Hot conference trends: take your event to the next level
As we leap whole-heartedly into 2019, excited for the events and experiences ahead of us this year, we want to take a moment to highlight the latest trends we’ve been noticing at conferences. These trends can provide ideas, inspiration, and a peek into what some of the most forward-thinking organisations are doing.
Here’s what to consider in 2019 if you’re running a corporate event.
While the word ‘sustainability’ can be bandied about in offices and corporate settings with no real objectives attached, conferences provide an opportunity to bring it to life in interesting and valuable ways. We’ve noticed corporates partnering with NGOs in conference settings, to educate people and help develop practical measures to create a cleaner world.
Tying into this is the concept of wildlife conservation. The world is facing some eye-opening stats such as:
- 60% of the Earth’s vertebrate wildlife populations have declined over the past 40 years
- 20% of the Amazon has disappeared over the last 50 years
- 90% of the world’s seabirds are estimated to have fragments of plastic in their stomach.
It only makes sense that conservation is a hot topic at events and conferences, as organisations build sustainability and conservation goals into their missions. At events, this can translate into talks from NGO speakers in the space, or fun and engaging team activities that help support the organisation’s sustainability and conservation objectives.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Hands-on activities that make a difference to less fortunate communities are also trending in a big way at events. We’re seeing corporates running programs to build kindergartens, support victims of natural disasters and raise funds for orphanages.
Consider looking beyond the venue where you’re holding your event, and identifying any issues within the local community that your team could be involved in. This is an excellent way to make an impact locally while building team morale, as team members are empowered to contribute to something bigger than themselves.
In a world driven by technology, it makes sense that tech has much to offer conference organisers. The industry is starting to use tech in interesting and engaging ways at events.
One method we’re expecting to continue trending is gamification – the use of tech to introduce activities, games, quests and goals to encourage attendees to participate. These games or activities are built around goals, which are the specific engagements or actions that event organisers want to see happen. Attendees can earn points, accumulate badges, win prizes, and redeem coins to purchase items and gifts. And while this may all sound like something out of a Super Mario game – more engaged attendees mean better outcomes and a greater tangible return on investment from your event.
The power of brand
We’re seeing a focus on ‘the power of the brand’ at events and conferences. Organisers are becoming more and more attuned to the fact that brand experiences aren’t just important for customer engagement, but also for team engagement too. That’s why corporates are putting more effort into organising events that stay true to brand values and image.
That means on-brand colour schemes, messaging and activities, as well as intentional focus on brand values, and always bringing it back to the mission. It’s about creating a culture that supports the brand at every touch point, ensuring attendees are aligned with the culture.
Consider the role that your guest speaker, team activities and presentations could have in developing this experience.
Customer experience (or CX) is a hot topic in most industries at the moment, and we’ve seen it come up as a trending topic at many client events. It often starts with gathering customer data, either internally or by engaging an external company to survey your customers. Large sections of conferences are being dedicated to understanding the drivers of customer loyalty and retention. This is done by highlighting key findings, with presenters engaged to help organisations transition systems and culture to create an ideal customer experience.
Good, old-fashioned human interaction
Robots might be out to steal our jobs in 2019, but they’ll never be able to trump interacting with real humans. That doesn’t mean ditching digital and doing everything by hand; it means using digital technology to enhance human interaction.
This often includes event apps that enable attendees, including sponsors and exhibitors, to connect with each other face to face to achieve their business objectives. While technology often isolates us, recent events we’ve attended have proven that it can be used as an engagement tool.
Keep your eyes peeled over the next few months as we deep dive further into these rising trends in our industry, as well as other exciting topics. If you’d like to learn more about organising an engaging event or conference, get in touch with our team on 03 9535 3600.