Industry trends and technology never stand still for long. This means that to produce the best possible events, every party involved will have to change with the times. Such a major shift may seem daunting, but it’s really just a question of getting in step with new expectations to craft great, memorable experiences.
By Scott Nodsle, Encore APAC Managing Director
Rising event trends
At Encore, we have a unique view of changing needs and norms on all sides. Customers have new priorities for their meetings, while venue partners are adapting to stay competitive and meet these needs.
We’ve seen several prominent trends take hold in the events space recently, all adding up to a very different picture than the norm at the beginning of 2020. With the right planning and partnerships, however, it’s possible to thrive in this new landscape.
Some of the priorities on the rise in events right now include the following:
Virtual and hybrid tech for in-person events
During 2020 hybrid events shot up from 5% to 85% of our total business. We’re now seeing a consistent trend of around 15% of our total showing that hybrid solutions and events are continuing in 2022. The trend shows that for Encore, clients continue see the value in hybrid solutions for engagement during in-person events, as well as including remote attendees/presenters who are unable to attend.
Hybrid is here to stay. We’ve developed many new solutions to engage attendees in the past 2 years. The continuing trend shows that event planners are now very comfortable integrating these solutions into their events and can see the added value of the engagement they deliver, such as networking, Q&A and live streaming.
With borders opening, skies clearing and flights taking to the air again, the inevitable shift back to in-person meetings is underway. But even in these conditions, the demand for digital engagement technology is staying strong.
During the course of the pandemic, Encore built, and continues to operate several hybrid studios within venues to help them accommodate the changing landscape, whilst also giving planners the peace of mind their event will go on no matter what restrictions come into play.
Digital engagement technology has advanced rapidly to support smaller meetings with less need for large-scale networking, with event platforms like Chime Go seeing increasing usage as connectivity solutions. With this in mind, we at Encore project that the use of hybrid tech will rise from 5% to 15%. While human interaction is the crux of the meetings and conferences industry, a good technology platform can connect in-person attendees, and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Across industries on a global scale, workforces are changing, and this is creating a shift in the way event bookings work. Last-minute bookings for hotel event spaces, sometimes even in-the-week, are now more than an anomaly, they’re officially a trend.
Some of this short-term activity has to do with changes in the way meeting planners are working, and with the loss of seasoned professionals from the space, leading to less reliance on the types of long-term strategies they had established. In other cases, companies are still dealing with uncertainty and complexity and don’t want to book in advance. At the same time, other organisers want to find different and unique spaces to host meetings.
Agility, both from our team of talented professionals and in the way we manage spaces and assets, allows faster turnarounds than have been seen previously. A team capable of managing an event end-to-end — from sales to creative and design to operations — can make smart technology choices that ensure bump-in under tight timelines. Strategic design, smart technology and support from our production company with mobile tech allow these professionals to go from a conference to gala, or a virtual event to an in-person meeting, all within the same space, with minimal turnaround time.
Another trend we’ve seen this year and expect to continue is that customers are moving toward wanting unique, bespoke solutions to their meeting needs. Venue partners can stay ahead of the competition by enhancing and maximising the use of their existing spaces.
A traditional venue setup includes installed technology to provide quick solutions for customers. This built-in tech is useful for environments that will be set up in a single configuration more than 80% of the time. This consistency reduces setup time, provides a consistent look and helps get screens and microphones up and running.
With that said, really reaching today’s customers may mean providing a bespoke, flexible solution for each event. Hotels that are able to adapt with less permanent tech, agile event spaces and use of mobile technology, have an advantage in this regard, with greater ROI — this is a subject I will return to in future articles.
The value of adaptability
At Encore, we feel uniquely well-positioned to see the way the events industry is changing. One thing we pride ourselves on at Encore is our ability to listen to both the venue’s and customer’s requests and align with their needs.
A skilled event production company can assist venues and clients with agile ways to transform a conference to a gala dinner and anything in-between by using unique technology to be creative and provide a completely different experience from day to night. In the next edition we will dive deeper into how mobile equipment can be particularly advantageous in creating agile venues.
At Encore, our focus on innovation has kept us in the lead, and we aspire to maintain this position. In all corners of the events space, these values of adaptability, customer-centricity and service will carry immense weight, even as customers’ preferences and technology needs evolve.