Five must-haves when planning your event in 2019
The world around us is changing, and so are our expectations. This means your delegates are arriving at your events with higher expectations and more varied needs.
Here are 5 musts that need to be on your agenda for any event you put on this year.
Gone are the days where people were happy to turn up at an event, sit down for 8 hours, drift off to sleep a few times, check some emails and leave. Today’s events require interactivity and 2-way communication. At the very least, your delegates need a way to be able to answer polls, or ask questions of their own, which can be displayed on screen or answered on stage. This is usually done through an app, and it doesn’t cost loads of money either. There are lots of great solutions out there that are even free.
On top of simple in-conference, interactivity, make use of the networking spaces too. Place mini-experiences into the networking spaces, to allow your delegates to become active during their breaks. Things such as ‘graffitti walls’ where delegates can place their thoughts on the content so far are a good example. More techy examples include things such as Instagram Mosaic generators and interactive flip-disc displays. It all depends on your budget. The important thing is the interactivity – don’t let your delegates get bored, or become idle.
Wellness is big news, and for good reason! Truthfully, events such as conferences, product launches and exhibitions are all bad for our health. Sitting down for long periods of time in large rooms full of people, with little to no access to sunlight – it’s not ideal. People now want to keep well, and maintain their healthy lifestyle, even when they’re attending events. So your job, as an events organiser, is to help them with this.
Usually this would start with the food. Always include healthy options, and cater for all dietary requirements. However, wellness extends far beyond food. Think about including quiet zones in your events where people can take in some peace and tranquillity, or if you’re organising a conference, build in periods where people can go for walks or exercise. However you do it will differ depending on your event and venue, but one thing is certain – wellness needs to be on the agenda.
Your event starts long before the day it happens, and it should continue for a long time after it’s all packed up. That’s because you should view your event as the climax of a wider communication campaign. Start the event experience long before with an invitation that is of the same quality as the event itself. Make sure the way you are delivering the information before the event is adding value to your delegates, and not simply overloading them with information.
Plus, after the event, keep the conversation going. There will have been tonnes of new debates thrown up during your event, so continue this by building a community. Open up an online community where people can share their experiences of the event, or their thoughts on what they saw and heard. However you do it, look at your event as the peak in a wider campaign. Not doing this is too big an opportunity to miss.
SMOOTH DELEGATE EXPERIENCE
At CWA, we don’t talk about events anymore, we talk about DX (Delegate Experience). The experience starts long before the day of the event and continues for a long time after. Your delegates’ tolerance for a clunky, and old-fashioned delegate experience is now at an all time low. This means that your registration process needs to be smooth. It means their check-in system needs to be seamless, and that they have all the information they need whenever they need it. The way to achieve a seamless DX is through a combination of the latest technology and friendly, passionate people.
There is some amazing technology available to aid your DX process. Primarily there are a host of online registration tools, that all link to apps. These apps then host the data and agendas for the event, even allowing the delegate to personalise their own agenda, based on the key parts of the event they want to attend. Another great example is the emergence of facial-recognition software. This means that your delegates, as long as they provide a good quality photo before the event, can be personally greeted wherever they go. When they arrive at the check-in desk, the screen will automatically know who they are, and will deliver their name badge instantly. However, it doesn’t matter how good the tech is, if your on-site staff aren’t personable, composed and professional you can forget the whole thing. It’s the people that make the real difference to the DX – the technology simply allows your staff to spend more of their time looking after delegates, rather than frantically flicking through reams of paper reports.
Lots of time, money and materials go into events – that’s no secret. However, what happens to these materials after the event is less well known. In many cases, it’s thrown away and wasted. In 2019, this needs to stop. As event organisers, we all need to take sustainability seriously. Where possible, we should be using recycled materials. Where possible, we should be using screen content instead of printed content. And where possible, we should be planning how to use this material after the event rather than throwing it away. This isn’t a new event trend in 2019, this is just common sense.
There are your 5 musts for your 2019 event, but remember, these are MUSTS. That means these are the basics. There is now so much opportunity created by new technology that can truly bring your events to life right now. Technologies such as AR offer options for brand new experiences that will turn your event from average to shareable. So revisit the CWA blog for more tricks and tips to make your event the one that’s talked about this year.