What does business events look like in the future?

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With changes in technology disrupting how we do business, it is inevitable there'll also be significant changes to how we stage our meeting and events.

McCrindle Research has recently released the latest findings about the future of the events industry on behalf of the Melbourne Convention Bureau and the results are revealing. To follow are seven trends to keep in mind when planning your next event:

1. Create something for everyone

Companies are sending a wider range of employees now to attend conferences and events. It's no longer just managers and senior execs attending. For this reason, event holders need to create something for everyone. Popular event programs always include opportunity for empowerment, inspiration and to learn new skills.

2. Personalisation is key

People attending conferences now expect their experience to be highly personalised and tailored to meet their specific needs. What this means is that they can shorten their time at the business event attending only those sessions that are meaningful to them. It also means that instead of needing to set aside four days to attend they are there for just one or two days. It still means you need to deliver on the value though. Where ever you can you want to personalise the experience, think about all your touch points from registration through to tailored programs to suit individual preferences. Wellness programs are particularly popular.

3. Make it interactive

This is where technology has had a significant impact and in a really positive way. Technological advances mean that we can increase the level of interaction in meetings – interactive live polling is just one of many options. It allows the facilitator the opportunity to receive direct feedback from the audience so they can adjust their content on the go. It means greater flexibility all round with event attendees being able to attend some aspects of the event face-to-face and some online.

Technology and apps tailored specifically for the event are also growing. Apps help to keep people engaged and provide some great online networking and meeting opportunities.

4. Make it fun

It's got to be fun! More and more people are turning to events for face to face time. They also want to be involved in designing the format of the event so they have access to fun break-out sessions, wellness programs and networking. Attending events is no longer all about learning.

5. Make the layout flexible

The new event layout is any combination of multi-spaces that cater to a range of delegate needs and group sizes. With so many different event formats being used, the layout can range from large conference and exhibition halls to TED style talks and open learning designs.

We also need to keep our venue designs fresh. It pays to know what's new and what's on trend. If the trend is a good match for your event, then it is likely to be positively received.

6. Create a destination experience

There is increasing demand to stage events in locations that provide an attractive destination experience. While delegates are cutting back on their time spent at an event, they are still happy to immerse themselves in the local destination. Cultural immersion through local food, wine and fun activities really adds to the actual event experience. It also gives delegates something to talk about when they return home!

The key to building business events of the future is to make flexibility the top priority. From the venue design, format and program to what you can offer to enhance the face to face interaction, it's all about keeping things interchangeable.

We hope this was helpful but if you need a little more support, then we'd love to help! Drop me a line at caroline@eventsponsors.com.au or phone 1300 366 306 - I look forward to hearing from you.

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