10 Event Trends for 2014

December 10, 2013   |   AUTHOR: Julius Solaris   |   POSTED IN: ideas

Update: 2015 edition is out. Click here to see it.

Every year Event Manager Blog publishes an overview of the most significant trends affecting events. Here is your report for 2014.

10 Event Trends for 2014

It is that time of the year. That time when everyone here at Event Manager Blog concentrates for long hours to deliver the 10 Event Trends presentation.

In 2010, I was amazed by the 30k viewers on Slideshare. In 2011, the 2012 presentation gathered 75,000 views but I was quite shocked by last year’s performance, 128,000 views. 10 Event Trends for 2013 became the most viewed piece of content about event planning on Slideshare.

It is gonna be even tougher this year to beat that. But I am sure I can count on you.

Let me thank George and his team over at Eventsforce for supporting 10 Event Trends for 2014. It is impossible to release such piece of content without partners that believe in it. You guys rock.

I cannot thank enough Carmen for making sure the presentation is liked by thousands and Fabio Cannillo, the web designer everybody wants to steal from us, for confirming why Italian design is popular around the world.

A big introduction is that this year you can vote your favourite trend by tweeting it from the presentation. Check slide 33 for instructions. Results will be announced later in 2014 and we’ll discover who won the preference of #eventprofs.

Here it is, if you want to know more about it, read the write up below.

Can’t see the slides? Click here.

A Note on Methodology

Last year I made a promise to release only advice based on data or some form of evidence. With the Event App Bible and the Good Event Registration Guide, I believe I kept my promise.

This year we stepped up the numbers game for 10 Event Trends. If in fact there is one thing I hate about most trend presentations is that they are usually the fruit of the writer’s lucubration on the industry. In some worse scenario they are just an adaptation of wider technology trends that have nothing to do with our industry.

As you may know, a few months ago I started a Pinterest board which now counts more than 900 startups in the event industry. On the back of the board, we keep a database classifying all the event startups in the board.

By keeping record of all startups (and inviting them to register with us), we’ve been able to identify emerging trends in technology and social media for the event industry.

As soon as we noticed a technology being picked up by several providers, that signalled a new trend was emerging. In some cases this was an existing technology with one or two players that all of a sudden gets traction in the tech environment.

We believe that innovation is startup driven and by analysing emerging trends this way, we are able to give you a snapshot of what the next 12 months will look like. If you look back at previous presentations you will always find trends for the year, not for the decade.

You may also find that some of these services are offered by other providers as part of much wider service offerings. The aim of this presentation is to give space to young startups who are trying to make an impact and to provide validation to their thinking. I am sure those running such companies will agree that giving space to young innovation is beneficial to the whole industry.

We believe the trends for this year are strong and will get market validation. Let’s check back in December 2014 if that will have been the case.

Event Trends for 2014 Explained

10. Faster Check-in

The Vitruvian Attendee likes to get into events fast.

Any piece of technology that speeds up on site registration will be hot in 2014. As attendees are starting to make the show floor busy again after a few years of global economic crisis, event professionals need to use all tech available to speed up the check-in process.

The listed services offer a tablet based tool to check-in guests at events. This is not a particularly new technology but it is gaining speed and capturing the attention of investors.

9. Seat Them Socially

While the concept of seating guests based on their social connection is not anything new, 2014 will be the year where more event professionals will use such services for their event.

Leaving seating to chance is so 1999. There is a new breed of apps that make seating a social experience. Thanks to the wonders of social graph we can now seat next to our friends and colleagues.

This also means seating serendipity based on our networking requirements.

As airlines and ticket resellers are adopting social seat selection, event professionals and startups are quickly adapting. Awkward seating moments will be a thing of the past.

8. Live Slidesharing

This trend refers to sharing the slides on attendees smartphone or tablet live. Once again this is not a particularly new technology and ARS has been around forever, but 2014 will be the year of your mobile as a second screen for slides.

This particular technology has seen a surge in offer with dozens of startups offering live slidesharing solutions.

While at conferences, attendees look at their tablets or smartphones. Pushing slides to their device helps to keep the focus on content and enhance the education experience. Quite impressive.

7. Collaborative Event Planning

There is a thought, specially in the Meetings industry, that events are just conferences and trade shows. I believe that one of the strongest drivers of this industry is the long tail of passionate amateur planners who run their own weddings, concerts or parties.

This passion fuels local economies of suppliers and venues. That is why any technology that shares event planning among a group of people will be a hit on 2014.

Tools that help a group of friends to plan an event will be pushed by the backing of social networks adoption. Users in fact will want more structured solutions to plan events than the current basic offering.

6. Plan by App

Event management dashboards used to be very complex spreadsheets that cost incredible amounts. Last year we highlighted how the technology was becoming more accessible.

As we move into a more mobile environment, startups are recognising the opportunity to offer complete event management tools that can be operated via apps.

The convenience of having your event vitals with you at all times in one platform is immense.

5. Collective Media

Hiring a photographer may still be the case for most events but leveraging the media created by your attendees is another story.

Last year we stressed the importance of curating content, but as we move toward a more visual internet, the importance of collecting pictures and videos created by attendees becomes paramount.

Making good use of visuals will define next year.

4. Do Something Good

I believe we all agree that sometimes technology can be stupid. Utterly useless. Or some other times it just does not solve anyone’s problem.

There is a new breed of services that is providing event professionals with a solution to their challenges while stimulating adoption via means of charity.

This trend is particularly relevant for all those working with no profits, where doing something good is inherent to the event concept.

3. One Page Websites

We recently published an infographic about effective event websites.

One page websites are not just a trend, they are thought to convey a better storytelling and to decrease bounce rates while impacting on conversions.

If you combine all of that with a cheaper alternative to costly custom developed solutions, you got yourself a successful trend for 2014.

2. Solve The Hotel Nightmare

One of the outcomes of the research we made for the Good Event Registration Guide is that only 27% of registration providers offered live accommodation options upon ticket purchase.

However, we also discovered that hotel options are amongst the top 10 most requested features by event planners. Hence why those startups who offer such service will be extremely popular in 2014.

Once again some of these guys have been around since 2008, but we are now getting to a DIY, global market offering that will surely encounter the attention of several event professionals.

1. Incredibly Real Time Analytics

Events happen quickly and pressure is usually incredible. Safety, happiness, business success are pressing thoughts that every smart professional has.

Those startups that offer live analytics such as heat maps, preferences and check-in based analytics will make an impact in 2014.

Live data will dictate the ‘what happens next’ rather than pre-agreed concepts.

In Conclusion

I hope 10 Event Trends for 2014 will inspire you to innovate next year and to bring freshness to your attendees.

There is no riskier strategy than to stick to what we always do.

In the meanwhile, if you feel this write up and presentation delivered value to your event or business, please share this post or the Slideshare deck. That usually motivates the team here to deliver more great content.

  • williamevents

    Julius, this is absolutely fantastic. Right on the cutting edge as always. If #eventprofs do adopt some of these trends next year they really will be running innovative events. I will certainly follow up with some of the links especially the seating socially (which I love) and the real time analytics which sits really well with my top trend of ensuring that we use the data we collect at our events. Smashing read. Very well done.

  • http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/ Julius Solaris

    Thanks William for your continuous support through the year and for being a great voice in the event tech

  • http://www.MonasEventDosAndDonts.com/blog MonaPoet

    Great collection, Julius.

    I am a big fan of integrating attendees’ perspectives in form of photos into event programs. Encouraging attendees to share their point of view through visuals in real time is definitely a welcome change to twitter walls in my book. A must-try for social events, but also for corporate functions.

    An added benefit for the planner: The final collection of pix may help indicate which parts of the event program were best received … think trade shows ;-)

    Cheers,

    Mona

  • http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/ Julius Solaris

    Thanks Mona – make sure to cast your vote via Twitter

  • LastRoom

    Hi @Julius Solaris, Thanks a lot for mentioning http://www.hotelwalla.com in your slides… is fantastic your slides… :)

  • Evolero

    Collective Media – make sure that everyone is using the event hashtag and magic will take place on your Evolero Event Website! Images, tweets, posts etc!

  • http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/ Julius Solaris

    Thanks – make sure to cast your vote via Twitter!

  • http://www.eventchecklist.net/ Arwin Adriano

    This looks very exciting and I really can’t wait to see the results although I am quite confuse what to vote for since I find them all very interesting. I guess I’ll take a closer look at all of those again.

  • Cece Salomon-Lee

    HI Julius, It’s been a long time since I’ve commented – can’t imagine how much has changed over the years!
    I think one thing that will be a trend is the increasing importance of content marketing. Yes, events have a lot of content, but I think there are opportunities to better leverage, plan and publicize content around an event, from images, social media, presentations, etc.

  • John Nawn

    wondering aloud what a non-tech version of this might look like?

    on another note, while the world (and our industry) is full of ‘cool tools’, in the words of mr. spellos, i find the level of sophistication in using those tools extremely disappointing. most seem to still be in the ‘learning to crawl’ stage. and don’t get me started on strategy. that’s a word that’s hardly mentioned in the same sentence as tools or technology.

    as a famous designer once said, “technology over technique produces emotionless design.” that’s what we seem to have; lots of technology that has little, if any, impact on us emotionally.

    it’s technology for technology’s sake. haven’t we been warned enough about this?

  • http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/ Julius Solaris

    Thanks for checking back Cece and for sharing your expert view!

    Definitely agreed

  • http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/ Julius Solaris

    Hi John

    in every post of this blog and from day one we’ve stressed how technology without a strong concept is useless.

  • John Nawn

    wonderlng aloud then, why so few seems to be listening? what’s it going to take for substance to overtake style when it comes to tech implementation. i’ve seen this repeated in other industries. seems like a general lack of accountability and lack of understanding about what’s at stake.

  • http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/ Julius Solaris

    Well this blog is about event tech trends mostly, I believe we should talk about the things we know or research and this is what I know and have researched :-)

  • John Nawn

    …and as someone who clearly knows the tech well, care to wager even a guess? we can talk about tech all day but if we fail to address the underlying issues regarding how well tech is (or isn’t in most cases) used – the real business value of tech and only metric that really matters – what’s the point?

  • http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/ Julius Solaris

    I agree John – but it is not for me to say what will define events for 2014 concept-wise. There are much better voices to listen to in that respect.
    Let’s not have a negative approach toward tech though as tech is not evil, it can make events more engaging and effective if part of a valuable concept

  • John Nawn

    don’t get me wrong, tech certainly can provide value. ‘can’ being the operative word here. in most cases it doesn’t because, imho, most lack the ability to leverage and operationalize it effectively. of course, i’m always willing to be proven wrong. any takers? julius? or are we just ignoring that elephant in the corner?

  • http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/ Julius Solaris

    I don’t agree with that John

    Generalizing is not a good strategy. There are great events doing great things with tech, there are bad events doing bad things with tech. Saying ‘in most cases’ does not render justice to a huge part of the industry doing amazing things

  • John Nawn

    you’re right, it’s not fair to generalize.

    what i can attest to is that most industry events i attend in the u.s. are not good examples of best practices in terms of technology adoption and deployment. in my 15 years in the industry, the number of meetings i have seen do it better i can count on both hands, and maybe my toes if i’m feeling generous.

    with over 1.8 million meetings held in the u.s. each year, i’d argue that the huge part of these meetings are not doing amazing things. they lack the imagination, expertise, budget, etc.

    those that are, are more likely the exception.

    but i agree to disagree, julius. big fan of your work.

  • http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/ Julius Solaris

    John – what about a guest post? You can give us another view there, actually looking forward to that!

  • Jef Depret

    Hi Julius

    I found this a great list with upcoming trends for 2014. As an event manager it’s obligated to keep up with the latest trends of course and this list will really help me next year. A lot of these trends actually seem really interesting and well-thought-off. The social seating trend is one of my favourites, in times where a lot of the visitors hide behind their smartphone when they know nobody it’s better to put people who think alike together at a table.
    Also, the real time analytics will be very helpful when optimizing your event on the day itself.

    Cheers

    Jef

  • http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/ Julius Solaris

    Thanks for the feedback Jef!

  • Inti Baguet

    I’ve read your blog and I’ve seen your slideshare presentation, and I’ve to admit that I’m impressed.

    I’m impressed by two things.

    First of all, I can’t leave this blog without saying how amazing your slideshare is. It’s visually attractive and you’ve used wonderful images. The usage of your images is very original!

    The second thing I wanted to say is something about the content of your blog, because that’s actually the most important. Especially your fifth trend inspires me. It is such a good idea to use pictures and videos created by attendees. In that way you encourage attendees to share their point of view and your event gets also the attention it deserves.

    Also what you’ve said in your conclusion (‘There is no riskier strategy that to stick to what we always do’) is very well thought-out and true.

  • http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/ Julius Solaris

    Thanks Inti

  • Kimberly Pets

    Hey!

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog!
    I was really curious about the new trends for 2014. Nowadays it seems so difficult to come up with good ideas to entertain people.

    Like you’ve mentioned, people are often distracted because they are too busy with their smartphones.
    I must admit I’m one of those people!

    But using these trends will certainly attract the attention! I really liked the idea of seat them socially, live slidesharing and do something good.

    I hope that I’ll have the opportunity to use one of your ideas, they are very inspiring!

  • Kimberly Versmesse

    Knowing the
    new trends for the next year is always interesting, so I was curious about your
    blog. So I really enjoyed reading it. As you mentioned it yourself some of them
    aren’t entirely new nevertheless I was still surprised about the top 10. I think
    your top 10 is very accurate and we will the trends next year. I’m already
    curious to see them worked out.

  • Frederik Rasschaert

    “There is no riskier strategy that to stick to what we always do.” Very well said in my opinion and a nice intention to start a new year.

    While working on existing concepts and trying to innovate and add some new features, I will certainly keep several of these trends in mind and the slideshare will be turned on once in a while in 2014.

    PS: The slideshare is a real winner. Nice graphics!

  • Klaas Windels

    Hi Jules,

    First I’d like to say that I’m really glad that you explained where all your info came from and that you have a good back-up for giving these 10 trends. Like some other people here I’m very happy to know what is going to be trendy in 2014.

    Like Jef, I’m positive about the idea of putting people together that are on the same level. It’s nice to talk to somebody who is there for the same reason or who is in the same sector.

    Technology can lift your event and can get a lot of attention of the attendees what is for most events the purpose.

    Another trend that I thought about was using technology to give your audience a better experience where they actually can do, think or say something. For example by creating an app where people can do a live voting with their phones while attending a presentation.

    In general, some really nice new trends here!

    Thanks for putting this on the web.

    Greetings Klaas

  • http://www.jacklynflowerspresents.com/ Jacklyn Flowers

    As always. I look forward every year to reading about the event trends. Thanks Julius Solaris for keeping us in the know.

  • http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/ Julius Solaris

    Pleasure