- Focus is on the event experience and engagement
The event experience is becoming more and more essential. With more competition than ever, an event has to offer something unique and exciting to attract and engage attendees. Engagement is at the forefront of event trends, and interactive content is the driving force. Examples you may see in 2024 include live polls during presentations, interactive dialogue platforms, virtual interactive exhibits, collaborative virtual workshops, and audience-driven content.
- Hybrid events continue to dominate
The rise of hybrid events continues to dominate the event landscape. Hybrid events offer unparalleled flexibility by blending in-person and virtual elements giving multiple opportunities to connect, learn, and share in ways previously unimagined. Attendees can choose to participate physically or virtually, widening the reach and impact of any event.
- In-person events still popular
While hybrid events are popular, in-person events have been the preferred option for businesses. The trend shows that people want more in-person events interspersed with digital technology favoring face-to-face interactions and tangible event experiences. To simplify the in-person event management process, there are myriad event platforms available. Features like onsite badge printing, onsite event check-ins, event registration, and mobile event apps, allow event staff to handle every aspect of the event through these platforms.
- The power of AI will continue to advance
The evolution of AI is taking a significant leap across all industries and is finding a range of uses in the events industry. AI can analyze attendee data, write content outlines, automate budgets, streamline event setups, making event professionals’ lives easier and more efficient. AI will not only enhance productivity but also empower event staff with intelligent decision-making tools, marking a transformative shift in the way events are planned and executed. Although a powerful tool, AI is not effective without the proper knowledge and understanding of its uses.
- Use of immersive technologies
Immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) elevate events from mere gatherings to memorable experiences. They are revolutionizing how we experience events by creating an atmosphere where the ordinary becomes extraordinary. Think of projections transforming blank walls into dynamic landscapes!
According to the Event Planner Expo, VR is the “Ultimate Escapist Tool”. By donning a VR headset, attendees are no longer in a conventional event space but virtually transported to anywhere! VR is also a tool for professional networking and learning by transporting attendees to virtual realms where they can respond to presentations, explore virtual booths, and interact with each other in an immersive environment. AR blurs the lines between physical and digital by turning ordinary settings into canvases of interactive storytelling. It’s not about replacing reality but layering it with digital magic that leaves a lasting impression. Imagine looking at an ordinary event poster, only for it to come alive with a tap on your smartphone!
- Accessibility and inclusion are critical
Making events accessible to all is no longer optional— it is imperative for successful events. Events should incorporate these standard practices: 1) accessible event technology; 2) venue accessibility & food/beverage options; and 3) program features for multilingual audiences.
- Sustainability is a must
Environmental consciousness is no longer an afterthought in event planning—it’s a fundamental aspect of any event. Events are going green, even down to the event badges and lanyards. Event badges made from recycled materials or biodegradable materials are totally in.
- Renewed focus on data and event measurement
Events have become a key marketing channel and measuring event ROI is becoming more essential. The trend is a renewed focus on data collection used to analyze the success of events and adjust for future events. Beyond post-event surveys, there are digital tools available that can draw insights around audience engagement at virtual events. In-person events are beginning to see a proliferation of wearable technology like Bluetooth wristbands, and built-in tech such as facial-recognition cameras that track eye movements and calculate engagement with content.
- Tighter budgets require a more strategic approach
As event costs rise and sponsor dollars shrink, event professionals are forced to find creative ways to deliver a successful event. The key lies in strategic planning and understanding the array of options available. For instance, use digital tools such as mobile apps to eliminate paper, work with your hotel to save on power and Wi-Fi, find affordable locations by using venue sourcing tools, and adjust event dates/time frames, i.e. start a conference in the afternoon to eliminate the need for breakfast and lunch expenses. Bottom line, planners must add as much value as possible to convince your audience that your event is worth attending.
The events industry is embracing a new era of innovation and inclusivity. 2024 provides an opportunity for the event professional to utilize new technological advancements and create personalized experiences. By staying informed, event professionals can navigate the evolving landscape and deliver events that excite, engage, and leave a lasting impression.