No one wants your event to feel outdated, right? From content personalization and sustainability to gamification and self-check-ins, event trends this year encourage you to embrace event tech to boost attendee satisfaction, productivity, and wellbeing. Discover the key event trends in 2020.
1. Content Personalization at All Levels
Content personalization attracts attention and increases engagement. It makes attendees feel that you are talking directly to them, and not just to a buyer persona. Brands are using personalization to make their events more meaningful for every attendee.
Segmenting content, addressing users by their names, and sending them relevant resources before and after the event can be winning strategies.
Tip: Event tech empowers you to do all this in a non-intrusive way. Start by personalizing your event app experience.
2. Emphasis on Sustainability
Event sustainability is no longer optional. Brands are looking for ways to cut waste, minimize plastic use, and reduce their carbon footprint.
When analyzing the carbon footprint of an event, the biggest culprit by a large margin is travel. Food and beverages catering amounts to much less.
Consider replacing plastics with more sustainable materials, ordering optimal amounts of food, and using recycled supplies.
Tip: Use this calculator to estimate and offset your event emissions.
3. Growing Interest in Creative Venues
Many events are moving beyond conference rooms to unique locations. It’s all about making attendees feel that they are part of something special that’s well worth their time.
New venues bring opportunities for richer experiences, but also raise new challenges. Depending on your chosen location, you may have to ensure Wi-Fi connectivity or provide additional power supplies to keep everyone happy.
4. Branded Apps
Event apps simplify event planning and management. They bring in one place all the essential event information and promote fast, data-backed decisions. Data from branded apps can also help with lead generation from events.
This doesn’t mean you have to create your own app from scratch—reduce costs and get your app faster by choosing a custom branded event app.
5. Virtual Event Planning
Venue providers now offer rich multimedia experiences on their sites including video tours, 360-degree videos, and more. Through these, you can get a feel for a place without having to visit it in person.
Virtual event planning does not eliminate the need to see locations. But they save time and reduce transportation costs. They enable you to create a venue shortlist faster.
6. Open Spaces and Minimalist Decors
Open designs and minimalist decors promote interaction between guests and create a sense of openness and space. No surprise then that many event planners take advantage of them to bring into focus experiences over details.
Tip: Minimalist designs can help reduce event planning costs.
7. A Move Towards Less Seating
Should you have a seat ready for every attendee? Not necessarily.
An increasingly common practice among event planners is to set up fewer chairs than guests. This promotes mingling and fortuitous meetings.
Good to know: sitting for hours is unhealthy and, during long events, may reduce attendee energy and engagement levels.
8. Behavior Tracking During Events
RFID and live polling provide insights into how attendees spend their time. They facilitate non-intrusive tracking that enables event organizers to better understand their audience.
Tip: You can use event data and analytics to increase the impact of your post-event marketing.
9. Real-Time Event Changes
Tracking technologies enable organizers to better understand what works and what doesn’t—in real-time.
For example, during a trade show, it can show you which booths draw the biggest crowds and which struggle. You can then use these insights to draw attention to the latter.
Non-invasive behavior tracking during events becomes easier if you use an event data and analytics app.
10. Messaging Apps on the Rise
With text open rates as high as 98%, messaging apps prove valuable pre-event marketing tools for many event planners. They can also facilitate communication during events. Use them to enable attendees to start conversations, ask questions, share impressions, and more.
Tip: To boost event engagement, choose an experience-first event app.
11. Face-to-Face Networking
Events have the power to drive business value through face-to-face networking. At a time when business communication is often limited to screen-based exchanges, direct communication can create important networking opportunities.
Events structured to encourage meetings and conversations to drive more interactions. They are more memorable than events where attendees merely attend to what a panel of experts is saying.
12. Wearable Tech for Generating Attendee Data
Smart badges, smartwatches, bracelets, and other wearable tech devices are making essential attendee data easy to access. They can also streamline the registration process and can also help with lead retrieval.
While wearable tech is not yet widespread uniformly across event locations, being an early adopter can bring you valuable customer data.
13. Event Gamification
Mobile technology has made event gamification easier than ever. Using QR codes, event planners can award points to attendees for taking part in certain activities or stopping by specific booths. These points can then be redeemed into gifts and discounts.
Good to know: Gamification was one of the exciting new features we added to the Eventtus app last year—you can read more about it here.
14. Augmented Reality (AR) Adoption
As the availability of AR technology increases, visual enhancements can now be integrated into events more easily. AR uses include virtual tours, interactive product demonstrations, and fun games and contests.
15. AI Improves Event Organization and Analysis
AI search engines help event organizers discover influencers, speakers, and attendees. AI can also analyze existing customer data to improve pre-event marketing. After the event, it can analyze attendee data from multiple sources to better assess engagement and provide valuable insights for future events.
16. Voice Assistants to Drive Engagement
Voice assistants are changing the way people search for information and interact with their devices. Chatbots and voice assistants can provide information and assist attendees. When properly implemented, they can replace basic customer support teams.
Tip: Voice technology can also be used as a novel way to highlight specific products and even to increase lead generation from events.
17. Health-Conscious Food Menus
Not finding vegetables and other healthy foods on the event menu can leave many attendees feeling disappointed.
Look beyond beautiful food at richer and more varied catering menus. A healthy event menu can promote productivity and wellbeing. It can also increase energy levels.
Tip: Don’t settle for cheap event menus this year. Mix popular foods with healthy ones.
18. Deconstructed Food
Why worry about choosing the right dishes when you can let attendees create their own?
When properly styled, deconstructed food gives people the opportunity to create dishes using their favorite ingredients. There are challenges to this, and you have to factor in longer waiting times in the food area. Still, deconstructed food can be a great addition to your menu.
19. The Rise of Bleisure Travel
Beautiful destinations can make business events feel like small vacations. After long workweeks, it’s no surprise that many professionals want to see beautiful places.
The result is a growing interest in bleisure travel, or the happy union of business and travel.
Tip: Choosing a great destination for your event could drive event signups more than other factors.
20. Greater Concern About Event Security
Creating security guidelines and implementing them is crucial to make attendees feel secure.
As most events rely on the internet and mobile technologies in one way or another, event cybersecurity is becoming more important for both hosts and organizers.
You can’t ignore onsite security either. Implementing a fast and effective registration process helps to keep the event floor safe.
21. Need for Fast and Reliable Wi-Fi
A fast and reliable Wi-Fi connection during events has become a given. Attendees expect this to come in the same package with the free drinks and the badges.
As an event organizer, you may find yourself shunning event locations that cannot provide optimal connectivity or that have a history of poor Wi-Fi performance.
Tip: Test the speed of the Wi-Fi connection on location and ensure that it can handle more than the total traffic the event will require.
22. Self-Check-In and Registration
QR codes, facial recognition, and other technologies simplify event check-in and registration. Provided alongside assisted registration, self-check-in helps prevent queues and reduces attendee dissatisfaction. What’s more, it can help you drive maximum ROI by capturing qualified leads.
23. Interactive App-Based Maps
Nobody likes to feel lost during an event. That’s why interactive maps delivered as apps on mobile devices can serve as useful guides for attendees.
Map apps can be basic or dynamic, providing navigation, activity areas, tracking and more. They are especially useful for large events with complex floor plans, like trade shows.
24. Fresh Takes on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Charity events, donations, fund-raisers—these are nothing new. But technology and social media make integrating these into events more engaging than before.
You can highlight the value of these initiatives through storytelling and use multimedia experiences to inspire action. You can also tie these in with event sponsorship and monetization strategies to increase involvement and proceeds.
25. Neuroscience-Based Approach to Event Marketing
When applied to event marketing, neuroscience can be subtle and effective. The basic precepts are building consensus, encouraging movement, and using active learning so that attendees memorize what they learn.
Event organizers who understand how the human brain works can connect with their audience on a deeper level and inspire action.
Tip: You can sell tickets to your event online in a way that promotes neuroscience-based marketing.
26. Emphasis on Cultural Diversity
Highlighting the multicultural aspects of an event can make all attendees feel welcome. With cultural diversity reaching new peaks in large cities, event organizers are keen to showcase their open doors policy.
You can achieve this through the marketing materials promoting the event. Also important is localizing event websites, apps, and materials.
27. Truly Interactive Experiences
Open labs, mystery events, escape rooms—these are only some of the special experiences that can massively increase user engagement. While these may not be suitable for all events and settings, they can create excitement and draw people in.
Tip: Explore more ideas on increasing event engagement at all event stages.
28. Multi-sensory Event Design
Engaging all the senses is key to creating a memorable event, and now it’s easier than ever. Dedicated scents, lighting fixtures with brand colors, textured designs, and ambient music—these add richness to events.
29. Bring Your Own Device Now a Given
As we’ve seen, mobile devices increase marketing and lead generation opportunities for event organizers. But they also raise challenges. It’s reasonable to expect that every attendee will bring a mobile device with him or her.
This increases bandwidth demands, requires additional power outlets, and calls for cautious cybersecurity measures. Neglecting any of these can lead to dissatisfaction and hurt engagement levels.
30. Coming of Age of the Tech-Savvy Event Organizer
With its remarkable potential to enhance event experiences, tech in all its forms has become indispensable for many event organizers. It’s one of the single most important features of big events today.
Investing in hardware and software that relies on smart scanners, voice assistants, VR, RFID, and other technologies can transform the entire event experience for the better.
Tip: Consider the role technology can play in your upcoming events and use it to automate or enhance your processes.
Over to You
With so many exciting event trends out there, you’re not likely to run out of ideas for your next event anytime soon.
However, it’s important to understand your audience. Things like mobile event apps and event data and analytics can be extremely powerful. But when looking beyond event tech that facilitates key processes like registration or product presentations, it’s important to consider its value for your audience.
You don’t need all the event tech out there to follow the top event trends in 2020—you only need the right tech for your audience.
Learn how Eventtus can help you plan better events this year!