This is a guest blog article by Chuck Smith of Enliven Production Group.
Often, the more things change, the more things stay the same, right? We at Enliven have become, and remained, event production industry leaders because we recognize and adjust to meeting trends, help our customers adapt to the times, all while helping them keep their eye on the reason they wanted to meet in the first place.
So what components help you design a successful event today? Here are the Top 7 Trends we see for the event production industry in 2018:
1. Focus on providing captivating meeting content and a strong emphasis on attendee engagement. What does this mean? You want your attendees to feel that they’re a valued part of the event and leave changed by a memorable experience.
Think about being a guest at your own event. Would you want to spend money and time to attend? Are the speakers and entertainment exciting? Does the program offer interactive sessions and opportunities to mix, mingle and network? That’s one of the primary reasons people attend events. Will you have a tradeshow area to educate attendees and spotlight vendors? And could you offer continuing education credits that help build attendees into stronger professionals? A well- structured event will provide a more captivating and successful experience for your attendees.
2. Estimate the value the meeting should generate to base your budget. Remember, value comes in many forms.
“When first creating the event, make sure you’ve defined the primary purpose of the meeting. Is it to increase brand awareness and customer loyalty? Kick off a cycle of growth? Celebrate achievements or share information?” says Chuck Smith, Vice President of Sales & Marketing.
“Establishing this fundamental direction is necessary for envisioning the meeting’s program, identifying the necessary tools to convey and reinforce your message, and to help determine the right type of venue. Seeing this clearly will help you estimate the value of the event and ultimately base your budget.”
3. Research venue Wifi costs, bandwidth and reliability. In today’s events, both meeting technology and the attendees use multiple devices that rely heavily on Wifi to operate, communicate, share, and stay connected to each other. Slow Wifi speeds or downtime will reflect poorly on your event.
4. Use quality, effective and RELIABLE technology. We all know that glitches happen. That’s why we do everything in our power to ensure the presenters and attendees both have a seamless technology experience. Have you considered everything your presenters might need? Are backups for equipment and speaker presentations available? [Learn How We Properly Support Presenters Here]
5. Provide clear, user-friendly support for the attendees. Keep their experience uncomplicated so they can focus on the message. Some examples are:
- Consider providing transportation to and from the airport and venue.
- Make sure your welcome/registration area is visible, user-friendly and efficient. No one wants to wait in long lines, especially if they’ve just flown in. For example, if you’re using electronic check-in kiosks, still provide real, live people dedicated to help with the registration process.
- Employing a full featured mobile event app with components like venue maps and directions, transportation information, schedules and program information, contacts and networking support, all placed in the palm of the attendees hands, goes a long way to ensure a positive outcome.
- Digital signage, which can be updated instantly, provides great venue directions, room schedules, updates and announcements, and even social streaming.
- Other important factors? Think about placing convenient recharge stations for attendees to charge up laptops, phones and other smart devices. Nothing is more distracting than worrying about your device running out of power.
6. Include social media in your event design. Hashtags, photo ops, feeds, assigning a social media point person, etc. This is pivotal for promoting today’s events, and for engaging attendees both during and following the event. You’ll see more platforms being used this year to encourage social media participation in events, plus some internal and secure social media options for private meetings.
7. Design the meeting with proof of ROI. Business owners and presenters should gain information from the event as well as the attendees. Use live and post analytics so you can measure your success. Pre- and post-event surveys, real-time evaluations of sessions and presentations, and, if the event has happened before, comparisons to previous years are all useful ways to measure return on investment.
As always, Enliven’s client process includes helping you consider all of these trends, and many others, during the event design.
What are you seeing as new trends in corporate events today? Share your thoughts on how you’re including these and other components.