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10 Event Trends for 2014

By Julius Solaris

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

Update: Get the latest, up-to-date trends report here.

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.

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 a 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 slide sharing 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, especially 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.

about the author

Julius Solaris
Julius Solaris is the editor of EventManagerBlog.com, he is an international speaker, author and consultant.
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