How many of these trends have you seen in action this year?
1. Attendees want to be participants at events, not passive observers soaking in whatever is being served up like sponges. New room set-ups and more use of interactive media will create a more experiential kind of learning.
2. Technology will continue to plug attendees into all aspects of a live conference, from pre-event (helping to shape the conference program and connect with fellow attendees) to on site (tweeting, posting pictures to Facebook, and videos to Instagram), to post-event (continuing conference conversations in online forums and discussion groups)
3. There will be more and deeper networking opportunities. Attendees come to events to connect with other attendees as well as to listen to “the experts.” Other attendees are the experts.
4. Mobile apps will keep getting easier to use and more accessible, with intuitiveness and user experience as priorities.
5. The number of apps incorporating geo-location — a virtual perimeter around a geographic location or locations — will grow. Read more about geo-location, also called geo-fencing, in our November issue.
6. Wi-Fi everywhere will be the new normal. Our mobile devices go everywhere with us and we now depend on being able to use them everywhere, too.
7. There will more personalization of technology. The meeting and trade-show attendee of the future won’t be getting the same messaging as every other attendee, but rather will get offers tailored to specific needs and interests. (Look for our story in the January issue about geo-location and personalization.)
8. Language translation tools will begin to be incorporated into apps.
9. Images are becoming the ruling media on the web, and we will continue to see tools that make it easier to create and share pictures and videos.
10. Risk will stop being a bad word. Successful planners will overcome their natural inclination to fall back on tried-and-true formats, programs, room sets, networking opportunities, and spaces, etc. to create new experiences for attendees.