EVENT TRENDS FOR 2017
IN OCTOBER, WE TOLD YOU ALL ABOUT THE EVENT TRENDS WE HAD SEEN IN 2016: NEW TECHNOLOGY, FOOD AND BEVERAGE FADS, DESIGN TRENDS, AND INNOVATIONS IN BRANDING AND ENGAGEMENT. WITH THE NEW YEAR ONLY A FEW WEEKS AWAY, WE THOUGHT YOU MIGHT LIKE A LITTLE JUMPSTART ON YOUR IDEA GATHERING SO YOU BEGIN THE YEAR AHEAD OF THE GAME. A LOT OF WHAT WE ANTICIPATE FOR 2017 BUILDS ON THINGS WE SAW IN 2016, WITH SOME FRESH NEW TWISTS.
NEW WAYS TO BUILD LOYALTY
These days, building a brand isn't merely about getting repeat business, it's about creating real, authentic loyalty with your consumer base. So, it would follow that this trend (which we think is probably here to stay) would repeat in the event industry, as well. A few event brands have made this a hallmark: ComicCon, The Sundance Film Festival, and many compelling industry conferences like Inbound, have repeat business that reads more like an annual pilgrimage than an RSVP card. So how do they do it? Well, we are going to explore this topic in an upcoming post, so we don't want to spoil all the details, but we promise to tell you how to get your own stalwart following, too.
In our exploration of 2016 trends, we saw a lot of events providing lounge spaces and places for attendees to take breaks. In the upcoming year, we think events will go even more chill. Our forecast calls for massage stations, relaxation rooms, oxygen bars (no, we're not kidding), and complimentary classes like restorative yoga, tai chi, and aromatherapy. The key here is integrating these offerings into the event schedule. Many organizers of multi-day events like festivals and conferences are seeing a definite benefit from providing a less furious pace and giving guests much needed time for restorative breaks between meetings, panels, and other events.
We think it's fair to say that event attendees tend to come to events with fairly high expectations for everything: organization, food, entertainment--and the pressure to one-up the next guy, or last year's event is at a fever pitch. One way some event organizers have begun to tackle this issue is to create hybrid-style events that pique multiple interests. This can drive more traffic, expose attendees to new ideas, and can create a compelling kind of fusion. To give an imaginary example, say you have a film company that makes documentaries and you want to have a conference to showcase your newest feature film about the ocean. In this case, you could work with marine biologists, and chefs who specialize in sustainable seafood to share the conference space with you, create intermingled events and even possibly share costs. Attendees would get three things in one: great cultural, scientific and culinary experience all at the same time. We think there will be much more of this kind of collaboration in the future. We encourage you to consider how your next event could benefit from this kind of innovation.
LIVE VIDEO PLATFORMS
The wide and ever-widening array of live video apps like Periscope, Facebook Live, and Instagram Stories means that events will capitalize on this expansion even more in 2017 (to say nothing of Virtual Reality, which we will cover in a whole other post!) The tech team behind the (late) Meerkat app have also just launched a new live video app called Houseparty that lets groups of users share a live video stream. Unique live video interactions will begin to dramatically alter the way attendees process their event experiences and broadcasting from events by individual users will become more prolific. We predict that event organizers will need to be aware of all of the ways it will be possible to capture and exploit the expansion of attendees' use of live video from their events. Stay ahead of the curve--this is not one to wait on--be an early adopter of these apps yourself to maximize the opportunity that live video will create for events now and in the future.
EVENTS AS A LIFESTYLE
Keeping your audience engaged in your event topics, brands, and messaging while they attend your event is one thing but there are expanding opportunities for going beyond just that single experience. In 2017, we think more brands and companies will begin to expand their event into a lifestyle experience, of which the single event is merely a part. Keeping brand loyalty is certainly a factor here (or employee retention, product distribution--whatever your goal may be) but consistent engagement integrates the event guest with the holistic feeling and experience of the brand beyond email list building, blogs, or social media. It's an immersive approach that seeks to keep guests engaged long beyond the end of the day or weekend. What are our best practices for this? You'll have to visit us again soon for our take on how best to make this work for you when we explore it more deeply in an upcoming post.
Understanding ROI, conversion rates, and all of the other analytics for your events is essential for current and future success. Thanks to some great innovations in the past year (and more to come in 2017) getting a comprehensive picture of the analytics of your event will be even easier. Some are built directly into overall event apps themselves, and some are stand alone apps or software integrations. With so much digital innovation (see below), we are sure to see even more data sophistication in the year to come. We will be doing a deep-dive of this topic, here on the blog, with some deeper research and recommendations for our favorite apps and software options. Stay tuned!
The days of staid events lacking in excitement are long over, that we know, but new thresholds are being crossed all the time. We wrote a bit about this in 2016 trends--there's more levity, more creativity in all events, even formal ones. Increasingly, events are much more interactive and give everyone in attendance a shared story instead of just meetings or meals. Playing on nostalgia (like this giant Lite Brite board) or trends in food and entertainment (food trucks or special concerts) are good starting points, but it's possible to innovate here in almost any direction. In 2017, we are sure to see things none of us have even thought of yet and as we do, we will keep you informed of all the great new things we are seeing.
Now that the use of smartphones is so incredibly widespread, the proliferation of digital media and its usefulness can only have a positive impact on event technology. Innovations like RFID (Radio Frequency Identification, as pictured above) can streamline billing, ticketing, and other aspects of user experience. In fact, Intellitix, an industry leader in digital event coordination, was named by Forbes as one of most innovative companies of 2015. Likewise, the data mining possible from the all-digital event experience serves to benefit event organizers in an almost limitless way. Together with the improvements in data analytics (see above), these event technologies will benefit both event holders and guests alike.
WE HOPE YOU'VE ENJOYED OUR PROGNOSTICATIONS FOR THE UPCOMING NEW YEAR AND THAT THEY HELP YOU CREATE EVENTS THAT ARE EVEN MORE UNIQUE, AMAZING, AND PURPOSEFUL THAN EVER BEFORE. IF YOU CAN DREAM IT, WE CAN HELP YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN. LET US KNOW HOW WE CAN ASSIST YOU TO BRING ONE (OR ALL) OF THESE TRENDS TO LIFE FOR YOUR NEXT EVENT. WE'VE DONE OUR RESEARCH AND USED A LITTLE OF OUR EXPERIENCE AND JUST A LITTLE PSYCHIC ABILITY, BUT IF WE MISSED SOMETHING YOU THINK IS GOING TO BE HUGE THIS UPCOMING YEAR, PLEASE LEAVE US A COMMENT BELOW! YOU MAY HAVE NOTED THAT WE TEASED A FEW OF OUR UPCOMING POSTS HERE, ON TOPICS WE PLAN TO DIG INTO A LITTLE DEEPER AS THE YEAR GOES ON. MAKE SURE YOU SUBSCRIBE SO YOU DON'T MISS A SINGLE POST.