Expanded creativity, exponential use of technology and personalised experiences are just some of the trends emerging in events.
Event organising company Event Planet has reflected on the changes it has witnessed in the event industry as it celebrates 10 years in business this month.
Event Planet was established by Amy Merriman, after she returned to Australia following a successful event career in the UK. The organisation, which designs and manages special events, conferences and meetings, has seen some big shifts over the last decade.
Merriman says the ‘anonymous sit-down, three-course set dinner with a big-named band has been superseded.
‘Clients want more interactive environments for their guests, even with large audiences,’ says Merriman.
‘Attending an event is no longer about being a spectator; it’s become about guest participation- ensuring they have a memorable, meaningful experience.’
Merriman thinks this trend is due in part to the time-poor way of life for most people.
‘Event organisers need to give guests a real reason to leave their family or work and come out. We continually have to pose the question to ourselves: “What else can we do to make this event special?”’
‘For example, clever, thoughtful gifts always make an impact. For a recent event, we provided Converse sneakers in everyone’s sizes. It’s these touches that are growing in importance to ensure a truly unique event.’
Another big shift has come in entertainment.
Roving entertainment is more preferred than 10 years ago as it’s seen as away to get guests experiencing the brand through theming.
‘We recently organised a large cocktail party for a global FMCG client which included jungle-style, air brushed body painting on animal-costumed performers. It really hit the spot and achieved the main objectives of the event -a key indicator for success. It built a sense of community for the audience – producing a shared dose of fun,’ says Merriman.
Laura Sage, General Manager, Event Planet has also seen a big swing in clients becoming more confident to leave the CBD and consider suburban locations.
‘Budgets are no longer used up on the venue hire; instead, we seek out unusual event spaces,’ says Sage.
‘Alternatively, a really creative theme needs to be injected into a well-trodden event space – to continually surprise audiences and exceed their expectations.
‘Our creation of a silver-service event for 40 people in the middle of the Sydney Cricket Ground is a good example of how the quest continues to create experiences the audience couldn’t replicate for themselves.’
Technology is another important driver for evolution in the events industry and provides an additional layer of connection.
‘Recently, we organised six simultaneous events for a client for a total of 3,500 people across different cities. Each event got to see photos from the other sites which were projected live together with tweets streamed from its participants,’ says Sage.
‘The use of technology bridged the gap of geography for this internal communications event – giving the staff a sense of unified identity and nurturing an organisational culture like never before.’
So what’s in store for the events industry in the coming decade?
With event organisers understanding the importance of expanded creativity and cultivating real connections with audiences, more touch-points will be required (and expected)due to the rise of social media and the ongoing search for creating intimate, personalised experiences.
Although, one thing has remained the same in Merriman’s eyes, and that is the role of really well-organised events.
‘Events will continue to be about giving the audience lasting experiences that they will remember for a very long time. If people are still talking about the positive aspects of an event long after it’s over, then you know it’s been a success,’ concludes Merriman.