Event Management Trends for 2018: Attendee Experience, AI and Virtual Reality

This year’s IMEX America was buzzing with excitement around the latest event management trends and ideas hitting the meetings and events industry. It’s the U.S.’s largest annual go-to show where meeting planners can discover new ideas and keep up to date with the biggest event management trends in the industry. This year definitely didn’t disappoint! And with keynote speakers like Juliet Funt, Todd Buchholz, and Brent Bushnell, attendees were inspired with ideas on how to flip the norms of business in order to achieve professional and personal goals.

At EventMobi, we believe sharing is caring, so here are the top three event management trends all you planners need to know for 2018.

top event management trends

1. Attendee Experience

One of the event management trends that came up repeatedly was the overall attendee experience. Thinking holistically about the attendee experience is one of the most important factors that should be considered when planning an event. It’s essential the event team be able to place themselves in the attendee’s shoes to ensure they meet, or better yet exceed expectations to create a successful event.

But attendee expectations go far beyond the food and decor, or what’s included in the swag bag. The attendee experience starts right from the very first event invitation through to the last follow up touchpoint, and every interaction affects their perception of the value they get from the event. Attendees are looking for new channels to be engaged by and an easier, more effortless journey across their entire experience.

Two approaches that go hand-in-hand with helping planners enhance the overall attendee experience include design thinking and event technology:

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EventMobi’s CEO, Bob Vaez, spoke at IMEX about the impact of design thinking and event technology on the future of attendee experience. Check out his presentation here.

Design Thinking

By understanding the human-centered and empathy-driven principles of design thinking, planners are able to use a systematic approach when designing events that keeps the attendee experience prioritized at all times. The right kind of design can turn any generic meeting/event into an immersive and effortless experience that drives learning and engagement.

Event Technology

Event technology is now much more sophisticated and comprehensive, spanning across the entire event cycle. This allows for the overall event experience of attendees to be enhanced through better communication, personalization and real-time interaction. And in today’s smartphone-centric world, consumers have come to expect this form of treatment.

An example of a situation where an event app would be useful is when you want to share tips or critical information. An event app makes it easy to send out notifications in real-time. An event app also enables attendees to personalize their schedules and mark off sessions or activities they want to attend. Check-in apps can now speed up the registration process at events, and even facial recognition may one day replace attendee badges.

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Read this blog post for eight tips on how to create personalized attendee event experiences.

2. Artificial Intelligence & Chatbots

With 95% of smartphone users using a text or messaging app everyday, the interface is naturally an event management trend for event organizers to use to customize attendee communication.

Apps can now be designed with customer service plugins and chatbots to answer attendee queries. They’re easy to deploy on multiple platforms and there’s no need to download another app. They can work through 3rd party messaging apps already installed on the user’s device.

So whether it’s questions about what time the keynote speaker starts or what time your exhibitors can start setting up, chatbots are an easy way for attendees to get an immediate response to their questions, while allowing your team’s event staff to focus on other event details.

3. Advances in Augmented and Virtual Reality

Last year, augmented and virtual reality adoption was on the rise as one of the event management trends but there was still hesitation. This year, the technology has exploded and is reaching the tipping point of becoming mainstream. It offers many exciting and interesting use cases such as creating virtual events, enhancing the live event experience, and mobile options.

Leveraging the power of augmented and virtual reality can allow users to visualize session rooms, virtually design booths and perform site inspections; allowing attendees to better interact with booths, and create exciting interactive opportunities like never before.

Since the introduction of augmented and virtual reality apps on the latest Google and Apple smartphones, this new technology has the potential to become mainstream in a way that was never before possible.

Ready to learn more?

As an event app provider, we at EventMobi understand every event and attendee is different and requires a customized experience. That’s why one of our top priorities is to provide you with the knowledge and technology to meet the needs of your company, attendees, and sponsors.

For a more in-depth look at how to use event app features to enhance attend experiences, download the Ultimate Guide to Event App Customization.  

If you’re ready to see how an event app can enhance your attendee experience, schedule a demo with an EventMobi consultant today.


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