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Event Industry Trends: What's Hot for 2016?

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Some weeks ago I gave a little outlook on what's hot in event tech trends for 2016. As we approach the end of the year, it's time to take a broader look at the event industry and see what kind of trends are changing and shaping events in 2016.

Personalization & Customization

Smart data collection makes it possible: Thanks to event apps and online registration, peoples' preferences can be collected and analyzed on a very detailed level. This allows a much deeper understanding of event audiences and specific target groups. Event organizers may use data and knowledge about their clients to improve their events, and create more powerful and customized experiences.

What about the young and demanding generation of event participants? Event and exhibition organizers will need to re-think their event formats to shape live event experiences, for example by incorporating interactive elements, blogger areas and social media integration such as Twitter walls or live Q&As.

Indoor navigation tools and location-based technologies provide great ways of personalizing event experiences and shooting out targeted messages at event participants.

Looking at the trade show industry, UFILive’s Barry Siskind assumes that the need for family oriented exhibitions will be much stronger as a result of Generation Y’s and Generation X’s expectations.

With the increasing number of digital elements in the event industry, Wi-Fi is becoming even more crucial at events. Free and stable WI-FI will be a requirement and key success factor for conferences, exhibitions and seminars.

The good news about providing Wi-Fi at events: There’s a tendency towards looser Wi-Fi regulations for venues on an international level, so it is foreseeable that there will be less concern about legal barriers. From a technical perspective, this template for Wi-Fi standards and internet connectivity can help venues to provide reliable Wi-Fi.

Education & Learning Design

Educational opportunities are still listed among the main reasons why people attend events. However, the learning approach has changed and with that, educational events and formats are undergoing a heavy change as well.

In a world where broadband is becoming a fundamental right in some countries, learning really can happen anywhere. Thanks to e-learning possibilities and online courses such as webinars or podcasts, people can choose when they want to spend time with education and what they want to learn. By attending events, they can deepen their knowledge and use events as platforms for exchange and discussion with other participants. This enables a much deeper engagement of attendees.

The focus is hence shifting from “teaching” to “discussing,” moving away from old-style lectures and presentations (example: Flip Side Experiences).

Recruiting & HR

Finding good and motivated people implies offering jobs and work places that meet their expectations. As the roles of data analysts and digital experts becomes even more important in the future, HR professionals for event and exhibition organizations will need to keep their eyes open for tech-savvy, young academics and actively recruit them.

But organizations also need to address the demands and expectations of Generation Y towards work. There’s a large number of job roles in the digital industry that do not require fixed premises. Digital marketers, coders and data experts can work from anywhere. As a result, co-working spaces or home office options are becoming very popular among young professionals, so organizations may need to restructure their working and office policies (sooner rather than later).

Offering flexible kinds of working circumstances will be much more than a “neat addition” to companies' recruiting websites. In fact, it will be an urgent requirement for companies to successfully recruit good people.

Transforming work

Technology has had an immense impact on the event industry in the last years. But shouldn’t technology make our lives easier too? Shouldn’t it help us to work more efficiently and use smart workflows in our daily job routine? Actually, technology will transform our work even more in the future.

Technologies such as responsive design and cloud computing already play a big part in this matter. Whether we travel or whether we work from home, websites can be viewed from anytime and anywhere. We can work from central databases without having to worry about local copies of files.

It’s these simple, yet smart things that are transforming our work lives and it is foreseeable that these kinds of technologies will be pivotal in the future – especially in the event industry.

What are your event industry predictions for 2016? Feel free to .share them in the comments!

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