Jamie Vaughan, head of european sales at Cvent, on the advancements that are shaking up traditional event formats and encouraging new ways to engage attendees.
As we all know, attendees expect more than a hackneyed PowerPoint presentation and post-event happy hour. They want to be inspired, they want to connect with their professional peers and network in a fun way, they want to be educated, to hear how the industry or your organisation is progressing the debate on important issues. They want an experience they will remember long after the event is over. Traditional formats increasingly don’t cut it.
Here’s my shortlist for those considering how to shake things up a bit:
The curation of content is much more fluid than it used to be as technology allows organisers to crowdsource information and ideas. This feedback gives organisers a better understanding of what their attendees actually want and not what they think is in demand; providing an opportunity to create an environment, important to their attendees. Crowdsourcing content also drives a sense of ownership, giving attendees an extra incentive to attend.
When selecting the speaker, why not take a left field approach? New perspectives from inspiring leaders outside the sector can offer fresh insight across various themes and business strategies. Speakers need to not only be knowledgeable in the subject matter, but also offer a compelling narrative, be relatable to your audience, and most importantly, be engaging storytellers.
HumaGram (human hologram)
An interesting development to watch is the adoption of holographic technology, which allows organisers to “holo-port” in-demand keynote speakers and panel contributors to events they cannot otherwise attend in person. Interaction with the “humagram” can occur in real-time via conference video feed for the speaker.
Web and Virtual Reality events
VR is an exciting prospect which will see organisers reach global audiences either by webcasting or livestreaming one or more live sessions to fully realised virtual events that replicate all the content available to in-person attendees. This technology allows for greater access for people that can’t physically be onsite and likely serves as a gateway to in-person attendance in the future.
Intelligent mobile event apps
Taking the form of a personalised assistance for delegates, AI-enabled event apps will understand an attendees’ goals and provide more relevant recommendations such as which sessions to attend. The mobile event apps of the future will intuitively and seamlessly provide the information attendees need to know to get the most out of the event without the attendee having to ask for it.
Biometrics, more specifically facial feedback, can provide organisers with real-time feedback on how attendees are emotionally responding to their event or a specific session. This is a valuable opportunity that can potentially replace feedback surveys that only provide information post-event.
Organisers should never stop innovating, learning, and searching for ways to enhance the event landscape and drive more engaging delegate behaviour. Attendees want tangible, memorable experiences, and in the coming years, technology will play an even more pivotal role in amplifying and enhancing those experiences.