2019 saw a huge increase in spending on Events and Conferences by marketing teams. This trend is only set to grow, as the demand for face-to-face experiences continues to sky rocket. So, as event planners now prepare for their upcoming Spring and Summer conferences, and all the seminars and training courses in between, we thought it would be useful to share what event trends and practices will really matter in 2020.
1. Personalisation: the biggest 2020 trend
Every attendee has a reason for coming to your event. They all have different needs and not everyone will be in the same place in their journey. Personalised events allow each attendee to fulfil their individual needs and therefore feel the event was a more valuable experience. There are many ways to personalise events. We have laid out the favourites below:
Personalised breakout paths
It can be disappointing looking at an agenda to see a handful sessions that do not particularly interest you before arriving at your favourite topics. Breakout paths or ‘streams’ are a great way to enable attendees to tailor their schedule toward the experience they are seeking, and network with others who share the same interests as them. Adding conference breakout sessions to your event will result in higher levels of participation and engagement, and will let attendees feel in control of their learning experience. Insight Mobile Event and Conference Apps allow delegates to build up their own agenda by adding sessions from any main programme or breakout stream available, so they can access a personalised plan for their day.
Personalised content and resources
Sometimes it is hard to find the content that is truly relevant to us as increasing volumes of data and resources surround us. Whilst these are designed to educate us, it is important that attendees can easily access the knowledge, resources and experiences that are most relevant to them.
It is quite easy to personalise content outside of an event, such as sending content related to previously viewed or downloaded such as segmented eBooks or videos. But how do you do this in an event? Well, if we know the reasons and subject-matters an attendee is coming to your event for, we can present them with the content and event materials that match it. This is possible at registration desks, although it might take a considerable amount of time to sign guests in, not to mention the admin that might come with this.
Event app technology, however, makes this simple and effective. Attendees can log in to their event app and view documents, speaker profiles and any event material segmented toward their interests after a personal log in greeting. It is possible to pre-populate their agenda to display all of their favourite sessions automatically. Insight Mobile apps present a range of personalised content display options, from flight transfer times, to personalised session bookings, leisure activity appointments and table plans. You can find out more here.
2. Keen on Green
There will be a continued focus on creating sustainable and low carbon events in 2020. We saw a monumental increase in climate change activism in 2019. It is essential that the momentum is maintained and practiced by the Events industry. It is imperative that large-scale conferences, who set the tone for the industry, plan highly sustainable and carbon conscious events.
Event planners will think more holistically about how to reduce events’ carbon footprints and improve their environmental impact. This includes banning single use plastics, educating attendees and using recycled material for event design and props. Travel highly contributes to event carbon footprints, therefore there will be smaller and localised events to help reduce this.
An easy step to take which immediately reduces the environmental impact of your event is to go digital. By this, we mean scrapping the endless paper programmes, abstract books, sponsor brochures and advertising flyers handed out throughout your event that, unfortunately in many cases, are irresponsibly disposed of.
Event apps allow you to replace every event material into a digital format. This frees you from printing costs and allows you to update, remove or add material real-time. You won’t need to worry about outdated material during the event ever again. Advertisements from your sponsors or local companies can be placed in strategic positions within the app and they can be personalized for different user groups, providing a higher ROI for every party involved.
Have you thought about planning your event virtually, too? Many venues offer enough information and virtual tours to severely reduce the times needed to visit the venue before the event. Event apps are helpful for this both before and after the event has taken place.
3. Go Live!
Live, immersive experiences will become a focus and one of the biggest 2020 event trends. People crave human connection and this is exactly why events are increasingly including immersive experiences and activities. These can take many forms, from photo booths to AR activities and escape rooms. Including interactive events into sessions will also increase engagement and provide live discussion and response from speakers and audiences. For example, live keypad voting and question walls are a great way to keep attendees involved throughout every single session, whether it be in a small seminar or a large scale conference hall.
Adding to this, is the increasing demand from event planners to be able to adapt their events toward attendee’s preferences real-time. You no longer need to wait for the post event surveys in order to make small changes to improve satisfaction for the next event. Using accessible data enables you to mould your event to fit what is working best for your current audience. Technology such as RFID and smart badges allow you to see what parts of your event are popular and which need boosting.
Instant feedback features within event apps can help identify what is working and what is not. Live session booking features identify less popular choices which you can promote using push notifications to alter signage and footfall. Collecting this data live during the event also helps you to improve upcoming events because the feedback is likely to be more accurate.
And not the type you think!
More than ever before, it is crucial for businesses to go beyond the digital space to build meaningful relationships. In 2020, brands will invest in events as a marketing channel to increase face-to-face time between speakers, guests and attendees.
Ok, so now we have professionals, exhibitors and associated groups of people physically together at an event. But how do we ensure that facetime will result in proactive and valuable interactions? Well, research shows that abundant networking opportunities and spaces for face-to-face meetings will essential event features in 2020 and beyond. Event apps allow attendees to book in meetings with speakers or guests. They also provide a variety of other networking tools to help consolidate new connections made.
It is not just one-to-one facetime attendees are craving. It’s also the interactive, vocal session that facilitate spontaneous conversation and discussion during breaks and networking time. Increased discussion during sessions will make people feel more comfortable to extend these conversations outside of sessions. It will also help people to identify who to approach and strike up conversation.
Ensuring your keynote speakers engage rather than dictate will severely aid this. Choose speakers that will participate in conversation and drive dialog post-event. Insight Mobile event apps includes an ‘Ask the speaker’ feature which allows attendees to post their own questions live during the event to help encourage involvement from both parties. For unanswered, the app will display videos of the speakers discussing them, and alert users when they become available.
So, there you have the top 5 Event trends of 2020. We don’t think any of these are particularly surprising given the current climate (digitally and physically speaking). However, it is always helpful to get reminders and suggestions on how to improve attendee experiences whilst practicing sustainable and forward thinking methods with event planning. We hope you have a successful 2020!
We welcome any of you comments or ideas if you would like to share them with us. Additionally, if you have any app or event related questions, please feel free to get in touch here.