Eventprofs Share: 3 Overarching Trends in Venues

Venues have long set the tone for the event and while that’s still the case, these industry professionals believe we’re in for a lot more excitement in 2017. Here’s what they see for the year ahead.

The Eventprofs Share series of articles captures the trends affecting the event industry as reported in our 10 Event Trends for 2017. Over 1,000 event profs were surveyed and they shared their predictions for the upcoming year on important topics like meeting design, social media marketing, and event venues.

This is a time full of changes with new technology, social platforms and features, and event capabilities. It’s also a time of sharing where social media, websites, and blogs link professionals from around the world, ensuring that trends and best practices spread with great alacrity. Here’s what your fellow event professionals see changing for venues in the upcoming year. Based on these predictions, it’s sure to be an exciting one!  

Eventprofs Share: 3 Overarching Trends in Venues

Event Technology at Venues

It’s impossible to talk about a venue and needs in a venue without addressing technology. Do you remember when we had to pay to make a long distance phone call? Some times of the day it cost more than others. Then cell phones came out and vendors changed their plans to give us a certain number of long-distance minutes free for each month (but only to certain countries). Now most carriers give free long distance calls globally, anywhere, anytime.

Will WiFi at venues follow suit? Many event professionals want to understand why they’re still being charged for WiFi. Whether it’s wishful thinking or an eye on technology history, many event planners saw charging for WiFi ending in the near future. This is no longer going to be a way for venues to make a side profit.

Many event professionals echoed the sentiment of free WiFi and better, more attractive technology packages with more digital screens and more impressive AV included. Kelly Kocher, VP Event Sales and Operations for Penton Technology would like to see more progressive options like digital whiteboards for classrooms.

But those weren’t the only improvements to venue technology that eventprofs predict. One event planner suggested venues would provide or allow for “extensive virtual tours where the prospective client doesn’t have any doubt” about the venue. This could help event professionals cut down on the back and forth with clients, eliminate the indecision and unnecessary walk-through with the client and countless others. Pieces of the virtual tour could also be used to get attendees excited about the location.

At least one event professional is hoping to see easy booking of venues online. This would mean “less to and fro, fewer emails/calls over the finer detail prep and organisation.” It’s an ideal arrangement for event planners who are already familiar with the venue, they just need to check availability and book it. This would also allow them to conduct business on their time and not have to wait for someone to be in the office.

Suzanne N. Drake, Principal of Drake Promotions, LLC., envisions interactive info kiosks that make information easily accessible to everyone. It will also cut down on the demands on staff for those easy, but tiresome, questions like when is lunch and where’s the nearest restroom.

Event professionals are also exploring cashless payment solutions like smart wristbands and other wearables. One planner sees better-developed beacon usage including venues with their own beacon spots.

Finally, can’t find a venue that meets all of your needs? No worries. Aleksey Khristich, Client Service Director from All Motion Group thinks virtual venues will become the new big thing. With virtual reality becoming more popular in attendees’ personal lives we can assume that we’ll eventually see it in mainstream events as well.


Going Green

The green trend reflects a lot of what attendees are clamoring for. As things become more important in attendees’ lives, they’ll become less of a trend and more of a need. Emanuele Caprarelli, meeting & event planner with Cromsource S.R.L., sees venues that are green and focused on sustainability as becoming more in demand. This could include more recycling, less paper, less plastic.

Not only will we expect them to use green practices but also look green. One event professional said there’s a trend towards using venues that are open and spacious and resemble nature, inviting it in. With this idea, you have the beauty and soothing ambiance of a natural surrounding without worrying about the weather report.

The Venue Is the Event

There were many event profs who suggested how the venue would play a larger role in setting the tone of the event and the attendee experience. This might include smaller boutique properties that allow small-medium groups to take up the entire property or fun, trendy ideas like bringing in food trucks.

Several event planners saw the use of non-traditional mediums as décor. These could include cozy meeting rooms in unexpected locations, combined coworking spaces, and alternative seating layouts. James Purnell, Founder of Mudita People in Melbourne, Australia sees AirBnB used more often for micro meetings.

Another planner suggested that just as the trend in personalization has become prominent in marketing, it will also become big in venues in ways such as better thought out, well-planned space or modular areas to provide more flexibility with less wasted space. This way an event planner could design exactly what would work best for his/her event and a small group breakout could then be flipped to create space for the larger group.

In Conclusion

As events become more experiential, we can only assume the importance of the “perfect” venue will become more pronounced. This may include amazing technology, addressing meeting attendees and planners’ personalized needs, or employing more unusual, abandoned or underground venues.

This move away from stuffy ballrooms to venues that offer experiences may also cause venue coordinators to step up their meeting design and flow to accommodate more creative needs. Deborah Ward-Johnstone, European Event Director of Revolution Events Ltd., believes “Thinking outside the box idea sharing (will grow in popularity). I have found that more and more venues are trying to offer the vision as opposed to just the schematics…“

One event professional noticed “venues are really stepping up to help with the meeting design and meeting flow.” Another built on that sentiment suggesting, “Now, attendees see the entire city as a venue, not just the convention center. The cities have to be interactive and exciting to actually go to them.”

What do you think? Where are venues headed?

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Julius Solaris
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