The world of event planning changes frequently. Thirty years ago, streaming live videos into an event venue wasn’t something an event planner would have worried about. No one had ever heard of social networking either. Today, live tweets about an event are pretty much the norm.
What new trends are impacting events today and how can you grab onto these trends and make your event one attendees will remember and talk about?
Latest Event Trends and Predictions
According to the Pew Research Center, 90% of American adults now own a cell phone. The top two activities that cell phone users engage in?
- Text messaging
- Going online
What does this mean for your events? People are engaged when they interact with their mobile devices. There are a few things you can offer that will tie into this trend.
- SMS reminders for specific workshops registrants have signed up for. Something simple works, like: “You indicated you want to attend Marketing Online session. It starts in 10 minutes in room # 5.” These reminders can be scheduled ahead sent out to a group of attendees through online services or by installing a group message app on a cell phone.
- Make sure your registration website is mobile friendly.
- Encourage participants to tweet and post about events and workshops as they are going on. Create a special hashtag for this purpose. This allows others to follow the event from home and hopefully they will attend the next year.
In an article on Successful Meetings, Deanna Ting writes about offering events that get meeting goers engaged. She uses the example a Marriott hotel that offered interactive stations that included creating your own cocktail and scratch-and-sniff walls.
The key to using interactivity is to make it relate to your event. If your event is about video games, then have stations where attendees can try out the latest games, compete with each other for a high score or even sit down and create their own ideal video game story.
Think of ways to engage attendees from the minute they walk through the door until the minute they leave for home.
Add Pop Culture
Have you noticed how Justin Bieber can buy a cup of coffee from Starbucks and suddenly there are 500,000 tweets about it? The fascination with pop culture isn’t going away anytime soon, so try to think of ways to incorporate pop culture for the younger attendees.
Some ideas for pop culture things you can add to your conference:
- Open with a flash mob. You can prepare for this by having event planners and a few attendees prepare a dance number or song before the opening night ceremonies.
- Build excitement before the event by tweeting about the upcoming conference.
- Start a campaign during the conference and encourage attendees to compare events to a celebrity, famous landmark, or popular spot. Example: “Steak dinner at IT Forever Mountain Range Conference rivals Ruth’s Chris,” or “Even #Beyonce would be jealous of the moves our flash mob used to kick off the #SaleMore 2015 Conference.”
Accept Mobile Payments
Apple Pay, Google Wallet and other mobile payments are a trend that seems to be growing. Be ready to accept these forms of payment for on-site registration payments, product purchases and pre-registration for the next year’s event.
You also may want to offer card swiping via platforms like:
There are others, but those are two of the most common. Just be sure to keep an eye on the fees as a percentage of each sale is charged with all of these services just as with any other merchant payment gateway.
By studying the trends, you’ll be able to meet the needs of your attendees. Happy attendees are ones that will register for your event year after year.
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