How Is The Events Industry Evolving?

How Is The Events Industry Evolving?

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How Is the Events Industry Evolving? Exploring Event Industry Insights and Trends 

In a recent survey we conducted, we asked, “What is your perception regarding the corporate meetings and events industry? Is it… growing, shrinking, stagnant, or evolving?” The results indicate that the overwhelming majority, 66%, of respondents believe the industry is evolving. We then asked some respondents to elaborate. 

When we’ve conducted this survey in the past, results have shown the perception of the event technology industry as being either shrinking or stagnant. This new perception of evolution comes from factors that are technological and economical. Many experts in the field are witnessing this change happening firsthand. Jim Garrison, President of Logistix Media, said, “Right now, the evolution is in the form of a robust economy and the challenges and demands of hotels and venues as a third-party supplier.” Hotels and venues are really pressing event planners and producers to use their in-house services like rigging or AV through incentives or exclusivity contracts. Being aware of this growing trend and recognizing your event’s needs early will help to navigate the process of locking down the best event space while still being able to utilize the best event tech services for your event.

“Infotainment is what folks want, a little entertainment to catch their eye and information to catch their ear all packaged into a wonderful setting”

A large part of the technological side of this evolution comes in the form of attendee engagement. Over time, attention spans have seemingly grown shorter, resulting in events attempting to become more special and memorable. Add to this the fact that smartphones have become a constant part of everyone’s daily life and new challenges arise. Drawing attendees to an event is one thing, but there’s a growing need to keep their attention on the content once they’ve arrived. “Infotainment is what folks want, a little entertainment to catch their eye and information to catch their ear all packaged into a wonderful setting,” Michael Kiss, Senior Producer at Creative Producers Group, shared. This is being accomplished in several ways, one of which is through the influence of the entertainment industry. Visual elements and interactive technologies typically associated with television awards shows or within entertainment programming are more frequently being requested and integrated into the event tech industry. 

“It is moving toward more audience interaction and faster response time to keep them engaged in the presentation.”

Audiences have always been drawn to stunning content, but today people want more than just to attend the event. They want to interact with and be a part of the content. On top of this, sharing memorable experiences with friends, family, and colleagues through social media is now a part of daily life. As a result, it is more prevalent than ever to have content and experiences that engage audiences in new ways. This change is not lost on event experts like Jim Kirk, President of Corporate Magic, who said, “Audience interaction and personalization instead of selling to the masses is at a premium.” Wade Diebold, Sr. Account Manager at Alford, also sees the trend of this movement, noting the presence of, “…more audience interaction and faster response time to keep them engaged.” 

Event Industry Trends: Audience Interaction and Engagement, Personalization, Challenges of Venues, and Live-Streaming

Many of these trends were noted in our survey responses. Let’s dive deeper to see what they mean for the future of events.

Interactive Technology

Audience Interaction

Events are greatly enhanced by driving interaction. Here are some of the technologies to leverage to incite interaction:

  • Interactive video offers viewers the opportunity to interact with the video content through a variety of tools.  Attendees can interact with video content via projection, LED, and displays with varying effects and applications.
  • Augmented reality (AR) creates an interactive experience of a real-world environment that is enhanced by computer-generated information and graphics that attendees can interact with.
  • Virtual reality (VR) can be applied at the actual event, such as a sporting event, or as virtual attendees being able to participate in an event remotely.

Technology Supports Better Engagement 

Attendees at events expect to be able to use their time efficiently and enjoy themselves. The more information you provide them and the more opportunities you give them to engage at your event and with your content, the more likely they are to see the value in the event. Allow attendees to stay informed and connected by utilizing technology, like using or creating a conference app, that attendees can download and have instant access to your event’s information. Further, you can use this app and the attendee’s preferences, such as what workshops they’ve registered for, to push personalized content.

Venue Challenges

As highly innovative technology becomes a consistent aspect of events, not just on the stage, but throughout the entire event, older venues may present additional challenges. It will be helpful for event planners to seek out more state-of-the-art venues to handle an expansive technology-forward event. However, just having the right partner and some creative solutions can go a long way to completely transform an older space or more utilitarian venue to an immersive and engaging event. There are many ways to transform a space, some include using exceptional content and visuals, incorporating 3D sound, surrounding the room with stationary or digital scenic, or adding atmospheric lighting to change the vibe. 

The Proliferation of Live Streaming

Every type of event, from concerts to conferences, is leveraging live streaming. This is beneficial in expanding audience and revenue streams. While live streaming shows no signs of slowing down, it is a unique integration that brings its own challenges. This can be both a blessing and a curse. Live streaming can present an alternative to those who cannot physically attend the event, but it also shouldn’t drive people away from attending in person. To help curb a surge of online-only attendance, consider incorporating and advertising the benefits or differentiators of attending in-person vs. virtually. Essentially, thinking of in-person and virtual as two different experiences for two different types of audiences. It’s important to create a memorable and unique experience for your in-person attendees that make them want to come back and also offer a different kind of experience for your virtual attendees, perhaps even more personalized. 

These are just a few ways in which we’ve experienced the evolution of the events industry. We’d love to hear what you think. Send us your thoughts here.

Alford Media