The event world keeps evolving. Even though it’s been a few years since the COVID crisis changed events forever, the future is still innovating rather than going back to pre-COVID standards. One of the reasons for this we hear most often at VIBE is that event planners and clients have found exciting new opportunities in exploring technologies, micro-events, and more.
As we start 2024, here are a few trends to watch for in the year ahead.
Smarter Spending and More Cost Controls
It’s always a good practice to keep unnecessary expenses at a minimum. The trend for 2024 however is more about proving return on investment (ROI) for event clients.
In other words, every cost is now being expected to produce a response that ideally contributes to the company’s bottom-line success. The “marketing” in event marketing is increasingly being judged more strictly by the same standards as traditional advertising and public relations.
Demand for Quality Venues
The return to in-person events has come with increased competition for the hottest spaces in the most desirable locations. Even last year, it wasn’t unusual to find popular venues, hotels, and event spaces booked solid for months in advance, or offering only limited windows of availability to execute the event on short notice.
As a result, you need to pivot quickly and have back-up options, even for your back-up options. Now is the time to nurture your vendor relationships and stay in close contact with your favorite spaces to ensure you know their booking status before you center an entire plan around that one place.
Digital is Dominant
The lines between digital interactions and real life are becoming even more seamless. Specialized content for mobile devices, wearable tech, virtual experiences, QR code agendas and signage, and traditional food, beverage, and entertainment are all equal elements in the event planner’s toolbox.
Look to incorporate more digital touchpoints into your events – in person, hybrid, and 100 virtual. Besides being a preferred method of engagement for attendees, each digital interaction allows you to collect meaningful data you’ll be happy to have when calculating ROI.
Now that WFH and remote work have settled into our business lives, the need for internal events has risen. Keeping talented team members interested, happy, and loyal to the company is best achieved when they can to connect with other team members.
These need not be formal conferences or expensive reward trips (although those are always fun). It can be as simple as some themed icebreakers for in-person internal meetings, or a unique lunch concept like an Asian street noodle bar or a seasonal farmer’s market buffet when hosting monthly department gatherings.
Event planners have always been challenged to do more with less… and that’s still the case for 2024 and beyond. Prepare to demonstrate value throughout the process, either in measurable metrics or in the time saving and convenience that you can offer. And don’t be afraid to reach out to your industry resources like VIBE to find out where you can pool your talent and connections to create more win-win scenarios for everyone.