentary becomes additional content and a way to enjoy a video or event. You can use industry influencers for play-by-play commentary on your events, creating a secondary event (and additional content) in the process.
- Develop tracks for niche interests at your event. With a virtual ticket and a paired up “host,” guests could experience inside tracks in a way much different than in prior events. They could attend meetups and the hallway track by being able to select from in-person led experiences not just watching sessions.
Standing Out With Stage Design
What’s the first thing that really holds your attendees’ attention while in your event? The stage, of course! Modern imaging techniques such as 3D projection and the creative use of lighting will remain in the spotlight this 2019. But this doesn’t mean simple old staples will be nudged out. Foam letters and cardboard backdrops are still effective when you want something eye-popping on the cheap.
Expect more clear-cut themes, which will in turn influence stage design. The ideal stage design is one that engages the senses, not just the eyes. Of course, the design should clearly reflect your stated goals for the event.
For example, you can incorporate modular stages into your event, mixing and matching them to match the mood or theme of the presentation. Aside from this, you can also use color and lighting to reinforce themes, changing the lighting to match the topic of the session.
Furniture That’s Both Social and Empowering
By empowering, we mean it gives you power for your devices. We all carry our devices around with us and we all have that fear of draining our battery. After all, how can you rideshare if your phone’s dead?
So one of the trends we expect when it comes to event furniture is powered seating and tables. These are great looking pieces that give attendees the ability to power up devices through USB ports and sockets right where they can enjoy the event. These areas are also the new watering holes when it comes to events, so the design also allows people to interact with each other while charging.
Speaking of socializing, future events will do well to incorporate furniture that facilitates connections. Swivel ottomans and communal tables increase interactions between attendees. Of course, these still should feel comfy as well with pillows and cushion that match, usually in warm tones.
Another upcoming trend is branded furniture, something we’re sure your sponsors will love to get into. Anything your participants can interact with can be given a marketing facelift, from cushions to coffee tables. Of course, never forget to keep it classy and make sure the branding fits the decor
Increase Your Event Publicity by Inviting the Public
Private conferences with public-facing events are on the rise. With this idea, the public is invited in to share the value the event brings to the city, to the participants, and to the world. This involvement of the public increases engagement improves education, appeals to a new target audience in its marketing and PR. In general, it brings awareness of your niche and makes your message applicable to a larger community. It also impacts the experience of the delegate by affecting the emotional connection they have to the event, their chosen profession and, of course, those they assist.
Garner more attention by offering services to a wider audience:
- Host a health fair as part of a larger medical society conference. This leads to raised awareness, gives back to the destination city, builds brand awareness, knowledge and support and, ultimately, affects those members of the public that participate. These types of events can also be hosted by other professional organizations such as a free drama class put on by an organization of actors. Use your creativity to draw a connection between your attendees and what their knowledge could offer the larger community.
- Give your attendees a reason to participate in the public event. Give “participation points” or a discount on next year’s registration to attendees who “participate in a community service event” or community offering. You can also host a VIP meet and greet for those who gave of their time.
- Bring the community together for mutual exchange. The two examples above show how your attendees and event can give back but why not consider ways in which you can leverage the local innovative minds for an exchange that would benefit them as well as your attendees? This type of concept extends the benefit and the reach of other trade shows and innovators to your private event.
These trends will be dominating the world of events in 2019, but while it is important to give them a good hard look, don’t forget to treat your attendees like people. At Eventina , we give them unique experiences, show them respect, and help them bring home new and meaningful ideas.
Eventina has been providing best in class events and entertainment services since 2009. Experienced, enthusiastic and creative, Eventina is a specialist corporate and social event management, with a difference. Want to witness a stunning corporate event? We’re just a call away.