5 trends to watch out for in 2017


These are exciting times in the MICE sector, with a number of trends shaping the way meetings and events are planned, implemented and experienced in a positive way. We pick five that will impact on your event regardless of size.

1. Foodie Culture
You don't have to look very far these days to see a fairly mainstream interest in food and foodie culture. This will impact on meetings and events in a number of ways. In the first instance you can expect food and beverage costs to rise as the menus become healthier, better quality and pricier, to meet the needs of delegates whose expectations continue to be raised. From a venue perspective the Chef and F&B manager will be increasingly influential in attracting events to their venues.

2. Experiences Matter
Delegates are looking for events to deliver a real experience. Technology makes it easier to connect without meeting, which means physical meetings and events will have to be an experience. Furthermore, Millenials, who prioritise experiences and sharing are increasingly becoming the audience for events, making this trend even more defined. This will impact on your event in a number of ways, from the event branding, through to the wow factor delivered by a unique venue or headline speaker. For larger events looking to deliver a commercial return it will be critical to engage your customers in the experience before, during and after the event.

3. I am in control
Marketers have talked about consumers demanding customised products and experiences for some time now. Events are no exception and the attendees as customers must be the focus. At a very basic level this can mean having multiple streams of content for delegates to choose from or enabling them to plan part of the event or control part of the agenda. At a more sophisticated stage, it can mean that attendees are able to influence key elements of the event, such as the music or lighting or have their food delivered to seat. In delivering these customised experiences event managers will be aided by event technology which delivers increasing amounts of data to take the guess work out of what attendees want.

4. Offline Connectivity
There are lots of ways for people to connect online and this has, of course, revolutionised social and business behaviour. However, we still place a premium on meeting people face to face. This is why events will play a crucial role in the way that we do business in the future. However it is not enough to rely on chance to meet with that all important potential connection at a larger event - delegates will be want to be assured of meeting up with the right people. This is where the better events apps can help, effectively matchmaking delegates to deliver a streamlined networking opportunity and adding further value to your event.

5. It's a hybrid!
Technology has had such a dramatic impact on meetings and conferences that it is difficult to overstate its impact. Some technology, such as mobile event apps, virtual goodie bags and wearables will improve the event experience and encourage attendance. Other applications of technology and in particular, its ability to connect people across the globe - will discourage attendance. As a result hybrid events, with a mix of physically present delegates and some joining virtually and experiencing the event via virtual reality and 360 video will become increasing common. Crowd streaming apps like periscope will bring this opportunity to events and meetings of all budgets, while the desire to save costs which has seen companies like HP hold virtual shareholders meetings for the first time, will result in only people who really need and want to be at an event to be physically present.

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