Skift Take

The event of the future is a co-created hybrid mechanism of live and virtual engagement, fluidly connecting more people through more channels over longer periods of time to leverage the collective knowledge of the community.

Last week we launched our first ever magazine, “Megatrends Defining Travel in 2015“, where we identify the global trends in travel in 2015 and beyond, and focus on three emerging key themes: Mobile. Seamless. Experiential. Below is an extract from the second trend.

There’s an unprecedented systemic shift in the global conferences and events industry. TED/TEDx, South by Southwest, C2MTL, OpenWorld and a slew of new innovation/tech summits are leading the event industry renaissance, and more and more planners are taking notice and reworking their events.

The rise of new event technology affecting every stage of the event planning process. The traditional methods of learning and networking are no longer effective because everyone is so easily distracted by their digital devices within close reach.

Event planners are building more interdisciplinary events by bringing new voices from new sectors into the experience to deliver more layered meaning and context. Next generation attendees crave a creative mashup of global perspectives and intelligence pathways connecting thought leaders within and without their specific industry.

Even physical meeting setups are being deconstructed based on increasing realization that informal learning and networking are driving as much business as formal meetings.

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Also, audience response apps and web-based platforms are shifting delegates from passive observers into active participants, delivering more immersive and targeted discussions. Beacons, wearable tech and virtual/augmented reality could further push these trends.

Event apps have evolved beyond just being add-on components to the meetings and event experience. Today, they are the experience. Modern apps are now sophisticated knowledge hubs hosting schedules, speaker/attendee profiles, session content, in-app messaging and social media, user generated content, polls and rating functionalities, destination info and more. Planners are also using event apps to deliver a full suite of event metrics to meeting owners.

Event websites are evolving to create hybrid events marrying face-to-face and virtual experiences with content posting months before and after the physical event, to extend attendee engagement and expand participant reach. Planners are using these platforms to crowdsource new ideas and empower attendees to virtually co-create events.

Every major event will eventually be considered hybrid when planners no longer think of them as a specific time and place. Instead, the event of the future is an integrated, open-source, international knowledge-sharing ecosystem.

Destination marketing organizations are trying to adapt by transcending their traditional roles of tourism promotion into proactive roles as economic and product development accelerators. Those at the very leading edge are bringing their local business, academic, creative and cultural influencers together with visiting groups to add more value and build long-term business relationships.

“For our clients, we don’t see them in the tourism space,” says Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO of Business Events Sydney. “We’re in the business and innovation space.”

We want to thanks our magazine sponsors Virgin Atlantic, Amadeus and Egencia for making this possible.

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Tags: conferences, events, meetings and events, megatrends 2015, travel trends

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