Events and MICE industries are constantly evolving under the uninterrupted progress of technology and data analysis. Planning events is reaching new levels of complexity and digitization.
The way our attendees experience different in-person interactions (with other guests, speakers, influencers, and the event environment itself) is also gaining more meaningfulness and value.
Even concepts such as engagement, learning, co-creation and networking are constantly being redesigned and “hacked” for better results. Nothing can stop this race for event efficiency, automation, and growth. It seems that we, as event professionals, can do nothing else but abide by these “new times,” follow the trends, and innovate nonstop.
However, although we might believe that what’s working today in events will never work tomorrow, there are certain truths that will never change, no matter what. Moreover, these specific things are key elements that, apart from securing the event’s success, are actually representing the core of the planning and attending experiences.
These simple, yet essential aspects that define both the human nature of our attendees and the planning logistics will make you think that indeed, even if everything is changing, the basics will always remain the same.
So what are the five truths in the events and MICE industries that will never change regardless of technology? Let’s find out:
Truth #1. Attendees have their own hidden agendas
Motivations look great on paper when combined with statistics. One of the main reasons why people attend events is to acquire knowledge and fresh insights (although in the YouTube era, this one will likely decrease).
Another important reason to register for an event is the possibility of interacting with other people and building contacts (read: exchanging business cards and nothing else). Some people attend an event just for the sake of the experience and to take a break from the monotony of their work routine.
But what about those professionals whose bosses forced them to attend your event and really have no interest in participating or getting the most out of it? And how about those people who want to get hired and are just using your event as a platform to search for a job? Not to mention those sneaky guests who use your event to try to sell their products or services without being asked.
Look, the fact is that, although we like to guess why people attend our events, the truth is that we, in most cases, have no idea about their hidden agendas. And this is something that will never change in the events industry.
What can you do? Define clear attendance and networking parameters and make sure that some of your attendees’ hidden agendas won’t negatively impact other guests. For example, you could moderate the attendees interactions (group discussions, team projects, one-on-one discussions) by giving them specific topics, or make sure to connect the offer and demand based on your audience’s needs and goals.
Truth #2. To achieve your results, bet on transformative experiences
Another thing that won’t change in the events industry is that people crave extraordinary experiences. Perception has shifted.
For example, according to some reports, millennials are prioritizing experiences over stuff or tangible goods. Considering this new economy framework, it’s important to keep in mind that your event’s success depends on how transformative your guests’ experiences were.
Why place an emphasis on “transformative?” If you manage to shift the way your attendees feel, think, or behave (which is extremely hard), then you (and your event) have secured a place in your guests’ memories.
Whether your goal is turn your attendees into customers, build a community, or make them recognize your brand, you can achieve it (at events) only by designing and offering transformative experiences.
Truth #3. Face-to-face interaction platforms are always needed
Yes, the younger generation is more reserved regarding in-person interactions. However, the real potential and beauty of events revolves around the chance of interacting with other like-minded people and build business connections that will hopefully last.
According to a report published by Meetings Mean Business and Skifton what millennials want from meetings, “meetings and events offer the best possible platform to help Millennials expand their networks, customize their self-education, and personalize their career paths.” As a young professional highlighted when interviewed for this report, “When you get to know someone in person, you learn the most essential ingredients of who they are as a human being and as a professional. Looking into someone else’s eyes, smiling and shaking hands are some of the things that help create a kind of connection that is not replaceable digitally.”
In other words, no matter how cool augmented and virtual reality is or how convenient online conferences might be, nothing compares to the in-person interactions events can offer.
Truth #4. To be successful in finding the RIGHT attendees
You can have all the technology in the world and apply the most innovative planning methodologies, but if you don’t attract the right audience, your event will be at risk to fail. Nothing can change that. If you’re talking to the wrong crowd, you won’t obtain any of the results you’re hoping for. So before you even start to plan your event, you need to make sure you find the right attendees.
Truth #5. Technology shouldn't get in the way
Applying the new digital planning solutions and tools can be overwhelming. There are so many things to learn and so many features to remember, it’s easy to feel like going digital might turn into a nightmare.
Not sure what technology to use and how to enrich your planning protocols with timesaving apps or software? Always remember the number one rule: Technology shouldn’t get in the way.
These digital solutions must ease your life and enrich your attendees’ experiences, not complicate your routine tenfold and fail to keep your guests’ attention on the event environment instead of their smartphone screens.
What goes around comes around
We always talk about the latest trend or innovation in the events industry. Yet, some of the basics will, most probably, never change. So instead of trying to chase the latest shiny thing, just focus on mastering the fundamentals and achieve extraordinary results. Good luck!