Experiential events are elevating attendee experience, while improved tech is driving higher productivity.
The meeting industry has been going strong for several years. This robust atmosphere allows meeting planners to embrace new trends and create innovative experiences for attendees. And it’s what conference-goers are demanding. The status quo won’t cut it. Attendees are more focused than ever on their overall event experience, not just the educational content. In turn, meeting planners are finding inventive ways to create immersive events.
Here are two of the hottest trends getting meeting planners talking:
Eight-five percent of meeting planners say their role requires more “experience creation” compared to five years ago, according to the IACC Meeting Room of the Future survey. And when asked how incoming generations are affecting meeting formats, 80% said there is more emphasis on overall experience.
How can you improve attendee experience while continuing to provide top-notch education? You don’t have to remake your meeting all at once. There are small things you can do to start elevating your meeting. Consider more interactive sessions that have attendees brainstorming and solving common problems. Think of how you can incorporate art and music into their experience—at registration, in between sessions and in the expo hall. Elevate the traditional exhibit hall bingo card by gamifying your entire conference through the event app.
The overall trend of experiential meetings lends itself to dozens of smaller trends that are transforming attendee experience as well. A recent survey identified 113 distinct meeting trends, compared with only six trends mentioned in 2009. That 2018 Meetings Outlook was conducted by Meeting Professionals International (MPI).
Chatbots. Robust event apps. Virtual reality. 5G. The more that meeting planners can educate themselves on the latest technology—and what’s coming down the road—the more it benefits attendees by offering an exhilarating experience. Adding innovative approaches to your meeting can inspire greater attendee productivity.
Attendees can use chatbots to get answers to their basic questions—like a next generation FAQ page. Chatbots can satisfy customers with faster responses, plus save meeting staff time, providing an efficient experience for all involved.
Event apps now allow attendees to build their own community by planning meetups, creating chat threads on specific topics and mapping out their personal agendas ahead of time. In turn, the apps allow organizers to connect to attendees with live polling and surveys.
Virtual reality is being used not only at the event, but beforehand. Some cities now provide virtual reality site inspections, allowing you to cut back on travel costs.
Fifth-generation cellular networks—or 5G—will be coming to most cellphones in a few years, making our current 4G speeds seem like 19th century technology. 5G isn’t a reality for most people yet, but Ericcson predicts that 5G coverage will reach 45 percent of the world’s population by the end of 2024. When looking only at North America, that increases to 63 percent of mobile subscriptions.
What does that mean for meeting planners? According to Social Tables, 5G’s incredible speed means event managers and attendees won’t have to worry about connecting to WiFi. This not only eliminates headaches but opens the door to more venues and unique locations that don’t have WiFi (or have weak connections). And the speed of 5G will lead to improved attendee productivity and overall meeting efficiency.
Other trends attendees are embracing that you should consider are design trends—creating welcoming, cozy environments that look more like your living room or a swanky hotel lobby—as well as focusing on health and wellness throughout an event and offering activities that mix business with leisure.
As the meeting industry continues to thrive, attendees are looking for more creative, immersive experiences. Focus on how you can create a modern, innovative attendee experience and see your engagement and attendance soar.
If you’re looking for unique attendee experiences, no one does it better than Orlando. With fantastical backdrops you won’t find anywhere else, only Orlando can offer incredible once-in-a-lifetime experiences that your attendees will be talking about for years to come. Tapping into the heritage of creative thinking from its first-rate theme parks, Orlando offers a wide range of creative resources to help your transform your meeting or event. From unique team building activities, exclusive dine-around options to immersive private events inside its world-renowned theme parks complete with a fire-breathing dragon, you are sure to wow your group in Orlando. Discover the many resources available to you to help make your next meeting or event unforgettable at Orlandomeeting.com.