Although the industry initially bounced back strongly after the global pandemic with a renewed desire for in-person events being seen, circumstances have once again conspired to create a tricky landscape for event planners to navigate. Erin Flett, Head of Business Development at Aberdeen Science Centre, looks at ways to make your event work harder.
The event industry is facing challenging times. CWT’s 2023 Global business travel forecast predicts that the average cost-per-attendee in 2022 is expected to be around 25% higher than 2019 levels. They also anticipate that it will rise a further 7% in 2023. This is due to a combination of factors.
This prediction that the cost of putting on events will continue to increase is no surprise. We’re all too familiar with news about rising inflation and continuing political concerns, both at home and abroad.
Unsurprisingly these factors have led to higher costs being seen in the event sector. This, coupled with the industry’s ongoing staff shortages post pandemic have created a challenging scenario for event organisers to navigate.
One of the things we did at Aberdeen Science Centre was to offer event organisers the chance to ‘pick their perk’. For a limited period, they could benefit from incentives including discounted room hire, or bacon rolls on arrival. We found that offering incentives to help organisers combat rising costs was effective.
Erin also suggests that event organisers who want to give their event the best chance of success can use this year’s key event trends to their advantage.
Promotion of your event is key to its success. Recent research released by Eventbrite suggests that 64% of attendees will decide which events to go to based on what they see online.
You need to make sure that you attract the right audience. This means promoting your event with engaging content on the correct channels. Organisers need to understand which social media platform their target demographic is more likely to use.
Ensuring event promotion is targeted in this way increases the likelihood that promotional material will be seen by the intended audience.
Virtual reality and augmented reality
Technology is a key trend for events in 2023. Erin highlights including new technologies in events as being a factor for success.
Augmented reality allows the user to interact with a virtual environment or with virtual objects using smart phones or other devices. This can be used to great effect at events, drawing the user in and encouraging them to engage with the available content.”
Virtual reality (VR) is also on the increase. The global VR market is expected to increase by over 10 billion US dollars, going from less than 12 billion US dollars in 2012 to more than 22 billion US dollars by 2025.
The increasing popularity of virtual reality technology means that it is becoming more accessible. It's likely that we will see an increase in the use of VR at events, as organisers look to give their delegates a truly immersive experience.
There are many elements to consider when it comes to ensuring your event is sustainable. Erin recommends that event organisers should incorporate sustainability throughout their event plan.
It is vital to address economic and environmental concerns, and by doing so, promote sustainable behaviour which results in a lasting, sustainable legacy. Things to consider include promoting sustainable transport options, using local resources, and buying in any necessary services from the local area.
Organisers can also look at the possibility of live streaming their event. This reduces unnecessary travel and has the bonus of potentially opening the event up to a wider audience.
Events are likely to include an increasing number of digital touchpoints. These should be supported by technology which make them as accessible as possible.
Accessibility is second nature to most event organisers but they need to consider how technology can be used to make events even more accessible. For example, people who have difficulty seeing may benefit from the provision of screen readers, a device which enables them to access and interact with digital content.
Another example is voice recognition. Many of us use this daily without even thinking about it, just think how often we ask Alexa, Google or Siri to do something for us. It is not a stretch to think that similar technology can be incorporated into events to improve digital accessibility.
The digital touchpoints are dual purpose. They should enhance the delegate experience, but an added benefit is that they should also offer the event organiser additional opportunities to measure attendee engagement, before, during and after the event.
There is no escaping the fact that the events industry continues to face challenges, and this does not look set to change any time soon. However savvy event organisers who implement industry trends appropriately will undoubtedly see the benefit both in terms of the numbers of delegates who attend their events and in the post event experience.
Photo credit: Wullie Marr, DC Thomson.