Get ahead for 2019 with EventIt’s industry training day at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh
Picture the scene. Chairs at every angle, plates full of unscoffed sandwiches, nonrecyclable coffee cups a-gogo, and tote bags disgorging their shiny, slippery contents onto the floor. Add to that the mish-mash of lanyards, discarded delegate badges and broken pop-up stands, and the ‘landscape’ quickly becomes clear. The tableau, when viewed from afar, is more akin to a BATTLEFIELD than a well-ordered end to a conference or meeting.
This, for all the ‘chat’ about doing things differently, is the everyday reality of an events planner; whether they’re putting on an event in the biggest convention hall, or a tiny boutique meeting, the experience is familiar: of tired and sometimes tiresome speakers, uninspiring content, and registration badges with your name or company misspelled.
The format, also, is staid: death by PowerPoint, followed by what can only be described as a ‘sea of beige’ for your lunch. Networking, for most, is stultifyingly awkward, made all the worse by ‘aircon’ which has the temperature range of an oven-cum-fridge. If you make it past the breakout sessions (and let’s be honest, this is usually your first available window to ‘escape’), then you can be rest assured that a post-prandial nap at the back of the plenary will enable you to catch up on a few Zzzzz’s. At the end of the day, and by this point you really do deserve an attendance medal, a ‘wrap-up’ session will rehash the precious few ‘best bits’ of the day, before you join a stampede to the nearest exit.
It doesn’t have to be this way, of course. And for anyone who has shelled out anything from £100 to £1,500 for a business event ticket, it really shouldn’t. What’s Trending in Events 2019 is Christmas come early as far as the events industry in Scotland is concerned and for planners who want to fill their stockings with the very best industry consumables – from advances in delegate management technology, to designing successful meeting formats for your attendees, to delivering that perfect ‘customer experience’ – there is no better place to be on December 12.
What’s Trending in Events 2019 will be an immersive, genuinely content rich environment which will equip you with the best tips, techniques and trends for the year ahead. You will start the day with renowned industry speakers:
- Kim Myhre, Managing Director, MCI Experience;
- Linda Pereira, Executive Director of CPL Meetings & Events, Lisbon;
- Rob Davidson, Managing Director, MICE Knowledge.
They will equip you with all the latest events industry trends, from changing audience demographics to creating the perfect customer journey; you will then delve deep into a series of quick-fire interactive industry sessions, on everything from event tech to branding, food and well-being.
It can be pretty hard to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to the business of events, so we’ve done the job for you. How? By literally talking to everyone we know who does events (which is a lot), and researching every worldwide event trend. All you have to do is turn up and check out all we have to offer. Amazingly comprehensive, amazingly erudite, and amazingly curated, the interactive sessions will fill your mind with new ideas, populate your contacts book and inspire you to produce the best events money can’t buy.
Artificial Intelligence may be a term that fills you with dread (do I really have to learn about this stuff?), but we can assure you that the future is just around the corner. Before long, robots will be doing your job, so find out how to retire early with some help from your trusty algorithmic assistant. Just kidding!
- The ‘why’
It’s an old adage but when designing a succesful event, less really is more. Try to resist the temptation to throw in endless amounts of needless ‘add-ons’; yes, it’s nice to have a drinks reception where the cocktail waiters are dressed as Bugsy Malone or Fats Domino, but what has that got to do with a new pair of goggles you are launching for the swimwear market? Keep your message simple and clear, and at the heart of what you are trying to communicate. Don’t let the fluff overtake the substance.
Did you know that after a trade show, the carpets that are used for a single day are simply ripped up and carted off to landfill? Or that the average delegate produces 28kg of waste at a three-day conference, compared to just 6kg if they stayed at home? And that doesn’t even begin to factor in the carbon footprint as their Boeing 737 spews climate-changing contrails into the atmosphere. To its shame, the events industry is second only to construction in terms of the most wasteful sectors. We need to up our game, so we’ll share a few handy tips that can, we hope, be easily implemented.
Plenary, followed by breakout, and a spot of lunch in a bland exhibition area where people are patently struggling to exhibit signs of life, let alone sell their products or services. Sprinkle with some windows for networking where delegates awkwardly sidle up to each other to mutter some unintelligble remarks about how much they are ‘enjoying’ their day and you’ve successfully described 99.9% of business events. It. Doesn’t. Have. To. Be. This. Way. If you want to truly inspire and engage your delegates, break the mould, be brave, and organise your meetings differently. We have a few ideas about that.
- Facial recognition
Event registration is complicated, often messy and varies massively between events. No one seems to have cracked it, but with the advent of facial recognition, is this the unique identifier we will all adopt as the best practice model of the future?
- Healthy options
Ok, back to the ‘sea of beige’. It’s not that lunches are all bland, sweaty masses of freeze dried and reheated junk food, but this is an issue. We have a national problem, in particular. Obesity rates are around a fifth higher in Scotland among adults than they were at the turn of the century. So, as events organisers, we have a responsibility to take dietary options seriously. Think about nutrition as well as provenance; cutting sugar, salt and our hugely calorific consumption habits should be a responsibility we all share.
People are obsessed with food, perhaps now more than ever. In an event sense, food offers so many opportunities to engage your delegates, whether it’s through, ‘theatre’, ‘food art’, or sustainable sourcing. Thinking about what you serve your audience should be a deeper conversation than whether you opt for brown or white bread.
The written word is an evocative tool but many simply tune out. A PowerPoint full of graphs about homelessness is not going to tell the story as well as someone in front of a camera telling the story of how their life spiralled out of control. Video offers depth, narrative and insight into your subject, whether deployed preevent, during or afterwards, or ideally all three, if your budget can stretch to it. It requires creative input from your side, but if harnessed well, with good production values, video is a brilliant medium to exploit for events.
- Ticketing In a post-GDPR world, the data you capture from your registrants should be closely guarded and used only for ‘legitimate’ purposes. Of course, you all know that. But in a world where security and privacy are quickly becoming the watchwords, why not get ahead of the pack by offering your delegates a ticketing experience where security is ‘baked in’? Events organisers, meet Blockchain.
It may strike you as a bit offbeat and hippyish, but a full-day’s conference requires a lot of concentration, and for many delegates attending an event can in itself be very stressful. Creating a positive environment brings an air of calmness to proceedings which may also yield better results: why not increase engagement by ‘taking five’, or providing a Wi-Fi free area for device disengagement (resulting in a more focused delegate); there are many different ways to inject a bit of serenity into your event. So, call for Yogi, and don’t make a Boo Boo.
Everyone is talking about platforms in events. It’s perhaps the one area where Scotland is playing catch-up to the rest of the world. We have precious few homegrown event technologists who are looking to streamline the event management process from beginning to end, from registration to ticketing, marketing and production. But they are out there – and we’ve found a few for you to talk to. Don’t be shy.
- Virtual /Augmented Reality
If you’ve not tried it, get yourself a Google Cardboard for £11.55 and give it a go. It is genuinely flabbergasting how VR/AR can throw you into a completely different world. At EventIt HQ we have wandered around a Roman military encampment and sat in a boat next to a breaching whale. There are limitless possibilities when it comes to this rich, immersive technology as a means of enhancing your event. And we’ve highlighted the price point for a reason – it can be very cheap!
Always try and leave your guests with a memory that is likely to be a party piece for years to come. Making a lasting impression is a strange mix of events alchemy, serendipity and good luck. But it can be done, and it needn’t be expensive. Hyper attention to detail when it comes to customer service is just as likely to impress as a squadron of vintage cars to ferry your guests around the NC500. We know of an event guest who told her hosts of her love of nightime beach-strolling, only to find a pair of wellies and a torch in her room when she retired for the evening. That’s how to capture hearts.
The teambuilding market is, to use a well-worn phrase, ‘going gangbusters’. Gone are the days (thankfully) where the boss enthuses the team around a game of office skittles. Instead, thanks to a much-needed change of culture and, frankly, better taste, we are now able to delve into ‘experiential’ pursuits, whether that’s a tech-driven treasure hunt around the city, or a proper no-holds-barred test of your survival skills when dropped by a helicopter into the perishing waters of the Outer Hebrides. If you want to really build a team with the ability to cohere around a project, test them in the ultimate setting
Sexing up an international association conference on metallurgy is always going to be a challenge. But sometimes when you move away from the subject matter and appreciate its actual impact on society, you hit that all-important Eureka moment, and start to build an event’s ‘story’. Et voila, you have a brand!
- Social media
A good social media strategy recognises not only the value of projecting an event to a potentially global audience, but also links to other core marketing functions such as raising awareness of your brand, building a two-way conversation, extending and celebrating your values in a way that is genuinely appealing and engaging. Too much social media activity is poorly-thought through, clumsily delivered and inauthentic.
Sound like a training opportunuty too good to miss? Register now to get ahead of the curve for 2019.