Who Is Tomorrow’s Attendee?

The next generation of convention-goers isn’t content to sit quietly and observe. What are they looking for instead?

Illustration by Leif Parsons
Illustration by Leif Parsons

In our July cover story, we looked at how the convention center is evolving, from the point of view of award-winning  architects who specialize in convention center design.  And if there is one thing that is top of mind, said tvdesign’s Robert Svedberg, whose firm designed Nashville’s Music City Center, it is “Who are the future customers and how can we make these buildings work for them? And that mostly boils down to the question of what Millennials want.”

Every segment of the market is grappling with dramatically different behavior patterns from the next generation, says Todd Voth, a senior principal at Populous. In a talk he delivered at the 2014 Airport Consultants Council/American Association of Airport Executives Airport Planning, Design, and Construction Symposium in Denver, Voth offered five top characteristics of tomorrow’s attendee:


1. Demand authenticity and aren’t afraid to share their opinions with their vast network of contacts.

2. Are intrigued by early adoption of new forms of technology and social tools.

3. Are responsive to experiential marketing in lieu of traditional advertising.

 4. Are unwilling to be bystanders, and instead desire the opportunity to participate in the creation of new experiences. 

5.  Seek fun and adventure.

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer is senior editor and director of digital content.