2015 Meeting and Event Trends for Event Planners

By January 7, 2015Event Trends
2015 Meeting and Event Planning Trends

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Each year the experts break out the crystal ball and predict what will be new and innovative event trends in the upcoming year. The meeting and event industry is especially exciting. The rate at which technology changes, and event trends develop is staggering. In general, some new developments will help planners plan better, be more creative and engage attendees more. Other developments will help venues and other stakeholders. In this post, I’m addressing a handful of predictions that stand out.

EVENTS AS COMMUNITIES

Events are no longer a two or three-day project, but create a community that starts before the event begins and continues indefinitely after. Planners must think about a much longer lifecycle of their events than ever before. More are using technology to extend that lifecycle. The biggest barrier to the emergence of these connected communities is that planners may not have time to manage these communities as they are moving on to planning the next event. As this event trend develops, planners will have to incorporate strategies to manage these communities.

LOCAL FARM TO TABLE & FOOD AS DECOR

A trend that started a few years ago keeps evolving and is now fully incorporated at most venues. Food that is locally sourced, the farm to table style trend has become a mainstay and is not going anywhere soon. Event décor too has become more sustainable in which consumable foods and beverage are cleverly incorporated as décor into the event. Same counts for food trucks. I have attended more events this year that featured food trucks for catering than ever before. The trucks not only serve delicious food, they become instant décor for the event.

EVENT MOBILE APPS

Mobile event apps are becoming more popular. There are countless vendors providing apps with more events implementing the apps. However, the challenge for planners is to ensure that attendees download the event app. Now, about 60% of attendees download the apps, and only about 10% of people who download use the app. There is still ways to go to ensure universal adoption at events and meetings. Planners must ensure that the event app meets the needs of the attendees, is easy to use and provides a measurable return on investment.

END-TO-END MEETINGS MANAGEMENT

We will see the emergence of end-to-end meeting planning tools that allow planners to manage all aspects of their event from one platform versus a fragmented set of tools. Eventinterface is a great example of a tool that allows planners to manage all aspects of the planning process, from the registration process to the management of the event community all while increasing efficiencies and mitigating overall technology spend.

GOING BEYOND THE VENUE

As budgets have turned around and hotels are back to charging premium rates, more planners will be seeking out alternative venues for events. Most communities have empty warehouses, hangars; blank canvasses with perhaps with fewer limitations than a traditional venue. There are zoos, parks, restaurants, rooftops, parking garage structures, all great locations for events, many with build in décor.

I believe there will also be more local and regional events vs. national and international events. As travel cost and headaches related to travel have risen, and venue cost has been rising also, I predict that more planners will opt to look a bit closer to home for their events and meeting.

BLE AND iBeacons

I predict that these will be implemented more often, especially since they can easily communicate with mobile devices already. They provide a wealth of opportunity for planner and participants. Planners can track where attendees go, where they spend time, sessions they attend. The technology can also open up access to content when entering a specific room at a venue. The uses are endless and the technology is relatively cost-effective.

WI-FI EVERYWHERE

With event apps, it is now expected that events and venues offer Wi-Fi throughout the event, in all meeting rooms. It will no longer be acceptable to not have Wi-Fi accessible at events. Hotels and venues are slowly catching up in providing Wi-Fi that can handle the needed bandwidth. Every coffee shop, restaurant, and many retail outlets offer free Wi-Fi to guests and shoppers, venues however have ways to go to fully implementing this.

BIG DATA AND ANALYTICS

Events collect an immense amount of date from registration data to surveys. In the past, survey data was collected post event and analyzed weeks later. Now, with mobile apps and SAAS event technology planners can evaluate data on the spot and pivot where needed immediately. Planners will be able to more easily evaluate attendee behaviors, patterns and feedback as they implement technologies.




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Avatar for Al Wynant

About Al Wynant

Al Wynant, CEO of Eventinterface has 25 years of international meeting and event management experience. He has managed events from 50 to 125,000 on two continents. He intimately understands the many aspects of planning well, and how technology can make the complicated process of planning, managing and engaging easier, a definite plus in his position at Eventinterface. Al studied in Europe and traveled with the international educational program Up with People. He has worked as a Marketing and Public Relations Representative working concert tours in the United States, Switzerland, Belgium and the United Kingdom. He ran event management firm A6 where he was responsible for the management of a large variety of conferences and events in the Southwest and in Atlanta, High Point and New York City.

  • Some really thoughtful predictions. The events as communities is a big one. I think a lot of focus needs to be on how to extend that life cycle from using social media to start conversations before the event and then re-purposing event content into blogs and other online properties in the weeks and months following the event. In the government meeting industry we’ve been seeing the smaller, unique venue trend take off in the past year and agree it will continue.

  • Definitely with your on Event Mobile Apps. Today it’s very hard to separate events and mobile gadgets. People are constantly glued to their gadgets. great predictions.

  • The activities as areas is a big one. I think a lot of concentrate needs to be on how to improve that life-cycle from using public networking to begin conversations

  • Great info. We provide private SMS platforms for Conferences, Events and Festivals. No downloading, works on every phone and delivers the “push” whenever/wherever required for a lot less than an App. Most attendees prefer just the basics, a few reminders or updates, links to maps/agendas/speakers bios. You don’t need a $5000 one time use App when $1500 SMS service will be used and appreciated by more attendees.

  • Wedding planners for Destinati

    thanks for this thoughtful post. throush this post you give some great information to your reader. thanks for sharing with us.

  • Victoria Matey

    Thank you for these insights. I especially enjoyed reading about the increasing awareness of pre&post event stages value. I have done research on this topic back in 2011, and has always thought this was under-estimated and under-researched area. In my recent post ‘A circle of event’ I highlighted the issue again. Great to find another back up of my thoughts here, too.

  • Tochukwu Michael

    Events last days to plan and execute and as well requires lots of energy because of the stress involved in it planning, decors, to contacting the dj’s, MC’s, Performers. catering services and making sure every thing is well and in place to meet the needs of the attendees but good event planners with a very good management skills stands out meeting the newest trends in planning and managing events been more creative and innovative

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