If you’re putting on a significant event such as a national or international conference or a multi-day festival, it’s your outstanding array of “content” that will attract attendees. But, let’s face it. Today’s attendees expect a comprehensively exceptional experience — one personalized for them. And the hottest event trends reflect that.
Large-scale events are always evolving as hosts and sponsors look for new ways to capture audience attention and keep them engaged. Not surprisingly, technology leads the list, but even tech-rich millennials want more. If your next event isn’t a blockbuster in size, with a little creativity, you can still adopt any number of event trends to give your attendees a memorably head-turning experience.
Here are some events trends that will gain more momentum in 2018.
Artificial intelligence is hot because it can show you the layout before and during the event. Apps and chatboxes can register participants, provide alerts and reminders, answer specific questions, facilitate audience Q&A, and promote social sharing.
Not only will an app make the event more convenient for the attendees, but it will also capture data such as tracking their behavior and soliciting input in real-time, allowing you to create specific changes on the fly.
From 3D virtual speakers on stage to virtual games, tours, and demonstrations, events are using virtual reality to broaden their guests’ experience. Virtual meeting spaces and digital hangouts allow folks to “gather” even if they aren’t face-to-face. Virtual reality can enable off-site participation, too.
RFID wristbands shorten lines at registration and inside your event. Many events now let attendees use them for cashless purchases, too.
Go somewhere new. You could hold your event at a conference center, hotel, or stadium, but why not choose a venue that augments the overall experience? A museum, for example. Head outdoors for the whole thing or a reception. Build a pop-up space. Within your event, use interactive displays, Tweet walls, and other interactive technology for further engagement.
Local Food and Drinks
Upping the ante on food and beverage delivers the unexpected and feeds everyone’s compulsion to post food photos online. Go local with food trucks, micro-brews, and wines. Do tastings or demos as well as meals. Create a cabaret-style space that’s cozier and more inviting than a dining hall, and use strategically placed monitors or other technology to bring presentations up close.
Appeal to All Five Senses
Make it more sensual. You’ve probably got a handle on sight and sound. (Hint: Heroic Productions can help with that.) But setting the mood by incorporating the other senses — touch, taste, and smell — triggers a visceral, more lasting response. Think comfy seating, relaxing music or lighting, the scent of endorsed products, and hands-on activities or demos.
The point isn’t to make your event “trendy,” but to reward people for attending by giving them the most for their time and money. If you can intrigue, engage, and inform them, they’ll be back next year.