Here's the thing you may not have noticed: the collaborative economy is gradually reshaping the event industry. New opportunities related to the sharing economy are empowering more and more event managers by offering new solutions and fresh perspectives.
According to Marco Böckmann (University of Twente, Netherlands), "The 'shared economy' describes a type of business model that builds on the sharing of resources between individuals through peer-2-peer services–allowing customers to access goods when needed."
The author notes, "The term 'rent' is becoming the new 'own'; why should you own something when you can rent it cheaper from someone else? This shift is facilitated by online services that enable people to share items like cars, accommodations, and even smaller objects such as bikes and household appliances, with others that are willing to pay for it."
"OK, but what does this have to do with event planning?" you may be thinking.
Though it may seem like a collaborative economy and event planning have no correlation, the truth is that many of these shared services can enhance the reach of your event.
Take a look at the following examples and decide how you can harness the potential of the sharing economy when designing, planning, and running your next event.
Shared event venues
There are already services focused on helping event managers share event infrastructure and venues. By using this type of platform, you can save money, rent your event equipment, and find great venues. Moreover, you'll place sharing at the heart of the event-planning process, promoting the sustainability and the collaborative mindset. Plus, searching for venues and equipment the same way you search for a house via Airbnb sounds like a fun experience.
People sharing cars to travel long distances, attendees sharing airport shuttle buses to or from the hotel or event venue... You see the connection, right?
Shared mobility (which moves beyond services such as Uber) encompasses lots of possibilities for you as an event manager. Instead of just including the traditional transportation options on your event site, you can include shared mobility options as alternatives. Don't forget to indicate how much each alternative costs and any additional benefits.
You rely on other people's opinions all the time without even realizing it. Let's say you want to choose a good restaurant for your event's speakers, or maybe you want to find a new catering service. What’s the first thing you do? Check the establishment's ratings and recommendations through TripAdvisor, Yelp, and its business page on Facebook. These review websites provide you with dozens of different experiences and opinions with just the click of a mouse.
Why are you assuming that your attendees will automatically want to stay in a hotel? Airbnb is also an option. Apart from the fact that this hosting platform is threatening the hotel business, it’s a cheaper and often better alternative for your guests.
Think about that: your international attendees sharing a living space with residents who can advise them on the city exploration, local customs, and culture. You can't deny that services such as Airbnb can enrich the event experience of your guests (which a hotel might not necessarily provide).
Usually you plan events to promote crowdfunding campaigns. How about crowdfunding your events? When looking for sponsors, why not set up a strong campaign to gather the money you need? Of course, this will require a lot of work, yet it’s risk-free and a great way to promote your event.
Choose the crowdfunding platform that suits you best, design a powerful strategy, create the necessary content, and gain access to a new way to collect money for your events.
A great event planner is much more than just somebody who plans and runs good events. A great event planner foresees and understands how the new social and economic dynamics can influence the industry by opening the gates to new opportunities.
So why not take these possibilities into account the next time you plan an event? The ball is in your court now. After all, sharing is caring, isn't?