Editor’s note: This list of “10 Event Trends for 2014” was written by author Julius Solaris, who publishes the Event Manager Blog at www.eventmanagerblog.com. This list is republished by BizTimes with permission from the author.
10. Faster check-in
The Vitruvian Attendee (the attendee of the future) likes to get into events fast.
Any piece of technology that speeds up on-site registration will be hot in 2014. As attendees are starting to make the show floor busy again after a few years of global economic crisis, event professionals need to use all technology available to speed up the check-in process.
The listed services offer a tablet-based tool to check-in guests at events. This is not a particularly new technology, but it is gaining speed and capturing the attention of investors.
9. Seat them socially
While the concept of seating guests based on their social connection is not anything new, this will be the year when more event professionals will use such services for their events.
Leaving seating to chance is so 1999. There is a new breed of apps that make seating a social experience. Thanks to the wonders of social graph we can now seat next to our friends and colleagues.
This also means seating serendipity based on our networking requirements.
As airlines and ticket resellers are adopting social seat selection, event professionals and startups are quickly adapting. Awkward seating moments will be a thing of the past.
8. Live slidesharing
This trend refers to sharing the slides on attendees’ smartphones or tablets live. Once again, this is not a particularly new technology, but 2014 will be the year of your smartphone as a second screen for slides.
This particular technology has seen a surge, with dozens of startups offering live slidesharing solutions.
While at conferences, attendees look at their tablets or smartphones. Pushing slides to their device helps to keep the focus on content and enhance the education experience. Quite impressive.
7. Collaborative event planning
There is a thought, specifically in the meetings industry, that events are just conferences and trade shows. I believe that one of the strongest drivers of this industry is the long tail of passionate amateur planners who run their own weddings, concerts or parties.
This passion fuels local economies of suppliers and venues. That is why any technology that shares event planning among a group of people will be a hit this year.
Tools that help a group of friends to plan an event will be pushed by the backing of social networks’ adoption. Users, in fact, will want more structured solutions to plan events than the current basic offering.
6. Plan by app
Event management dashboards used to be very complex spreadsheets that cost incredible amounts. Last year, we highlighted how the technology was becoming more accessible.
As we move into a more mobile environment, startups are recognizing the opportunity to offer complete event management tools that can be operated via apps.
The convenience of having your event vitals with you at all times on one platform is immense.
5. Collective media
Hiring a photographer may still be the case for most events, but leveraging the media created by your attendees is another story.
Last year, we stressed the importance of curating content, but as we move toward a more visual internet, the importance of collecting pictures and videos created by attendees becomes paramount.
Making good use of visuals will define this year.
4. Do something good
I believe we all agree that sometimes technology can be stupid. Utterly useless. Or some other times it just does not solve anyone’s problem.
There is a new breed of services that is providing event professionals with a solution to their challenges while stimulating adoption via means of charity.
This trend is particularly relevant for all those working with nonprofits, where doing something good is inherent to the event concept.
3. One-page websites
One-page websites are not just a trend, they are thought to convey better storytelling and decrease bounce rates while impacting conversions.
If you combine all of that with a cheaper alternative to costly custom-developed solutions, you’ve got yourself a successful trend for 2014.
2. Solve the hotel nightmare
One of the outcomes of the research we did for the Good Event Registration Guide is that only 27 percent of registration providers offered live accommodation options upon ticket purchase.
However, we also discovered that hotel options are among the top 10 most requested features by event planners. That’s why those startups who offer such services will be extremely popular this year.
Once again, some of these guys have been around since 2008, but we are now getting to a DIY, global market offering that will surely encounter the attention of several event professionals.
1. Incredibly real-time analytics
Events happen quickly and pressure is usually incredible. Safety, happiness and business success are pressing thoughts that every smart professional has.
Those startups that offer live analytics such as heat maps, preferences and check-in based analytics will make an impact in 2014.
Live data will dictate the ‘what happens next’ rather than pre-agreed upon concepts.
I hope these trends will inspire you to innovate over the remainder of the year and bring freshness to your attendees. There is no riskier strategy than to stick to what we always do.