We heard common themes from event professionals and exhibitors at IAEE’s Expo! Expo! in Louisville last month. Here's an inside look at our biggest takeaways and what to expect from the industry in 2023.
Trouble from recent mergers and acquisitions:
People recognize the power of a one-stop-shop event tech platform, so we’ve seen event tech companies merging or acquiring tech tools over the past few years. But these new, larger entities are a double-edged sword.
On the plus side, these technologies come together to create multi-feature platforms. The advancements arm meeting planners with the resources and flexibility to deliver whatever event format is best for that day.
On the negative side, event organizers said this hurts their user experience because they aren’t getting the tech support they need. Also, the merged technologies aren’t yet compatible or don’t communicate with one another.
For these reasons, event hosts are now opting for in-house developed event tech that is integrated properly and provides a higher level of customer support.
AV issues and challenges:
We know many AV techs were let go during COVID. What we heard is that the rapid return to in-person events reveals the challenges of re-staffing. Organizers claimed they are constantly dealing with less experienced staff and teams.
AV is not an area where you want to settle for less than the best because of all the problems that can occur. Event hosts trust their AV techs to predict, prevent, and swiftly address potential roadblocks and technical issues that can arise. The inexperienced staff shows through, resulting in event glitches, downtime, and embarrassing situations.
The treasure troves of attendance tracking and RFID:
As event hosts transition back to in-person events, they don't want to lose the treasure trove of data they were able to capture with virtual events. Is that even possible? And how do you use that information to enhance the overall attendee experience?
What we heard the most: How can I affordably capture this data?
Attendance tracking and RFID badge technology empower hosts to record, with great precision, which sessions and meetings are best attended, how long people stay, and other nuggets of valuable data. This means event professionals can get a complete picture of how an event did, down to the level of each attendee (if desired). And it doesn’t have to break the budget. Many providers, like TWST Events, puts business intelligence in your hands with customizable and cost-effective packages. Make more informed decisions for the future, based on what worked (and what didn't).
Face-to-face events are back (but theres's a catch):
It’s clear from the tremendous outpouring of people that industry professionals want to be together again, in person. Our team agrees, being in the booth and meeting attendees in-person is the best way to create connections and meet potential new business. And it's a joy and now “a treat” to see others in person. Live events are now and will continue to be, undeniably powerful.
But there’s a catch…attendees won’t spend their time to fly across the country for an event without experience. With the rise of digital content, people can watch, read, and review content from anywhere. They can’t get those memorable experiential moments watching from their desk at home. Attendees want someothing to talk about and post about. It’s what will get them to come back year after year.
Virtual components are here to stay:
There will continue to be health and safety constraints at live events, as well as budget constraints and issues for certain individuals to be able to travel (such as parents with young children). If nothing else, the pandemic taught us that we could take advantage of being online to attend, if we can’t be there in person. And it can expand the potential reach of an organization outside of a city, region, or country.
Guests still want the option to engage with potential buyers, build connections with industry peers, and get CEU credits online. We heard it time and time again, there is exhaustion in watching content online. But you are limiting your audience and potential revenue if you eliminate virtual events components. It doesn’t have to be complex, as long as your incorporate interaction between attendees and the speaker.
In fact, we heard from other event professionals that you should NOT try to emulate the in-person experience through a virtual format. They should be two different products with two different price points. You don’t want your in-person attendees to thin kthey can get the same experience without traveling.
1-to-1 Meeting Programs:
Multiple event hosts and organizers mentioned needing event technology that is flexible and customizable enough to support a wide variety of events, from annual association meetings to educational programs to trade shows. 1-to-1 meetings ensure that sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, and attendees can meet the people they most want to see. But too often, they feel locked to one format that does not fit all.
Is there anything in the market to ensure people meet 1-to-1 with the people they most want to see? Yes! Look no further and schedule a demo with TWST Events - we can assist.