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Meetings and Convention Industry.
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Say goodbye to boring, lifeless events and hello to an innovative, interactive and memorable experience. The ways in which meetings, conventions, trade shows and all types of events are conducted has drastically changed over the years. The days of monotonous PowerPoint presentations and simple, straightforward events are gone. A new era has hit the scene in which attendees and guests are expecting unique sessions, an assortment of seminars and surprise events to round out an all-encompassing adventure. Let’s take a look at some of the latest trends that are here to stay in the meeting and convention industry.
Event Space Expectations
As the structure of events changes, so must the event space. To accommodate the new norm of meetings and conventions, venues must have the ability to arrange the space as needed and not be confined by bland, square rooms. Event planners are taking advantage of the more unique event space, such as gardens and outdoor terraces. Combining the use of a variety of spaces may make planning a little more difficult, but will leave a lasting impression on the attendees. A change of scenery is much needed to keep people guessing and engaged.
Customization and Personalization
In an effort to keep up with the high expectations of event-goers, meeting planners are now looking for the ability to customize a variety of aspects that make up an event. This may include everything from menus and technology to the event space that was previously mentioned and everything in between. These said event-goers are in search for more of a variety in sessions, seminars, and special events in order to choose something that better fits their personality. This gets attendees more involved because they aren’t obligated to sit through something they aren’t interested in, creating a better experience for all involved.
Attendees are looking for easy access to everything they may need or want while attending an event. With that said, meeting planners should pay attention to what is outside the convention or event center walls for proximity to hotels, restaurants and attractions. An event with everything within walking distance or a short drive is much more appealing than a long commute to reach any of these desired locations.
It’s no secret that technology is a driving force in all industries, impacting every type of event that may be held; and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. To start, a minor way of staying up with the many technology expectations is a simple website just for the event. This is a great way to have everything that attendees or those interested in the event will need in one spot. Next, by now, attendees expect to have access to Wi-Fi, if not at all times, then at a designated area in which they can use it, so that should be considered when choosing a venue. Then, consider the option for virtual attendees. Many people have a busy schedule or just can’t make your event, but would like to tune-in to some of the sessions or activities. Having a live stream will open the window for those who aren’t able to make it to your event to participate. Finally, many large conventions and conferences are now using their own app, which is useful for not only the attendees, but also those who are hosting the event. An event app allows users to be able to find information, such as session info, schedules, exhibit booth map, networking capabilities, chat rooms, social media sharing, surveys and more. The host can then use analytics to know what users need or want and can adjust as necessary or make changes for the next year. It’s a win-win for everyone. This just scratches the surface of the many technological opportunities available for events, so stay alert!
The concept of teambuilding has become more prevalent throughout many companies. While numerous businesses will plan specific teambuilding events, there are also opportunities to consider while attending an event. If your whole team, or even part of it for that matter, are attending an event together, you might as well take advantage of this time away from the office and fill in the gaps of the event with bonding experiences. Rather than retiring to your individual rooms, get out and try something such as wine tasting, sailing, community service or simple, fun games.
With changing ideas about events, even an event covering the most boring material, should have some entertainment. Keeping people engaged is so important for an event to be successful. To fit into the idea of a more personalized experience, offering a variety of entertainment option is a good idea. For example, let’s say you are hosting a fitness event. While some people would be interested in a zumba class, others may prefer to watch a fashion show displaying the latest in fitness apparel. Consider your audience and have some fun with it!
While the core objectives of meetings, conventions and events remain the same; the ways in which these goals are achieved are merely transforming in order to keep up with the changing business environment, technology and upcoming generations. Make your event memorable! One that attendees will be talking about for years to come and that other event planners strive to mimic. It won’t be easy, but it’s time to think outside the box in order to engage every event-goer and achieve your goals.