As the events market ramps back up to full speed, it’s worth asking an important question about use of space. Instead of just picking up where we left off, could we find a more suitable way to set up staging, technology and more in event venues? Looking at what our customers really want from their event spaces has shown us the need of creating more agile venues, with a focus on enhancing live experiences.

By Encore APAC Managing Director, Scott Nodsle

The future of event technology and production in hotels

In the previous edition of HM Magazine, I introduced the topic of technology trends and observations about how the event industry is changing. In this edition, we’ll explore the need for agile event spaces that can be scaled to accommodate any event or technical solution.

Across many parts of the Asia Pacific market, the traditional model has been to fully install permanent technology in meeting spaces, so they can be made ready for productions quickly. This is not the standard globally, where we see venues limiting fixed installations within the main function space to allow for more flexible solutions, tailored to the customer’s needs.

At Encore, we’re adapting our strategy to accommodate the changing needs of the local market which is more aligned to the standard globally. Traditionally, we’ve been in favour of permanently installed solutions as there are many obvious benefits – convenience, repeatability and time-saving. However, since the disruption of COVID we’ve noticed a shift in client demand moving away from tried and true to more bespoke event design. Many clients don’t want to be limited in their space layout, or constrained with technology built into main ballrooms and function spaces. 

So what is the answer? 

A carefully considered mix of installed and mobile equipment to give versatility and enhance the event experience.

What do we mean by "mobile technology"?

You’re going to see this come up a lot so I thought it pertinent to explain exactly what I mean when I say “mobile technology.”

There is a vast range of mobile (audio visual) technology options that can be brought in to fulfil a creative staging solution. At its core, mobile is any equipment that is not permanently installed in the venue and that can be easily added or removed. For example, mobile screens enable presentation stages to be configured in any way. Mobile LED walls or screens also provide super-bright vision, while a giant curved screen delivers an immersive display solution to delight your audience. Smaller event spaces can benefit from mobile technology too. Screens on stands can be placed in meeting rooms for virtual presenters or conference calls and removed when not needed. The options are endless and deliver boundless flexibility.

Striking the right balance of installed and mobile technology

Although there can be many benefits to mobile equipment, a venue with no installed technology is not necessarily the best solution. A balance of both offers flexibility, and also enables quick and efficient setups with essential, common items installed.

Many venues have installed technology that provides a quick and consistent solution for customers. This works well for environments that can only be set up in one form. Fully installed audio-visual (AV) equipment provides a way for customers to get their content on screen, lights on and sound through the podium microphone quickly. When considering a space that will have the same setup daily, repeated for each customer, this is the ideal way to address your event technology needs. Furthermore, clients regularly using the venue also have the advantage of being familiar with the equipment and setup.

Installed pin-spot lighting can dramatically light up the room with precision.

However, as our industry rapidly returns to full activity, we’ve seen an increased demand among our customers for more bespoke solutions to their event designs, both live and hybrid. What this means for the industry is an adjustment to how we envision both our space and asset allocation. Having flexible space to provide unique solutions, designed specifically for a customer’s event design, will be the way venues will win customers and keep them coming back for a fresh new look.

Encore has had the privilege of having been in-house at many of our venue partners for several years giving us intimate knowledge of each venue space, its strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. Coupled with this, having delivered countless events we are in the position to know what clients are looking for — what can be installed for quick, reliable turnaround and what should be made mobile.

Mobile stage sets and circular screens can create bespoke new experiences.

Benefits of agile venues

There are multiple advantages of reducing the amount of permanently installed technology in your main function space:

Flexible and tailored solutions: Many clients do not want a one-size-fits-all solution. Agile venues allow added flexibility in room layouts, particularly in larger spaces. Mobile technology allows for dynamic solutions and creative event design, catering to clients’ needs rather than offering a ‘cookie cutter’ solution.

For a highly creative event design requiring specialist equipment, the permanently installed assets often need to be covered up or removed. Mobile equipment is then ideal as it can be placed in the venue specifically for the event and then be removed.

67% of event planners are willing to pay more for an event designed specific to their needs using mobile equipment that’s not installed with mobile projectors and LED walls the preferred over fixed LED and projectors.

Venue Technology Survey 2022

Save on installed AV costs: Hotel owners and managers who purchase and run their own AV do not need to invest heavily in permanently installed technology, and can use these funds for other projects. This leaves room for cutting-edge technology to be brought in specific to the customers’ demands and budgets.

Increase venue bookings: Traditionally, hosting two different event formats within the same space back-to-back was near impossible. Yet when we use mobile technology, our teams have been able to seamlessly go from a high-end, hybrid conference to a large gala dinner in under an hour. This means our venues can take on more bookings and planners get the space and day they want. It’s a win-win for all.

Easy to maintain: All event technology requires regular servicing and repair. Mobile equipment can be quickly and easily replaced and there is no damage to the event space from removal, or downtime for repairing or replacing installed equipment.

Keep equipment up-to-date: Permanently installed assets may quickly go out of style or not be used often, which diminishes the return on investment. We all know the feeling of being stuck on an iPhone 6 when everyone’s using the iPhone 13, for example.

Outdated technology was the main reason event planners chose not to use a venue.

Venue Technology Survey 2022

Mobile technology in action

Mobile stage sets can be installed quickly with dramatic impact tailored to your vision.

Whether it’s a projector or a speaker box, mobile equipment can be used in many different scenarios. At Encore we use technology in creative ways to bring the event design to life. The example pictured above is a design that delivers a completely bespoke staging solution focused on the customers’ brief and needs. Being too beholden to existing equipment would have restricted options for the client in terms of room formation, staging design, lighting and the possibility of elevating the car that is being launched.

Our mobile technology options are continuously upgraded and improved so we can provide the right option for our customers’ needs. As we partner with venues across the globe, providing the right solution for the right space is at the top of our minds. Our unique options for both installed and mobile assets work best when venues want to achieve the highest levels of flexibility and most effective space maximisation options for their customers. If you are interested in learning ways to strategically reimagine your event spaces and technology offering, feel free to contact me directly or reach out to one of our team members via our website.

Is your venue ready for the new agile era?

If you’re interested in learning more about how your venue’s current event offering can be improved, get in touch with our Partnerships team today. 

Insights from our Venue Technology Survey

  • Location followed by size of the room are the two most important aspects when choosing a venue. Once an event planner has narrowed down their selection based on these, next factors they look at are price and venue aesthetics (uniqueness, design, amenities) when making the final selection.

 

  • 43% stated that they typically use external technology recommend to deliver their vision by their preferred production company or the venue’s in-house team.

 

  • Technology and flexibility with its design plays a large role in venue selection. 67% of planners prefer a tailored technical solution based on specific needs of their event over standard installed technology. Half of the respondents revealed they’d specifically not chosen a venue because they didn’t like the installed equipment with 40% saying it was outdated.

 

  • In fact, 67% are willing to pay more for an event designed specific to their needs using mobile equipment that’s not installed with mobile projectors and LED walls the preferred over fixed LED and projectors.

 

  • 60.94% would prefer to use a venue where some installed equipment has been removed in favour of offering a space that has more flexibility to add to walls, position the stage or change the lighting. This was reported even if this would require more decisions, more costs, but the end result is going to be new, unique and exactly what you want.

Scott’s article was first published in Hotel Management October Edition.

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