Top 7 Event Planning Trends

Dena Rose, CMEP, CMP, CMM at Fernley & Fernley

Meetings are ever evolving, growing, and changing with new attendee demands. Address these event planning trends and questions and you’ll appreciate improved outcomes. How do you, as the event planning organizer, decide which direction to go? What will be an absolute need versus a want? What will attract more attendees or deter them from attending? And, most importantly, how will this all fit into your budget?
Here are just a handful of features that the attendee is looking for:

Location, location, location:

According to research by the Experience Institute, 71% of attendees consider the location as part of the determining factor to attend a conference or not. Out of that percentage, 20 – 30% say it is the deciding factor.
  • Event Safety and Security: This should be the top of everyone’s concerns when looking at a destination or venue. Attendees want to know that you have taken into consideration how safe the local region is, time of year for natural disasters, impending events, rally’s or other functions that could impact their livelihood. And that you are on top of it even after the contracts are signed and registration is open. Communication is key for the attendees.
  • Control: Attendees now want more control over the agenda according to Social Tables. They want additional options as to how they spend their time – 96% believe events should be more personalized with opportunities to suit everyone.
  • Wellness Influences:  Stress and work life balance have become more prevalent than ever. The attendees want healthy food options as the number of vegetarians, vegans and those with food sensitivities continue to grow daily. They are also looking for mindfulness techniques and yoga offerings. The thinking goes well beyond whether the venue has a well-equipped gym or not. Be creative and develop your own area.
  • Sustainability: It now goes beyond recycle bin and re-using the towels in your sleeping room. Attendees are looking for a holistic approach to reduce the overall events carbon footprint. This includes food waste, asking attendees to bring their own re-useable cups (or offering them as swag), and eliminating printed paper.
  • Event Technology: Who doesn’t have a smartphone these days? With attendees asking for less printed paper, they are expecting the opportunity to have an all-encompassing event app. The options are endless to fit what your attendees are looking for and to fit your budget. Of course, when offering an app, you will need to include WiFi at no additional cost to the attendee.
  • Event WiFi: When preparing for your event or meeting, ensure that the location has enhanced event WiFi capabilities. You don’t have to use the facilities standard services. Explore your options and ensure your guests are well-connected without a concern of a broadband bust.

Gone are the days of your basic RFP that focused on meeting space and sleeping room rates. As the need to know your attendee intensifies significantly with each event, the need to customize your RFP to meet those requirements grows with it. Keeping up with what your attendees event wants and needs and help them to succeed in their profession should be first and foremost when your event is still in the concept stage.

If you’re looking for extra support when preparing for your event or meeting, contact us today. Leverage our years of experience and hundreds of contacts to make your event the best for your organization and attendees.