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Event trends in 2017

Published: Wednesday, 04 January 2017

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Now that New Year has passed, the tinsel is safely tucked away and your January detox has already begun, it’s time to start planning ahead.

It's time again to consider your event programme for 2017 and time to determine how your event will shine among others.

A New Year will inevitably bring change and as always, event trends are developing continuously. Now more than ever, event delegates are demanding more, they anticipate that you will deliver something personal, something different, an event which meets their every expectation. No pressure! Our top five predictions for the year ahead highlight this growing expectancy placed heavily on our shoulders and go some way to helping you plan for this increasing drive toward perfection.

1. Mixed Reality

As the intersection of virtual reality and live interaction, the concept of mixed reality is permitting event professionals to break down physical barriers and create new opportunities, combining what generations before us have only dreamed of. With such level of investment and global interest, experts anticipate that 2017 will be the year when virtual reality meets events, creating a third dimension where delegates from around the globe are able to interact with one another, blurring the hard lines and restrictions of physical event venues.  

2. Useful Tech

The shift toward technology led events is evident and growing year on year as organisers choose more engaging and newly innovative ways in which to interact with their audience. Quirky contraptions grab attention, but will short-lived novelty soon wear off?  We anticipate that event organisers will soon start embracing practical, useful technology rather than leading with ‘tech for techs sake’ and consider their integration more carefully in order to best meet their objectives. It seems that low-key, relevant tech should override eccentric, transparent efforts to impress; instead utilise your best sales team and implement your creativity to generate worthwhile leads.

3. High Expectations

We live within a time when ‘only the best will do’, and this philosophy is expected from your sponsors, your stakeholders, delegates and beyond – the pressure for you to achieve and prove your return on investment has never been more evident and is set to increase throughout 2017. With this in mind, remember that customers are not generic and therefore, it remains critical that companies recognise the importance to respond flexibly to different customer types and behaviour; the art of good business is in achieving a high level of effectiveness and delivering the right service for each customer. Deliver your potential and aim to understand individual needs and exceed what your customer should come to expect.

4. Research

To market your product or service effectively, it’s important to research your audience and understand their expectations – anticipate ahead of time what they need to know and how to deliver the information appropriately. Think about what it is that you’re offering and create a complete event story – be different, make their time from the office worthwhile. Charges can mount up for visiting delegates; leave them feeling satisfied by completely understanding their requirements ahead of time. Follow-up any questions you were unable to answer, keep leads warm and don’t let valuable guests slip through your net once the event is over.

5. Experience

Ultimately, events in 2017 must deliver an experience on behalf of your delegates; your visitors should feel truly engaged with your event and your audience interaction must aim to deliver the illusive ‘wow factor’. Even the very best exhibition stand design or flamboyant conference venue will count for very little if you don’t have the ability to entertain and engage your visitors. This in itself can be a real art, and how you achieve it very much depends on your own business and brand image. Rather than plying visitors with business cards, coffee and a lengthy sales pitch, use the advanced tools at your disposal to connect with your new lead. There is no ‘one size fits all’ way to approach visitor engagement, we are all influenced by different sounds, tastes, textures and visuals – bear this in mind to ensure that your message can be heard above background noise.

Events are here to stay and 2017 looks another promising year, filled with potential to reach your business objectives. Aim to embrace change, reflect upon your previous experience and make the appropriate modifications where necessary.