Event Trends 2015

Happy New Year! The dawn of 2015 is now upon us.

Every year we look forward to the event trends we predict will impact on the events industry within the next 12 months. We think these are some of the major issues Event Managers will be working with and issues which will impact on event marketing and event technology in the coming year.

Read our post from last year here: Event Trends 2014 and our predictions for 2015 below.

 

Increased Confidence

The UK has a much rosier outlook as business continues to pick up and recover across multiple industries and the whole of the UK (the recovery has been slower in the North and outside of London). Even the media is starting to report more positively rather than the negative multiplier effect of reporting during the downturn. This confidence can only be a good thing in terms of businesses focusing on growth and hopefully increased investment on marketing spend and events as a result.

 

Short Lead Times

Lead times in the events industry often continue to be short and pressurised for one off events. This adds extra pressure to the Event Manager role, which is already considered a stressful career choice (see this post: Event Management: A Stressful Career Choice?).

Although short lead times can give fantastic deals from venues that have last minute availability it isn’t a recommended tactic! Short lead times can result in lower ticket sales and attendances as recommended marketing times and the notice period given to people are reduced.

We have seen examples of short leads times during 2014 as a result of political pressure (“this event must happen and happen before xx”) and also due to commitment from keynote speakers (“my only availability is on xx”) and budget pressures (“our event budget has to be used in this financial year otherwise we lose the funding/money”). There is no sign of this reducing in 2015 with clients feeling the pressure in terms of heavy workloads, smaller teams and sometimes panicked planning, calling in Event Professionals to save the day and work magic in less than perfect scenarios.

 

Social Media

Social media is a complex and integral part of almost all modern events, regardless of the sector or client. The role of Event Manager often demands advanced social media and engagement skills. Annual events are working hard to build communities around their events and better year round engagement. It is no longer acceptable to ignore the social media phenomenon. Whether you are new or experienced in terms of social media all Event Professionals should read this free eBook: Social Media for Events (and yes I am proud to say that I helped to proofread it!).

 

Visual Content

Visual posts on social media consistently outperform text posts and Instagram has now overtaken Twitter in terms of users. This should be taken into account in terms of event marketing, making sure you are connecting on the platforms preferred by your target audience and even at your live events by using tools which incorporate picture feeds and Instagram well.

We love the idea of the new Polaroid Socialmatic and think that this has great potential for use within our events and the events industry in general!

 

Smaller Group Sizes

Based on current enquiries group sizes currently seem to be tailored to smaller groups and more niche audiences, rather than larger “catch all” style events. Although this reduces economies of scale and bargaining power at some venues, it also reduces risk and can help add incentive for attendees to book their ticket early before it sells out.

 

Hybrid Online Events

We are looking forward to running our first hybrid event in 2015 and we are sure that events catering equally for both a live face to face audience and online participants will become the norm. A live web stream will not be enough, virtual attendees need to be engaged and involved to ensure they have an insight into the true event and convert to actual attendees in future years.

 

Blogging

Blogging is a powerful tool and I discussed the landscape in my post The Event Industry and Blogging: Are Event Managers Missing a Trick? In many ways 2014 saw the rise and recognition of blogging within the events industry and I have discovered some fantastic blogs and bloggers, both new and established, from the UK and internationally. This can only continue and strengthen during the next 12 months.

 

Touchscreen Technology

Touchscreen technology continues to dominate, ranging from mobiles and tablets (including attendees using a second screen), through to event apps and advanced event technology, meeting facilitation and gamification. We love huge touchscreens for mindmapping ideas, digital grafitti walls and sophisticated photo booths.

 

Video

The power of video is well documented and we are seeing increased recognition of this by our clients who are keen to incorporate video into their event marketing and within their event strategy. Our preferred videographer is definitely on speed dial! As well as commissioning video content we are also seeing an increased willingness to create video content within our clients organisations.

It is also great to see the rise of vloggers and how the way we consume media is changing in general. It is great to see the emergence of event industry vloggers and podcasts.

 

Barcoded Event Registration Systems

The modern event attendee rightly demands more. Queuing and inefficient check in systems are simply not acceptable, which is why we developed our own barcoded technology to ensure fast and efficient on site event registration. RFID solutions are also available and are increasingly being used in music festivals.

 

Wearable Smart Tech

2015 will see wearable smart technology become more mainstream. Smart watches and Google Glass are examples currently on the market. Although limited apps have been developed on Google Glass for events currently there is lots of potential here. For example, imagine a speaker able to see his notes and countdown timer through Google Glass but looking like he is presenting entirely from memory. Event Managers wearing Google Glass could take pictures and record videos of their event in real time to enable fantastic behind the scenes and back stage footage.

 

Augmented Reality

I attended a workshop which had a section dedicated to augmented reality which had my mind spinning in terms of the potential usage within events. In terms of exhibitions and conferences this technology will be groundbreaking. Imagine interactive exhibition stands, icebreakers/networking games and speaker biogs which come to life and the speaker talks to you when you hold an app over their picture.

 

These are just some of our thoughts on what 2015 may have in store for #Eventprofs. We would love to hear your thoughts on the event trends we can expect to see in 2015 in the comments below!

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