Trends Disrupting The Events Industry | Ungerboeck
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Trends Disrupting The Events Industry

We’re seeing a big shift in the events industry. Michael Heipel, event and content marketing expert, presented his thoughts and the key trends that will be affecting the industry within the coming months. His session at the 2016 Ungerboeck EMEA Conference had attendees thinking beyond the traditional events model and searching for creative ideas on reacting to this forecasted shift.


trends disrupting the events industry

There are a few key trends that seem to have a major impact on the events industry. Let’s have a closer look at them:


The idea of new business models entering the exhibitions market is not something we’re going to readily adopt. However, we should ask ourselves the following questions: Is the act of selling exhibition booths enough? Or do we have to think beyond the show floor?

There are several strategic partnerships that are presenting long-term business models as opposed to focusing on one or two specific events. Zalando buying the fashion show Bread & Butter, Alibaba partnering with UBM are two prime examples of such model. They concentrate on the long-term relationships that are built and find a balance that is complementary to both businesses. Heipel is convinced that this is only the beginning of a new exhibition era.


The new generation of event attendees don’t want to sit in a breakout room and listen to a presenter for 90 minutes. Their perception of a valuable event experience goes beyond that of the traditional conference or exhibition model. Millennials are an audience that long for engagement and participation; they want to be involved in the experience. They are looking to learn and have the opportunity to talk with professionals and ultimately leave the event with new ideas and valuable content. The RAI Amsterdam took an in-depth look into the trends they have seen with Generation X and Y (Millennials) and a common theme they founds was that of the need for an experience, and not just the information (that can most-likely be found online.)


When being asked about current event trends, 70% of the session participants answered that the digital transformation has the highest impact on the events industry.

The good news is: Digital is not threatening face-to-face. In fact, it can improve the event experience. Michael Heipel stressed the fact that virtual exhibitions should not be seen as a replacement for the traditional face-to-face event. Pure online events and exhibitions can work but they are only an addition to what happens in the "real" world. By streaming particular sessions and creating “Hybrid Events”, the importance of certain topics can be underlined. Bringing an event to the online world is an effective way to reach more people as it makes boundaries limitless. Michael Heipel highly recommends using the digital world to market events, "An event that has not happened in the online world has not happened at all."


During the Q&A and discussion round it became clear that many organizers and venues ask themselves how they can deliver innovative event experiences that meet young event participants’ expectations. Michael Heipel recommends technology usage – in fact, he likes to use tools such as himself – but stresses the fact that it is a question of mindset. Don’t enforce anything and make sure the event format is suitable for the audiences. There is no need for app usage when the majority of the attendees do not use mobile devices.

Innovation also requires the buy-in of an organization’s top management. In the end, everyone who is close to the market has to be on-board when it comes to trying out new things and pushing innovative ideas. Have you ever thought about appointing a Chief Innovation Officer? It might help to get the ball rolling.

View the full infographic of Michael Heipel’s session at the 2016 Ungerboeck EMEA Conference.

About the 2016 Ungerboeck EMEA Conference

The Ungerboeck EMEA Conference unites Ungerboeck clients from Europe, the Middle East and Africa on a yearly basis and provides a platform for Ungerboeck users to exchange best practices, learn about new Ungerboeck products and features. It also allows the opportunity to network with industry colleagues as well as Ungerboeck experts.

The 2017 Ungerboeck EMEA Conference will take place from April 2-5, 2017 in Amsterdam.

Did you attend Michael Heipel’s session at our conference? Feel free to leave a comment or share your ideas about the disruption of the traditional event model with us.