Event Industry Trends in 2018

The events industry evolves and changes every year. New trends and technologies make planning a great event easier and more secure. Here are some event industry trends and ideas that we think will take centre stage in 2018, from new social media opportunities in event marketing to sustainable environmentally-friendly practices for event venues.

Event Marketing

The way you market your event might change in 2018, with plenty of new ideas and strategies emerging, but also new challenges. Here are just some of them:

  1. Shareable content

Digital marketing and social media campaigns have to form a seamless part of your event. Most importantly, they have to be something your guests can really engage with, either by sharing content or adding to it. Make your event marketing really stand out in 2018 by harnessing the power of social media, particularly Instagram and Snapchat. If it’s appropriate, make sure your event has plenty of ‘photo-worthy’ moments that your guests will want to capture and share.

2. New marketing strategies

People are talking about Drip Marketing this year. Drip Marketing involves gradually introducing new content, relationships, and information to ease your guests into the event. It’s all about getting people invested in your event, rather than immediately shoving a call to action at them. This can be combined with other strategies, such as a focussed social media campaign, or integrating more technology to your marketing, perhaps by using a platform that helps you distribute tailored emails to your attendees based on their personal preferences.

Event Tech

We’re always excited about new tech trends, inside or outside the events industry. Here are a few things to look out for this year:

  1. Drones
    Drones have become popular over the last year or two as both a toy and tool. In 2018, they will begin to have a useful role in events. Drones are especially useful in large event venues, where they can be launched above the heads of your attendees to film the event or provide extra security. Although, be careful of using drones in your events: aside from privacy concerns, an untrained pilot might even pose a danger to your guests!
  2. Artificial intelligence
    AI has been making inroads into the events industry for a while now, and even though the kinks are still being worked out, there are a few unique ways to implement it into your events in 2018. For instance, chatbots that automate customer service are getting better every day, so your future events can incorporate these to provide your guests with unique, tailored insights and answers. Artificial intelligence can also help provide better personalised recommendations, perhaps by using data given by attendees to link them to the most appropriate seminars, sessions, and contacts. This will have consequences for attendee engagement, which is often boosted by personal touches.
  3. Livestreaming
    Livestreaming is already fairly popular at events, but there’s still plenty of scope for introducing it to your conferences and meetings. It’s a useful tool for allowing people to tune into major events remotely, and also makes sharing your content much easier. Many social media channels have introduced a live streaming functionality, such as Facebook Live, which means guests can broadcast events themselves, adding more opportunities for sharing.

Event Security

Something else we’ve already written about is event security, both physical and online. In 2018, there could be some new methods in play to keep you safe.

  1. New technology and Stricter Security Procedures
    With the recent events in 2017, there will be a stricter security procedure in place and new event technology will definitely play a part in making events safer. Aside from drones, there’s also the potential of using facial recognition system as a security measure. You can already find it in computers and mobile devices, but it could also be used to welcome guests to your events and improve the check-in process. Facial recognition is still in development, but it’s worth watching this trend closely. It may soon be a common tool used to make sure the right people are given access to the right places. Other potential technological solutions are heat mapping and automated people counters.
  2. Cyber Security and GDPR
    Some things will help as well as hinder you. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force in March will make it more difficult to collect and store your guests’ data, but protect yours. You’ll have to make certain adjustments to the way you interact with data about your clients and attendees, which might make it more difficult to provide personalised content. However, in doing so it will support your defences against cyber threats. If you don’t know how GDPR will affect you and your events, read our guide to GDPR and event data security to help you out.

Event Venues

The way your attendees interact with your event venues will change in 2018, from new unique event spaces to sustainability. Here are some of the trends to look forward to:

  1. Unique venues
    In 2018, people are always on the lookout for originality and authenticity. This can also apply to your event’s venue. Even if you’re planning an event in a familiar city, you can find somewhere unique that leaves a lasting impression. Think about the ways the local area can influence how you market an event, and make sure your venue has plenty of scope for customisation and interactivity. If you can host your event in somewhere vibrant and interesting, even better.
  2. Interactive venues and event spaces
    As mentioned above, interactive events will continue to grow in popularity in 2018. But what’s the next step? How can your event engage all the senses? VR is already on its way, and can create new ways of involving your attendees in events. What better way to advertise Dubai at a tourism conference, for example, than to transport a guest straight into the Arabian desert through using a VR headset? To create a 3D event that involves all the senses, you can add hands-on, interactive displays and nicely-textured audio. There are even ways to stimulate guests’ sense of smell, perhaps by periodically spraying scent into the air, although we recognise that not every event needs to integrate this!
  3. Sustainability
    By now, we’re all aware of the environmental damage caused by ordinary, day-to-day activities. The events industry is not blameless, so we can all make a difference by making 2018 the year of sustainable events. There are some easy solutions, like forgoing the use of paper for invitations and itineraries in favour of technological solutions. You could also do something to encourage reusing and recycling, like handing out free reusable coffee cups to your attendees that they can use during and after your event as a keepsake.

The events industry changes at a rapid pace. The trends we’ve mentioned will continue to evolve over the course of the year, but new, unexpected ones are likely to emerge — we’ve barely scratched the surface. It can be a challenge to keep up with the pace of change, but doing so will ensure you can deliver the very finest events of 2018.

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