Conferences and Events in 2018+: Trends

The team at Forum Group presents the trends for corporate events and conferences for 2018 and beyond. By reviewing research collated by industry associations, we reveal the latest strategies to get the most out of your upcoming event.

HOT EVENT TRENDS

#1 – Host more events with fewer resources

#2 – Marketing and promotion will account for the bulk share of event budgets

#3 – Top social media strategies for corporate event planners

#4 – Artificial intelligence will lend brands and planners a helping hand

#5 – Gamification and engagement with your brand onsite creates memorable experiences

#6 – Wellness is featuring more readily in events programs

Events Trend #1

Hosting more events with fewer resources – Creative event planners work around budget restrictions

Conferences and corporate event planners have found ways to deal with their budget constraints. We are expecting event budgets will remain stable until the close of 2018. Despite flattening budgets, the events industry shows no signs of stopping with most research reporting that business is best conducted face-to-face and locally. We expect a majority of corporate event hosts to stage even more events next year.

From a review of industry research, most respondents said their team will remain the same size, while others look to hire more staff in 2019. Agencies like Forum Group Events & Marketing offers event planners a proven solution for managing event budgets of any size and a way to instantly scale project teams with professional, experienced events and marketing personnel. Creative event managers will identify ways to reach objectives without adding pressure on budgets; e.g. strong benchmarking practices, in-house capabilities and leveraging broad networks to produce value adds for corporate event hosts.

Events Trend #2

Marketing and promotion will take majority share of event budgets again
When asked what they’ll increase budgets for in 2018-2019, a majority of those surveyed in the industry research said marketing and promotion. A high percentage of respondents reported that event promotion was their largest expense in 2017. When it comes to event promotion, conferences and corporate events have a lot of tools available in their toolbox. Although the number of marketing tools may seem endless, we have found that the internet’s oldest technology isn’t just the marketing tactic most used to reach attendees — it’s also the most effective.

What makes email so effective for conferences and corporate events? Compared to most promotional tools, it’s the least expensive and most effective. Since it costs 7x more to acquire new attendees than to retain past ones, email invites to past attendees — whose email you captured from previous events produce a higher return on investment (ROI).

However, events see the most success when they avoid sending generic invitations. Research shows that relevant emails drive 18x more revenue than broadcast emails. The team at Forum Group can help you with the design, copywriting, strategic calls to action, scheduling, database segmenting and targeted email campaigns to best promote your event.

Events Trend #3

Social media and Facebook ads drive the most attendance

Social media has become the ultimate event promotion channel. More than two billion people from around the world — including most Australians (79%) regularly use social media. And a quarter of traffic to ticketing and registration pages come from social media. But out of the various social media engagement strategies to choose from, which of them drive the most registrations? From recent research, the most used and most effective social media tactics were contests and Facebook advertising. Social media algorithms surface only the most relevant content for their users. And because contests can incentivise likes and other engagement, conference and corporate event marketers are effectively getting their events in front of more potential attendees. Forum Group’s events marketing managers also recommend Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn for events marketing campaigns that provide a measurable ROI.

If you use Facebook event ads to promote your event, you need to include your registration link to use their event-specific advertising features. Talk to FG’s team about the best way to advertise your event based on the demographic of your attendees.

Events Trend #4

Artificial intelligence is here to help

For years, Forum Group has predicted that AR and VR will become the next big thing for conferences and corporate events. But according to recent research, AR and VR are poised for mass application in 2018and beyond. AI is probably a part of your life already. If you have a smartphone with a virtual assistant, like Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant, then you’ve already experienced a form of AI. Forum Group’s team can guide you through the maze of how to use AI and VR for progressive conferences and corporate events.

Take advantage of robots at your event
Almost 90% of conference and corporate event creators said that reaching new attendees will be an obstacle to their success in 2018. If this is a concern for you talk to Forum Group about automating your event operation and promotions to work more efficiently.

Events Trend #5

Gamification increases engagement for attendees

In 2018 gamification is set to peak in the world of events! Attendee engagement, both before, during and after the event, in addition to gamification activities incorporated into the event experience drives richer insights into attendee behaviours and allows event organisers to make more informed decisions about their business.
Forum Group’s event and marketing managers recommend setting up a gaming corner, networking / ice breaker games, event app games and incentivising engagement through games.

Events Trend #6

Wellness features in event programs

Wellness is an emerging trend to watch as we move towards 2019. Enhancing the attendee experience is not limited to the business program content. It now includes planning elements that increase attendee wellness. Increasing numbers of companies and their meeting owners are looking to appeal to attendee wellbeing throughout meetings and events. Corporate planners are recognising the value of employee and attendee wellbeing and this will shape meetings and events programs. Think about the program, catering, event styling and infrastructure implications this trend will have on your planning.

Don’t let your event be left behind…
Whether you’re hosting a conference or a road show across multiple cities, Forum Group can provide you with the right team to manage your event requirements and quantifiable metrics to gauge your event success. Find out how the right partner can help you future-proof your conference or event, reach more attendees and streamline your operation.
Contact Forum Group on (02) 8302 5523 or email: [email protected].

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